Let’s Play Nicely
Hands up, how many of us Petrolheads are also cyclists?
Hands up, how many of you cyclists are also car drivers?
Final question, how many of us have been amused by the recent social media image of a huge tractor on a narrow country lane being held up by a cyclist struggling up that same narrow piece of tarmac?
The post in question was asking cyclists to get out of the way. Inevitably, it generated emotive responses from every perspective: “my freedom to use the road”, “we’re all tax payers”, “vulnerability of cyclists”, etc., etc.
However, it occurred to me that many of the people arguing their points of view, probably have much in common with the target of their angst, hence my first two questions above.
I’m now going to declare my position…
- I’m an occasional cyclist
- I cycle for a bit of lung and leg exercise
- My typical (every) ride is less than 10 miles
- I don’t (knowingly) wear any lycra
- My shoes don’t click into my pedals
- I tuck my trousers into my socks (when it’s too cold to wear – ordinary – shorts)
- I wear bright upper clothing (as I do on my motorcycle)
- I have lights on at both ends (despite never cycling at night)
- I have and use my bell (e.g. when approaching blind bends or groups of pedestrians from behind)
As you can see, my ‘style’ confirms my first bullet. ‘Occasional’ is the operative word. I don’t have a ‘PB’ to beat!
To some readers, my credentials for writing this blog are non-existent. So be it.
However, as social media confirms every second of every day, we all have the right to an opinion, so here’s mine on the subject of ‘let’s play nicely’… most of which I have learned from my mistakes as a cyclist and/or motorist.
If you’re a cyclist:
- Remember 1) that you’re also a car driver and 2) what annoys/delights you about seeing cyclists on the road.
- Use your bell when approaching other vulnerable road users. Follow it up with a cheery wave or verbal greeting. It’s amazing how often pedestrians thank me for doing so.
- Use that same bell when you’re overtaking another slower cyclist. They probably have no idea you’re coming up fast behind them and may move out to avoid a grid or some such.
- If you haven’t got a bell, why not? Get one!
- If there’s a cycle lane, use it (there may be a ‘compulsory route for cyclists’ road sign).
- If you’re holding someone up, pull over and let them pass (especially tractors and towing vehicles).
- If a car is awaiting oncoming traffic before overtaking you, give them a little thumbs up when you can see it’s clear for them to go. It’s very heart-warming to get a thank you in return from their hazard warning lights.
- Don’t rely on the Highway Code telling everyone else how vulnerable you are, to protect you.
- Most important of all… wave enthusiastically when you see a classic car!
If you’re a car driver:
- Remember 1) that you’re also a cyclist and 2) what annoys/delights you about car drivers when you’re cycling.
- Give cyclist plenty of space when passing by.
- Wait for a safe opportunity to pass cyclists. Don’t blindly follow the driver in front.
- Give a cheery wave, hoot or hazzard flash if a cyclist does anything to aid your use of the road around them.
I’m not so naive as to think this little blog will make a scrap of difference. However, it’s an opportunity to upload an opinion without the limitations of space, etc. on social media.
Feel free to comment.