I hate this subject! Really with a passion hate it… But you can’t have missed the “war” that’s being fought between the car driver and the bicycle rider. Of course this is all hype forced down our throats by the media who have taken it upon themselves to publicise ever single negative action that occurs between a driver and a rider. I see it as a very small minority of both sides letting the rest down.
As both a driver and rider I see both sides of the story. Sometimes I am frustrated by cyclists who do not obey the Highway Code while I drive and I am equally frustrated by drivers who disregard my personal safety while riding my bike. Some might argue that the car poses more danger than the bike but last time I was in London and was early for an appointment I sat at the junction outside Baker Street Station, there were a few cyclists who jumped the red light not only putting themselves in danger but the other road users and pedestrians too.
There are two problems here, the first being the attention the media has placed on this subject. I can mention one recently published article in the Metro which is probably the most biased piece I’ve ever read. If it sells papers then I guess it serves its purpose for the publisher but did the author really spend their entire life perfecting the art of writing just to fan the flames of an already hot fire between both sides. Let’s hope that neither side is enthused enough to take action based on this article and no one gets hurt, I’d hate to write something that inspired someone to take a negative action or harm another person.
The second problem is the lack of space on our roads. Cyclists have to commute and they have to train. Some cycling paths have created extra space and will be of benefit to a commuter but under no circumstance is this space safe for anyone who trains for a career, even at an amateur level, as a cyclist. It is too dangerous for other users. In the absence of proper training facilities it will have to be done on the road in a safe manner. All I can hope is that the chosen route is safe, and respects all parties concerned.
But sadly I can’t see the problem ending soon. I don’t see our government spending the money on making the roads user friendly and I don’t see the media calming down on the relentless stories about how cyclists are a burden or how this car cut off this rider. I think we all need to start ignoring the subject and not instantly assuming that a mistake on the part of a driver or a cyclist was an act of aggression, we are all human and we all make mistakes. There will never be a point where no accidents occur on our roads, let’s hope the ones that occur are all minor and that both parties sort it out between them amicably.
As I said I hope it is just a minority of people who make the problem worse but maybe it’s time to stop thinking about who has the most right to use a road and that it is shared equally, we have to get along if the problem doesn’t have an end in sight. We all have a right to use the road and we should all respect each other while on it.