@guardian Politicians are creating the war between cyclists and motorists

I despair of the hypcrisy of our political leaders, over cyclists.
Every so often, some sycophantic MP gets on his hind legs, at PMQ’s, and reads out a prepared question about safe-guarding the lives of cyclists.

The P.M., of the day, responds with clucks of sympathy and a stated determination to try to improve the situation.

So far the consequence of this pantomime has been painting bicycle lanes on the roads; mostly cosmetic in nature. Some are a mere few yards long. Some switch between road and pavement. Some occur over long stretches, then disappear at points where there is a pinch in the road.

In a few cases pedestrian pathways have been widened and given over to cyclists, on the assumption that no-one hikes anymore.

The placement of bicycle sections at traffic lights is annoying, dangerous and in some cases downright ridiculous. I’ve seen cases where on the lights changing, cyclists have needed the whole duration of the green light, to traverse the junction, frustrating motorists, unable to proceed and having to miss a change of lights. Alternatively frustrated motorists, especially professional drivers, risk pushing past the cyclists.

I understand the case for more journey’s being taken by bicycle. The arguments have merit but they seem to be outweighed by the cost of an effective solution.

I look at cyclists and, apart from the older guys, who think they look good in Lurex, most are young men (and some young women), who are fit and quick-witted enough to dodge serious injury.
I have avoided cyclists on the road, so far, always slowing and waiting to give them a wide berth, despite tailgaters wanting me to push past.

I’ve had many near heart attacks, as older cyclists have wobbled out into the road to avoid a road-grid, or pot-hole, oblivious to my situation, which may include, on narrow roads, an oncoming vehicle, which has to swerve into the gutter to avoid me.

I notice cyclists, caught in heavy rain, head down, eyes on just the few feet of road immediately in front of them.

I notice Lurex clad demon racers, who ignore any concern for following traffic in their determination to win an imaginary yellow jersey. A parked car will not delay them, whether legally parked, or parked on an illusory bicycle lane.

I notice fewer cyclists on Winter roads and fully appreciate why.

This sounds simply like a rant against cyclists. It’s not. I’d join them, if I wasn’t old and fat and didn’t consider the dangers, outlined, to be too high a risk.

I blame the politicians, who think it’s sufficient to throw out caveats and dictats, without actually studying the problems and honestly facing up to them.

There needs to be a completely separate network for bicycle users, not a virtual one.
There shouldn’t be any possibility of a lorry sideswiping an adventurous cyclist, or a car rounding a bend to find a cyclist occupying the same piece of road that his vehicle must, by the laws of Physics, occupy in the next few seconds.

In cities, it’s possible to think three-dimensionally, with trains below ground, vehicles and pedestrians at ground level and bicycles on an upper level.

In the Suburbs, canal tow paths, defunct rail cuttingss and dedicated side streets could be drawn together as bicycle highways. Between Cities; new, straight bicycle roads could be imposed using the same compulsory purchasing powers that HS2 is demanding. Thinking on that, why not insist that all new major transport roads, tracks etc. have a co-linear bicycle highway?

Not all has to be built tomorrow but the plans can be drawn up and pieces put in place, as the opportunity arises.
After all, in this region, plans were drawn up for the A5225 in the 1950’s (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200001/cmhansrd/vo010109/halltext/10109h05.htm) and are only now being partially implemented.


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