There is a great deal of antagonism between drivers and cyclists these days. A cycling campaigner recently demanded that all lorries should be fitted with proximity sensors, alarms and extra mirrors so that if the vehicle was turning left at a junction the driver would be alerted to any cyclists between him and the pavement.
Let me say here and now – I am a cyclist. Well, I have a bike. That said, I did cycle from London to Paris, and spent weeks in training on the byways and busy town roads. And, yes, I was once sent flying from my bike by a car. My fault.
If I approach a line of vehicles at traffic lights and intend to go straight on – given that much of the traffic in the lane will be turning left – there is nothing on God’s Earth that will make me overtake on the inside! Why should I demand that these vehicles have sensors, alarms and mirrors, when overtaking on the left is both stupid and illegal?
Let’s get this straight. If you are on the road then you have to abide by the rules of the road. Yes? Well, the rules of the road allow for overtaking on the left at junctions ONLY “…when the driver in front of you has moved out and signalled that they intend to turn right.” There is no provision in the Highway Code allowing you to overtake on the left simply because there is a wee space you can squeeze through. I’ve checked.
Many lorries now display a Danger Zone plate on the rear of their vehicles with a picture of a wee man on a bike and the words “Beware when vehicle is turning left. Do not pass on this side.” What? We actually have to TELL them that?
Common sense tells me that zooming through the red light at a junction is stupid and dangerous – I don’t expect every other vehicle on the road to fit some kind of sensor to warn them that I’m a reckless idiot. I don’t expect trains to have radar fitted because I think it’s okay to zip over a level crossing even though the barrier is down.
Protect the person breaking the rules? Should all drivers have big fluffy cushions fitted to their cars so that we don’t hurt the cyclists who insist on jumping red lights? And should pedestrians be swathed in bubblewrap so we don’t harm the cyclists who insist on riding on the pavements at the speed of sound? How about powerful Halogen spot lamps on the roofs of our cars so we can see the cyclists clad in black with no lights on their bikes?
Hey, I have an idea! Maybe we could all stick to the rules of the road. That might just work!