Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wheels go on the road

I'd recently written about a pet peeve being cyclists on footpaths. They are an accident waiting to happen and L had a near miss yesterday. Someone cycled down the footpath behind him and he didn't even know she was bearing down on him till the mud-guard of her front wheel came into contact with the back of his leg.

He spun round, letting fly a torrent of blue words. The elderly cyclist responded just as vociferously as she pedalled off. She spoke in Chinese dialect, which L doesn't understand very well but enough to distinguish that far from apologising for hitting him, she was giving him what-for for giving her what-for. She's jolly lucky he didn't fall over or was hurt any more badly than a bruise on his calf. Or there'd be hell to pay. And that's just from him.

I think some cyclists don't want to go on the roads because they feel that they'll be at the mercy of *real* traffic. The result is that they ride on the footpaths and then pedestrians will be at their mercy. I'm sure we can compromise somehow. Don't ride up behind people who don't have eyes at the back of their heads. Or build more cycle paths. They're not unknown. We have them in parks. But the point is that a lot of people don't just cycle in parks for fun. In housing estates like ours, they cycle to the shops too. And more and more people I know are cycling to work. Our ministers who tell us to take more public transport don't seem to acknowledge that cycling is also an alternative fuel-free form of transport. And that as such, you need to provide for cyclists too.

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