THE public consultation on a new cycle strategy is welcome, if not overdue, (‘Cycle plan should keep cyclists safe’: Wakefield Express August 24, page 18) but before we increase the number of cycle lanes can we be sure that they will be properly used, if used at all?
We presently have a network of cycle lanes - some on roadsides, some on pavements, some through parks - and I would suggest that few cyclists use them.
Take Denby Dale Road, for instance, where there are clearly-marked cycles lanes.
Most cyclists I see, as a pedestrian, generally ignore them, and ride on the pavements right next to them (often in a contra-flow direction). They speed down at you from either direction with no warning bell or horn and expect you to move: I never do. It is my belief that most ‘bikers’ as opposed to the lycra-clad cyclists think they can go anywhere they choose, on and off road, around the red lights, in any direction they please.
They have yet to acknowledge that pavements are for pedestrians, and that there is a clear system of priority for use of pavements and roads: pedestrians first, cyclists second and motorists third.
This can be observed quite clearly in countries such as the Netherlands and Denmark, where cycle use is more prevalent, and it works.
Before we spend more effort and money on yet more cycle paths, we need a system of re-education for most bikers so that they learn to behave safely and with due respect to others.
It is not uncommon to witness bikers with a mobile phone in one hand, a can of beer in the other, no lights or bell, hurtling along the pavement scattering everyone out of the way!
Let it be quite clear what the regulations and bye-laws are in respect of cycling and let them be enforced.
Let everyone be taught to use these correctly, if not, they should be taken off the streets and have their machines impounded. If this seems overly harsh, just consider how much safer it would be.
PS. I do own and ride a bike on occasions, but always on-road and with due care.