Give cyclists space

 

Sir, – I ride a bike every day. It’s fun and convenient, it helps me stay healthy and it’s cheap. With my three-year-old in a seat on the back, we can go almost anywhere we need to on two wheels.

I am acutely aware that when some motorists see me riding my bike, they don’t see a woman going to work or doing the shopping or bringing her child to the park. I cease to be a human being with hopes and dreams and a family. I’m just another cyclist and I’m in the way.

Don’t I know the road is for cars? After all, I don’t even pay “road tax”, even though there’s no such thing, roads are funded through general taxation.

They might become aggressive and beep their horn when I don’t stay “out of the way” on the far left. They may not understand that at times I need to cycle in the centre of the lane to prevent dangerous overtaking, so I can proceed safely at a junction or roundabout, or to avoid colliding with the door of a parked car.

They might think the law should clamp down on cyclists by forcing us to have a number plate and insurance. As if that would be a prudent use of resources. As if law-breaking cyclists could ever cause even a tiny fraction of the devastation of law-breaking motorists.

I think the minority of motorists who dehumanise cyclists do so because deep down they are afraid they might hurt or kill us. It’s a valid concern.

Cars and bicycles are fundamentally different in terms of size and speed; they just don’t mix well. It’s no wonder we’re in conflict, on the roads and on social media.

Asking motorists and cyclists to share the road is a bit like asking a mouse and an elephant to be housemates. In reality, we would all benefit from the same thing – infrastructure that safely segregates bikes from cars. Then we wouldn’t all need to be so scared of squishing and being squished. – Yours, etc,

CLARE HARTWIEG,

Gorey,

Co Wexford.

Sir, – May I congratulate Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council on its excellent (and almost continuous) cycle lane from Blackrock village to Sandycove. I cycled from the northside to swim at the Forty Foot on a recent sunny Tuesday morning; it was so enjoyable I repeated the journey the following two days!

It’s the little things.

– Yours, etc,

BRIAN SKELLY,

Drumcondra,

Dublin 9.