I am a routine cyclist, driver and pedestrian. As a result, I try to take an unbiased view in the oh-so-common ‘tiff’ that exists between the three groups. However, whichever camp I am in, I always seem to come off on the worse side.
When I cycle, cars and (more recently and prompting this post) vans cut me up and seem to feel general ‘rights of way’ do not cover cyclists. So, if I feel nervy / I’m tired / the weather is awful, I sometimes do the naughty thing and go on the pavement. I deem this a place where pedestrians get right of way though, so I stop for them or cycle round them as appropriate. Yet, fellow cyclists will whizz by with no regard for anyone, whilst silly-old-me is manoeuvring all over the shop and wondering why I didn’t just walk. Lest, walking is not much better since I also fall foul to those whizzing cyclists that vexed me when I was on my bike.
So, then the weekend comes and I can enjoy a few excursions out in the car. I try to take with me a cyclist-conscious mind set. Yet, I then spend 5 mins attempting to over take the world’s slowest and most unpredictable cyclist possible (it seems the art of indicating passed a lot of cyclists by as well as drivers). Or, worse, it’s almost pitch black and I find myself anchoring-up a little too close for comfort to a cyclist with no lights, reflectors, high-vis clothing or helmet on the road. The near-misses I have witnessed or experienced make me shudder.
So, for that reason, I would like to put the existing relationships between Cyclists, Pedestrians and Drivers in to Room 101. I would like to banish all bad blood forever and see a new dawn for relationships between the groups. One where people stop to let pedestrians cross. One where drivers leave plenty of room when over-taking a cyclist. One where cyclists adhere to the rules of the road and earn respect from other road users. You get the idea.
Of course, I don’t see it happening, but everyone can have a dream. Until that time, I shall brave the roads with my lights and cycling proficiency taught indicating. Although, perhaps I will buy some reflective arm bands. I also cannot promise I won’t exchange some choice words with the occasional van driver such as I did tonight. One step at a time…