Britain seems to be an increasingly angry place. Were talking about it since the Brexit vote of 2016. The papers, online, radio and TV are filled with people expressing opinions. They are talking but not listening.
Here is a letter to the local paper that characterises the Angry Letter Writer. See below.
His opinions certainly don’t reflect my 30 year’s experience cycling with clubs. However, there were times when drivers made it clear that they were angry with us. I used to notice their reactions when I lived in Bristol, but not in Staffordshire.
My strongest disagreement is with the assertion that club cyclists are the biggest problem on our roads. He has not considered motorists speeding, running red lights, having no insurance, tailgating and so on. In his mind, the nuisance of overtaking club cyclists is greater than the loss of life associated with the driving offences listed above. It is so easy to refute each argument that I won’t bother. The overall theme is anger.
The same letter was published in the Southport version of this paper but the name was withheld. In that case it was signed off as
Angry motorist, (name and address supplied). Has the paper slipped up and accidentally released his name?
It is very interesting to see that Tony Richardson of Newburgh writes (Letters, February 20) to say that the Highway Code advises cyclists should not ride more than two abreast and that they may need to move into a single file in some situations.
The code quite clearly states; ‘never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends.’
This is quite clearly not an advert to ride two abreast as ‘the norm’ as he states in his letter, as bends and busy narrow roads figure a lot in this area.
He also says that it takes less time to overtake a group of a given number when they are two abreast than when they are in a single file, such as a cycling club. Not so when the group is 20-plus in number, cycling two and sometimes three abreast, on a busy road and usually narrow one as well, is contrary to the Highway Code.
This is the equivalent of overtaking a slow, large vehicle and very often there is traffic coming the other way and therefore is not possible which leads to frustration and dangerous attempts to pass the group. .
Whilst having concern for cyclists and the interaction with other traffic, it’s about time the cycling groups that take to the roads on a Sunday, in particular, got their members to ride to the Highway Code and stop abusing motorists with unauthorised hand signals (l) who in their opinion are in the wrong by overtaking them.
They should ride with consideration to others by abiding by the traffic rule of law such as stopping at traffic lights; signalling
their intention to turn; giving way to traffic at major road junctions before turning out in front of them; not riding at speed down pavements; ride in single file not two or three abreast; not weaving in and out of traffic streams when in slow traffic; not coming alongside a vehicle that is signalling the intention to turn left etc.
The biggest offenders are the cycling clubs’ mob-handed outings. You are not the fastest or only thing with wheels on the road. Try splitting your groups into two or three blocks so that other vehicles can get by safely and more importantly you are safe.
The ordinary cyclists commuting to work, shopping or out for the ride, are not the problem.
Pete Monks, by email.
Ormkirk Champion, 8th March 2019.