I’ve been cycling for 30 years and driving for more than 20 and even passed my advanced driving test ten years ago.
You’d think I’d drive in a considerate manner to cyclists and have empathy for the needs of motorists whilst on my bike.
Yet for years, I think like many, I’ve felt like I had priority when I’m behind the wheel and treated others on two wheels as if they were small cars, as well-protected as drivers.
As I’m getting older and my own boys are starting to venture out on the roads on the bikes (supervised of course), the vulnerability of bikes has really hit home. In many ways cyclists are like small children.
When I see a child on the pavement, I come off the accelerator, cover the brake and am alert to unexpected movement.
Only belatedly have I started treating cyclists with the same care.
BikeBiz.com’s Carlton Reid gives a useful insight into the cyclist’s mindset on Motoring.co.uk in his article “Cyclists! Why do they ride in the middle of the road?”. Read it at www.motoring.co.uk/car-news/cyclists-why-do-they-ride-in-the-middle-of-the-road-_62617.
The reality is that cycling is exploding in popularity. Forum rants about road tax and cyclists (wrongly) jumping traffic lights don’t help anyone.
A law passed last year in Queensland, Australia, states motorists passing cyclists need to leave one metre of space.
But legal changes are time-consuming and controversial.
The horrific injuries suffered by Hayfield cyclist Gustave French, left in a three-week coma after being hit by a lorry driver, is a stark reminder that what’s needed from both cyclists and motorists is a little less road rage and a lot more mutual respect.
That 65,000 people have already shared Carlton’s article on Facebook gives me hope that there’s an appetite for a common sense debate that would go a long way to restoring harmony and saving lives.
* Matt Heason lives in Grindleford and is Director of the Buxton Adventure Festival and Cycle To The Cinema. For further information, visit