End the war be­tween two and four wheels: Hoy

Western Daily Press - - News - ROD MINCHIN news@west­erndai­ly­press.co.uk

OLYMPIC cham­pion Sir Chris Hoy has called for an end to the cy­clist ver­sus mo­torist bat­tle in towns and cities af­ter warn­ing that lives are at risk.

Sir Chris told the Chel­tenham Lit­er­a­ture Fes­ti­val that both sides need to have a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of each other and be more con­sid­er­ate.

The re­cent in­crease in the pop­u­lar­ity of cy­cling – par­tic­u­larly in ur­ban ar­eas – has changed the dy­namic of driv­ing.

In heavy traf­fic cy­clists are of­ten the fastest peo­ple on the roads, more ag­ile at get­ting through gaps than mo­tor­bikes, and they are not al­ways seen by driv­ers.

Cy­clists com­plain of driv­ers wind­ing down their win­dows to hurl abuse, while mo­torists make sim­i­lar com­plaints.

Sir Chris, who is Bri­tain’s most suc­cess­ful Olympic ath­lete with six gold medals, called for a change in be­hav­iour by both.

“At the risk of get­ting too po­lit­i­cal about it all, in my opin­ion, when it comes to ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments, or in­deed any­where rid­ing a bike, it shouldn’t be a cy­clist hit by a mo­torist or a con­fronta­tion be­tween a taxi driver and a cy­clist,” he said.

“We are peo­ple try­ing to get around and, whether you choose to go on foot, on a bike, a taxi, a bus, we are peo­ple try­ing to get from A to B, and you should re­mem­ber that we are all some­one’s son, daugh­ter, mother, fa­ther, brother or sis­ter.

“Peo­ple’s lives are at risk and it’s time to stop hav­ing a them-ver­sus-us. In re­al­ity most cy­clists drive and vice versa. We have to try and put our­selves in the shoes of an­other per­son.

“If you are cy­cling and think­ing ’Well, they can sit be­hind me for half a mile on this sin­gle lane road’ ... it’s not about say­ing you should get out of the way and let them through, it’s about, when they do come past, just give them the thumbs-up and you can see the road’s clear, give them a wave through, say thanks and that lit­tle bit of com­mu­ni­ca­tion helps.

“Equally, when you are a mo­torist, to un­der­stand what it feels like to have a wing mir­ror buzz past your ear is ut­terly ter­ri­fy­ing.

“I saw on so­cial me­dia the other day a video of an HGV com­pany or a bus com­pany who got all their driv­ers to sit on sta­tion­ary bikes in a line and got a bus to drive past them at 50mph a foot away from them to get them to ex­pe­ri­ence what that feels like.

“You saw the ter­ror in their faces and it’s a bril­liant idea be­cause only when you have ex­pe­ri­enced the other per­son will you think ‘Next time I will change my be­hav­iour’.”

Sir Chris was speak­ing at The Inkpot on Wed­nes­day night to pro­mote his new book, How To Ride A Bike.

He told the au­di­ence that the Hol­ly­wood film ET in­spired him to ride a bike for the first time.

“I had never seen a BMX bike be­fore,” he said. “I was six years of age, saw this film and it was the way they used the bikes with jumps and go­ing around cor­ners, and I had never seen a bike rid­den in that man­ner.

“I thought this was a bit ex­cit­ing and that got me hooked.”

To un­der­stand what it feels like to have a wing mir­ror buzz past your ear is ut­terly ter­ri­fy­ing

SIR CHRIS HOY

Sir Chris Hoy told an au­di­ence in Chel­tenham that there should be an end in the bat­tle be­tweency­clists and driv­ers

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