Give cyclists room and rights

It's an argument that will never be resolved, unless you're German, of course: cyclists on the road.

Everyone keeps telling us to exercise more. Everyone is telling us to stop using our cars. Everyone is telling us that cycling is a great low-impact form of exercise.

However, try and commute on your bike, and the roads are covered in glass, motorists hurl abuse, cycle lanes go in random routes and are often full of holes and covered in pedestrians. Not only that, but bikes are banned on many rush hour trains. Ever get the feeling that people aren't taking a unified approach to the problem?

Cyclists, of course, unite in face of adversity to tackle the problem head-on; well, not too head-on because in a fight between a car and a cyclist, you know what happens. The protection, besides your bike helmet, is The Highway Code.

Many regular cyclists take a “pick and mix” approach to The Highway Code - for example, asserting their right to ride two-abreast, but choosing to ignore the Stop signal. You can't have your cake and eat it, even when you do burn off all those excess calories! Police have backed this up with on the spot fines, and rightly so.

The Highway Code is currently in a consultation period, details of which can be found at www.dsa.gov.uk. The specific parts relating to cycling can be seen (mostly on page 17), but the suggested amendments recommend that you use cycle routes where provided - regardless of their condition or the stupidity of their route.

The CTC (www.ctc.org.uk) highlight this as a minefield legally, for example, if you are hit by a motorist and you are not on the marked cycle track, The Highway Code might have distanced itself from you a little more. Of course, this is not a change in law, but a recommendation - which eager insurers will see as a chance to question liability for the accident.

For a worthwhile cause, have a look at www.givecyclistsroom.co.uk who aim to raise awareness of cyclists. Most of us own cars, so get your sticker and help the cause.


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