Some cyclists need to cop on and cycle more carefully on our roads
ON Sunday morning about 10.00 I was driving the car on a dual carriageway, heading for a roundabout over a motorway. There was a group of cyclists ahead of me, probably about 15 to 20. They were cycling across the road and there was no hurry on them to move over to the hard shoulder.
We all stopped at the traffic lights on the roundabout. They were still taking up one full lane of the dual carriageway. I opened the window, and honestly, in a polite tone of voice, suggested to them that it would be a better idea if they moved in a little. I added that I have been cycling for 60 years and that the last thing I am is anti-cyclist.
They were having none of it, as I imagined and they shouted some un-pleasantries back at me. The lights changed to green, I rolled up the window and we all moved off.
Like everything else in life ‘our crowd’ is always vying with ‘ their crowd’. And so it is on the roads. Cyclists are in dispute with cars, drivers of cars, buses and trucks are forever giving out about cyclists and then the pedestrians are up in arms with all the other road users. And in turn all the others are constantly berating pedestrians.
As I have said, I’m cycling for 60 years and have been using the bicycle as a means of commuting to school and work since I was 12. The rule at home was that we could cycle to school when we went to secondary school but because of a bus strike in Dublin the year I was in sixth class in primary school Mum allowed me to cycle to school a little bit early.
I could not imagine a 12-year-old cycling these days in the morning traffic of the busy streets of Dublin or any large conurbation. I’d worry for them.
I’m clearly partisan when it comes to the war of the roads. I’m on the side of the cyclists. I have a bias in favour of bicycle users. But my patience is running thin with the cyclist community and it’s happening at great speed.
What is it about everything we do we seem to have an amazing propensity to screw things up. Cycling can be fantastic and yet right now hordes of cycling clowns, yes clowns, have descended on our roads and are making it all so dangerous.
They come in all shapes and forms. They have swapped their four by fours for two wheelers and then there is the lycra brigade but they are not mutually exclusive groups.
I like to head out for work on my bike, taking my time and using the opportunity to observe what’s happening about me and also to think and yes, dare I say, even mutter a prayer.
These days it’s as if I’m heading out into some frenetic racing track where people are cycling at extraordinary speeds, passing out on the inside, whizzing but so close that the tiniest wobble could mean broken bones. And then that cycling on paths and pedalling the wrong way on oneway streets.
As for stopping at traffic lights, that seems to be a no-no for far too many. Where is An Garda Siochána? And going through red lights is not exclusive to the lycra brigade. It seems ‘ they are all at it’, at least large numbers.
There’s going to be a lot of tears spilt before we cyclists cop on and cycle more carefully.