Safe cycling

PUBLISHED: 12:01 26 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

SIR, — I was interested to read Mr R. Hogg s contribution to the debate about cycling (Herts Advertiser, June 26). He starts by apparently backing the rigid law-enforcers, but then puts a big part of the other side of the argument rather more convincingly

SIR, - I was interested to read Mr R. Hogg's contribution to the debate about cycling (Herts Advertiser, June 26). He starts by apparently backing the rigid law-enforcers, but then puts a big part of the other side of the argument rather more convincingly.

Mr Hogg suggests that all cycling on paths is dangerous and illegal. The cyclist - including children, preferably supervised - who uses pavements with due care is no more dangerous than mobility scooters used correctly, but obviously either is dangerous when the person involved is careless and does not give absolute priority to walkers and their pets etc.

It is also the case that we now have a number of shared cycle-cum-footpaths so it is not always illegal either. Some of these do not have a dividing line and even where there is one, it is often not observed - by walkers as much as by cyclists. I always try to observe the line where it exists but sometimes have to change sides to avoid careless people.

While we are on this one, how many of the law enforcers never cross a junction on the "red man" when there is no traffic in sight and you know there is a two-minute wait for the lights to change for you?

Mr Hogg quotes the statistics for accidents showing that cyclists on pavements are much less likely than motorists to injure a pedestrian. It would be interesting to also know how many accidents are caused to pedestrians walking onto roads without warning because they cannot hear the cyclist coming.

Also relevant would be the number of fatalities from accidents. It strikes me as highly unlikely that cyclists kill anything like the number of people that motorists do, and yet high-profile people are put in the newspapers if they don't follow the Highway Code to the letter, while no effort is made to highlight any of the 90 per cent-plus of drivers who are guilty - mostly on a regular basis - of making the roads a more dangerous place by doing at least some of the following:

n Holding their mobile while driving - I've been told that 50 per cent send texts while driving;

n Not indicating at roundabouts and junctions;

n Not leaving a two-second gap in dry conditions, let alone the safe four-second gap when it's wet;

n Reversing blindly out of parking spaces/drives instead of reversing carefully into them in the first place;

n Drinking before driving - even if it's a heavy session the night before;

n Ignoring speed limits except when there is a camera.

Interesting, too, that nobody argues that drivers should be forbidden from driving across footpaths.

Anyone on two wheels with any sense does not take risks as even if you hit someone else, the rider is also likely to get injured even more severely. But I am aware that there are riders who have neither sense nor consideration and yes, the law should be enforced against them. Cycling on pavements, however, can in some circumstances be safer than cycling on roads. The police appear to be tackling the issue with common sense, although one cannot say the same about other aspects of law enforcement. But I don't agree with those who say that speed cameras are used too much. They may be a means to bring in revenue but they do improve safety too and reduce deaths, however much people claim the issue to be trivial.

S. BEAVER,

London Road, St Albans.

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