Dear Drivers

Dear drivers,

I don’t do any of those things you keep complaining about cyclists doing. I don’t run red lights. I don’t cycle on the pavement. I wear clothes which are bright and/or have reflective patches and I have lights on my bikes. I also do some things you don’t know to tell me about, such as riding a sensible distance out from the kerb- when the traffic lets me- keeping clear of opening car doors and inattentive pedestrians. (I also wear a helmet, but that’s not a safety measure, it’s about damage reduction.)

So, when are you going to keep your side of the bargain? When will you start giving me enough room when you pass me? How long until you stop parking and driving in the cycle lane (or on the pavement, but that’s something for the pedestrians to take up with you)? When will you learn what advanced stop boxes are for and that amber means slow down and stop, not speed up to get through before the lights go red? It’s not much to ask, just that you show a little sense and courtesy when dealing with more vulnerable road users.

I’m sure you’ll all tell me that you’re wonderful, careful drivers. Many of you will be right. And then some of you will tell me all about the terrible things that cyclists do. I won’t refer you back to the first paragraph, you’re just making excuses for not changing your ways.

I’m not defending misbehaving cyclists, but I am getting tired of being told that I’m the problem when I’m not, or that we, as a group, are the most dangerous bunch on the roads. A cyclist would have to be pushing at the very far edges of bad luck or behaviour before they could do as much damage to another human as a driver is capable of just by forgetting to look around properly before opening their car door.

So- for Christmas and beyond- could you please be so kind as to give me my space on the road, look out for me and stop blaming me for problems created by bad road design or the failings of car culture.

Sincerely,

A cyclist.


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