When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Blog: Essential we don't drive cyclists away
THE backlash against cycling was inevitable.
Bradley Wiggins officially became the coolest man in Britain last summer following his amazing Tour de France and Olympic gold double.
And following his success it was noticeable to any long-time bike rider that there were more of us on the roads.
But the cycling boom that was created last summer has led to an increase in cyclist-hatred, and prompted calls to introduce bureaucratic new laws that would destroy the spirit of the sport.
For most dedicated bike riders, cycling is more of a lifestyle than a sport – and as such it’s particularly susceptible to the whims of fashion.
When I started riding in the mid-90s, mountain biking was the big thing. Off-road trails of the Lake District and other national parks were teeming with bike riders.
Now the MTBers have largely migrated to purpose-built trail centres and it’s the roads that are full of lycra-clad riders on elegant carbon fibre bikes.
The increased visibility of cyclists on our roads has led to us becoming demonised as testosterone-fuelled, lycra-clad hooligans who are terrorising the nation’s drivers.
It’s rare to go out on the bike without getting involved in an altercation with a driver who’s angry because you’ve delayed their arrival at the next traffic jam by a few seconds.
There’s even a Twitter account called @cyclehatred that’s dedicated to shaming motorists who criticise cyclists for exercising their right to be on the roads.
Admittedly, there’s a minority of cyclists out there who break the speed limit, jump red lights and make life difficult for other road users, but most of us just want to get out in the countryside and enjoy a bit of exercise.
When we’re doing that we’re among the most vulnerable people on the roads – more likely to get clipped by a wing mirror or be sworn at than given the wide berth a horse rider would enjoy.
UKIP has called for a compulsory registration scheme for cyclists, and there’s even talk of compulsory insurance and mandatory helmet-wearing.
All these things will make people less likely to get on their bikes – leading to more cars on the roads, longer traffic jams, more pollution in the air and a decline in the nation’s health.
Comments are closed on this article.