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Monday, 4 April 2016

'Why the hatred of cyclists?'

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The following was published in the Shoreham Herald

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the overwhelming majority of motorists who are courteous, kind, and helpful to the thousands of cyclists on our roads in West Sussex.

There is however, a worrying minority of drivers who seem to have an illogical and pathological hatred of cyclists. Almost every time I ride my bike, I am shouted at, sworn at, gesticulated at, passed too close, and hooted at, for no other reason than that I dare to cycle on what I suspect they believe to be their road.

They seem to have a notion that because they occasionally have to wait a few seconds to pass me safely, that it will mean that they will arrive later at their destination.
This is of course untrue, as they are inevitably held up by the traffic (other motorists ironically) further down the road.
I am aware that some cyclists misbehave – crossing red traffic lights, going the wrong way on one-way roads, and so on. This too, is unacceptable.

By cycling, we are making ourselves healthier, and reducing the chances of needing to use precious NHS resources. We are reducing our carbon footprint. Cycling is good for everyone.

The roads are not in good condition, and potholes often cause us to have to risk sudden changes of direction (or a broken bike or body!). Our county council have done nothing like the amount of work to help cyclists as their counterparts in Brighton. Safe driving helps us cyclists enormously.

Motorists and cyclists can share the roads safely with no detriment to each other. It simply requires people to be considerate and to ask themselves if it really matters that they might have to wait a few seconds to pass a cyclist safely.

Here is a format response to these types of moaners that drivers ought to send in whenever they appear.

Dr Tim Kimber's moan about drivers is a classic example of a cyclist with issues. It's about time that UK's 35 million drivers state their case because, as it stands, the minority cycle lobby is far too powerful in proportion to its importance. 

Without drivers -especially private car drivers- and walkers, society and the economy would collapse and most UK people would cease to subsist. That would not happen without cyclists. Like railways, and airport runways, our roads are essential infrastructure so why not 'share' railway lines too? It's long overdue that essential road infrastructure wasn't hampered and disadvantaged with unnecessary human hazards with attitude.   

He's wrong about health. Daily I am publishing several deaths and serious cycling injuries on my Twitter account to disprove that and there are far better and safer ways of getting exercise, than exposing oneself to large fast machines operated by complete strangers of varying ability and mental process. As for carbon footprint, UK's essential 300 billion miles of driving only produce 0.7% of world wide man made CO2, when by far the greatest greenhouse gas is water vapour anyway.

If things are so bad, just don't cycle Tim. It's your choice; nobody needs you doing it but if you must, just get on with it and stop whining.  

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