Hi SwanTV Viewer
I know that bikes are important, not just in helping us towards a greener environment and saving money but also in giving us that exercise that we all need to keep fit and live longer. And most cyclists ride with care and obey the Highway Code to keep the rest of us safe. Cycles are integral to out transport system and should work in partnership with motor vehicles, each having due care and attention to others. I was shocked to read yesterday that a third of drivers thought that cycles should be banned from public highways. And seven in ten of the drivers questioned said cyclists should have insurance. The findings come from an online survey of more than 12,000 UK motorists by data collection firm Yonder who asked 12,500 motorists. What do you think?
I am becoming very wary of those mavericks who ride through traffic lights, on pavements and undertake on the inside of both moving and stationary vehicles, mainly in cities. Twice in the last 7 days I have narrowly missed being hit and possibly knocked down by cyclists on pavements. The first occasion they overtook me as I walked along, almost brushing against me as they passed, and at some speed too. They rode ahead, crossed at a pedestrian crossing, still riding, and sped down on the opposite pavement. The second time I stepped out of a shop and a bike wizzed by on the relatively narrow pavement, almost knocking me over, the cyclist turning his head and shouting “Watch out where you walk!” And this on a pavement!
The Highway Code states emphatically, in Rule 64 that “You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement”. It also advises that cyclists “take care when passing pedestrians, especially children, older or disabled people, and allow them plenty of room”. I can understand that children ride on the pavement and that is probably safe because they are smaller than pedestrians and going slowly. And also where pavements are deserted and there are no doorways or gates opening onto them. But city centres are different, often crowded, mothers with young children, older people who are slow and who have poor eye-sight and hearing.
And I understand that many cyclists might feel threatened by motorists on busy roads where there are cars parked kerbside and roads may have potholes or uneven surfaces. And some vehicle drivers are either careless or menacing as they pass too close. I’ve noticed that some drivers seem to think this is a game, as is driving through puddled roads and splashing pedestrians (which is also illegal!). And cycling on roads in the rain must be difficult when visibility is poor and cars are spraying surfacewater as they pass.
There are many cycle routes now throughout the Swansea area and these are increasing year on year, making cycling safer. And the Local Authority must be applauded for this but the problem locally seems to be Swansea inner city and main roads leading there. The only cycle lane I have noticed has been outside the Grand Theatre and this is two ways in a one-way street. Theatre goers leaving may not notice approaching cyclist and I feel this is a hazard.
Visiting Bristol I was amazed that there are cycle lanes throughout the city. And they are very busy plus e-scooters are licensed and these are heavily used. I was surprised that none were using the pavements and all obeyed traffic signals. The scooters all have a registration number and I undestand that users get a discount if they wear a helmet and can be fined if caught using pavements (there must be adequate CCTV to pick this up). As a pedestrian I felt quite safe on pavements, and everyone safer, cycles, pedestrians and motor vehicles are all separated. Could this be an answer in Swansea? Cycle lanes and e-scooters!
With the volume of cycles, insurance would probably be reasonably priced, must be worth considering. I’ve seen cyclists with cameras on their helmets, presumably to catch motorists breaking the law, driving too close or in case of an accident. So they have a record of registration numbers. With cyclists they can just disappear in a flash, drive through red lights, on pavements, without lights or dangerously but we have no way of identifying them. A good solution might be to show the number on a hi-vis vest that the cyclist wore. This would both identify them and make them more visible.
So what do you think? How can we improve safety for all raod and pavement users? Should the police or local authorities take more positive steps to stop racing cyclists on pavements? Cars that threaten cyclists? Introduce more safe cycle lanes? Introduce registration numbers? Introduce local e-scooters? Maybe a media campaign. Are the rcent changes in the Highway Code appropriate and well thought through? Lets make it safer for all.
Mike Leahy SwanTV