Safety from education

Star reporter Dan Hobson tested out the roads on a bicycle after a protest about the saftey of cyclists on the roads in Sheffield. Picture: Andrew Roe
Star reporter Dan Hobson tested out the roads on a bicycle after a protest about the saftey of cyclists on the roads in Sheffield. Picture: Andrew Roe
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Have your say

Your front page article of June 13 raises serious concerns.

I was very dismayed to see someone quoted as saying “Safe cycling isn’t just in cyclists’ interests – it’s in the interests of people who don’t like cyclists, because it keeps them off the road.”

What utter heresy for cycle campaigning! What a defeatist attitude, accepting the supremacy of motoring and that cyclists should keep out of the way!

All cyclists should read the excellent book, Cyclecraft, by John Franklin, and consider Bikeability training.

We also need to remove the outrageous advice in the Highway Code that condones use of the left hand lane at roundabouts by cyclists for all exits.

It beggars belief how people can give this advice and call themselves road safety experts.

I believe passionately that safe (and enjoyable) cycling is achieved by education and training for cyclists (and indeed all road users), not highway engineering.

It is a huge eye-opener how good cycling practice can be so counter-intuitive.

Cycle lanes result in motor traffic passing cyclists closer and faster.

They give a sense of security whereby motorists perceive the lane as defining the space that cyclists need.

People will take more care if they have to use their own judgement.

It is also a serious mistake to think that the edge of the road is the safest place for cycling.

If you are riding at a similar speed to motor traffic, move out.

This makes you much more visible, especially at junctions, and keeps you away from road-edge hazards such as pedestrians, doors opening and vehicles emerging from side roads.

Heading out of town on Clarkehouse Road, past King Edward’s swimming pool, the cycle lane is downright lethal.

Why? Because it’s alongside a parking layby, feeding cyclists right into opening doors (or parked cars moving away without sufficient care).

For experienced cyclists, cycle paths alongside the road are also unhelpful, because they are slow.

You have to cross the side roads and entrances to premises, and give way when the cycle path ends.

They result in cyclists being resented by everyone – resented by motorists if they use the carriageway, and by pedestrians for riding on the “pavement”.

Rowan Watson-Taylor

by email