Just a quick bit of backstory here. This is a short opinion piece I’ve written for the student newspaper of which I am the editor for – the Chester Intelligencer. You can follow the newspaper on Twitter here or check out the website itself here. We’ve put a lot of hard work into the site and so far it’s going well, if you’re interested in anything there, please don’t hesitate on getting in touch! Anyway, on with the article.
I’m a cyclist.
Now this fact may not cause any need for alarm with most of you, but a slim minority of you will be balking at the thought. Or that’s the way it seems. Yesterday, for example, I was cycling down Hoole Way when a driver unceremoniously sped through a red light and almost gave me a knock.
So consider this a public service announcement on behalf of all cyclists. We know we look silly in our fluorescent jackets and questionably tight lycra, but we can assure you it isn’t the latest fashion craze. Although as a current employee of Topman, I’m not so sure those days aren’t that far off.
Regardless, I can assure you that we aren’t trying to make it more difficult for drivers to get to where they need to be. I – as well as many cyclists – have a full driving license. We know it can be frustrating to lower your speed and drive around us, but can we ask for a little decorum here? All we ask is for a little sympathy for the guy surrounded by high speed moving slabs of metal and glass.
The common argument from drivers is that cyclists should be on the pavements, one that I must offer my opinion on. It’s currently illegal to do this in the UK, and would in fact create more problems, as pedestrians would then be a factor in this dispute as well.
It’s coming up to Christmas and as a result, it’s getting darker outside earlier and vision can sometimes be impaired. We’ll promise to wear the aforementioned ridiculous rave party get ups, if you promise to keep an eye out for us.
I must apologise if this article sounds slightly jaded in some respects, but a year ago, I was knocked off my bicycle by a driver who wasn’t paying attention to the road. Fortunately I was alright, but on another day the results could have been much worse. If I could offer one word of advice to motorists it would be this. Be predictable. This can also be applied to cyclists as well. It can be difficult for motorists to predict how cyclists are going to behave which can lead to stressful encounters. By everyone acting in a predictable, logical manner, we should all be safe.
There are very different groups of cyclists, just as there are different groups of motorists, so I understand that cyclists can also be as much a part of the problem as well. Unfortunately the big issue is that roads aren’t designed to accommodate both motorists and cyclists. My hope is that by reading this article, a small seed of consideration will be planted in the heads of many, so that we can all be more careful this holiday season.