I have never been a fan of cycling. I tried it once, came home with a sore bottom, and determined never to repeat the experience.
However, I appear to be in a minority, judging from the number of cyclists I overtake with difficulty on a daily basis. Besides the state of the art cycle, it is de rigueur to dress the part. This comprises a helmet, gaily coloured shirt and tight fitting lycra shorts, and as I follow them, my eyes water. I mean, talk about squeaky bums!
There was a recent national campaign to make us motorists more aware of cyclists, and by inference, more considerate. The campaign trotted out some alarming statistics about accident black spots, and the number of cyclists who are killed or seriously injured on our roads. Some metropolitan areas have created cycle lanes, with London in the forefront, and second only to the People’s Republic of China, where only the corrupt can afford cars.
But whilst I like to think that I am aware of cyclists, and considerate towards them, this should be a two way street. More times than I can remember, cyclists seem to think they are a law to themselves. They stick their lycra clad bottoms in the air and expose their thinking parts. Not all have visible lights at night, and a sizeable minority have only a passing acquaintance with the Highway Code. They seem to think the Highway Code only applies to motorists. They weave in and out of traffic with impugnity, and frequently ignore traffic signals.
One such cyclist is reported as having gone through a red light at 26 mph and knocked down and seriously injured a pedestrian. The pedestrian suffered a brain injury, and will never be the same again. The only warning the cyclist gave as he shot through the lights was to shout “Oi, move!”
The cyclist was prosecuted and was fined! Yes, fined! His victim will remain permanently injured.
Back to the motorist. If a motorist had driven through a red light in the same circumstances, he would be facing a term of imprisonment, and rightly so.
Last year a cyclist rode at speed along the pavement, another flagrant breach of the Highway Code, knocked down and killed a pedestrian. At least he went to prison.
So I repeat, awareness and consideration towards other road users should be a two way street. There shouldn’t be one law for cyclists and another for the rest of us. And where a cyclist has been convicted of a criminal offence, his cycle should be confiscated and trashed. It might not stop him cycling, but it might make him think twice before breaking the law again.