This week, cycling in the New Forest has had more media coverage than normal. Starting with the Sunday Politics show on BBC1, the current issues of cycling in the New Forest were highlighted in a special report by @ . I was interviewed as part of the piece, talking briefly about “Plan B” and Sportives. To see the full clip, head on over to our newly set up Facebook page.
Also in the news this week, @ was featured in the Bournemouth Echo in an article focussing on one of his recent Go-Pro videos. The clip in question was recorded on the weekend of the Wiggle and GridIron rides. It highlights the all to common danger posed to cyclists by some motorists. Unfortunately, incidents like this are not as rare as they should be. As well as featuring on the Bournemouth Echo site, a similar article has also been posted on the Daily Echo website. Perhaps most concerning of all are the comments. Many display not only a worrying ignorance of the law and tax (that old chestnut), but also highlight a real hatred of cyclists that is not confined solely to the internet.
I think the bike riders priority is out of kilter, knowing the dangers to themselves. They think that helmet and Lycra are a licence to ignore the dangers and ride with no regard for the law
Or, when there is no gap, is that really the time to overtake?
The car was already overtaking a group of cyclists where is it it supposed to go?
These are just two comments that illustrate the attitude that some people have towards cyclists. A person on a bike is often seen as a blot in the motorists domain. The reality under law is very different though. A motorist has no greater rights over the road than a cyclist. Ultimately, if more people squeezed out from behind the wheel, put some shorts on (or even, lycra!) and got on a bike, they would not only very likely enjoy themselves, but would begin to cultivate a much better understanding of the dangers faced by cyclists.
On each ride taken this week, there have been at least two motorists who have needlessly endangered my life, their car and the car coming the other way. All because they drive without proper care and attention, making bad judgements and seeing the cyclist as something to be overtaken at all costs.
The dangers to cyclists are not made up. They are real.