Dear Editor, I was surprised that the article about my little road safety campaign, “Don’t drive so close to me!” (WLD, Dec 29) provoked so many reactions – 1,325 comments on the Facebook page alone.
Clearly some people don’t quite get that if there isn’t room, you just shouldn’t overtake: “you should wait behind the motorcyclist, cyclist, horse rider, horse drawn vehicle or pedestrian and not overtake if it is unsafe or not possible to meet these clearances.”(Highway Code Rule 163).
Others don’t seem to appreciate idea of a hierarchy of road users, with those most at risk in the event of a collision at the top of the hierarchy – pedestrians, then horse riders and cyclists.
Drivers may not like it, but the Highway Code says nothing about the distance cyclists should give cars when they over or undertake. And, by the way, undertaking by bike is fine – “Cyclists may pass slower moving or stationary traffic on their right or left”(Highway Code Rule 163).
Some felt that because some cyclists jump red lights, then it is ok for drivers to ignore the law too. I don’t think that would go down well in court though, and personally, I enjoy the little rest afforded by waiting at traffic lights.
Many others were incensed that apparently bike riders use the roads for free. This is absolutely untrue! Vehicle tax (“Road tax”) that most motorists pay just goes into government expenditure. Our roads are paid for by general taxation – income tax, VAT etc – so everyone pays for the roads!
I’ll ignore the people who thought cyclists should be banned from the road and just use pavements! But a number of people were concerned that cyclists ride on pavement and endanger pedestrians. They should stop worrying about bikes, and but look out for cars – “motor vehicles are involved in about 99% of fatal collisions with pedestrians on pavements or verges – 305 between 2012 and 2020 … Over this entire period, cycles were involved in two pedestrian deaths on the pavement/verge … Motor vehicles are involved in about 94% of serious pedestrian casualties on the pavement/verge too.”
I wonder whether many motorists realise that if they come across me on my bike, they’ll get by me a lot easier than if I was driving a car – and I won’t be using scarce parking space either!
I think the key thing on the road is to see other road users as human beings – mothers, fathers, daughters, sons – not as obstacles in our path.
The “More than a cyclist” campaign aims to do this.
I will write again to say how my month of riding with the anti-close pass poster goes. Happy New Year – to all road users!
- Tim Devereux, Pudsey