Walkers' main fear is 'cars not cycles'
Your correspondent Paul Lee took me to task for not talking about pedestrians in my recent First Person article.
Guilty as charged, Paul. But in mitigation, perhaps I should remind you that the piece was written in response to the BBC's War on Britain's Roads documentary, which looked solely at the interactions between cyclists and motorists. However, since you've raised the issue, here's my response.
Leicester Cycling Campaign Group believes that there is responsibility on all road users to look after those who are more vulnerable.
And so we would expect cyclists to treat pedestrians as we expect motorists to deal with cyclists – allowing them room and passing them slowly.
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Tensions occur between cyclists and pedestrians when they share the same space. Shared space can occur in pedestrianised areas.
In Leicester, virtually all are open to cyclists, for which the city council deserves credit.
But shared space can also be a cycle path, running alongside the road. Which, until the erection of some blue signs and the application of a bit of paint, was formerly known as a pavement.
Cyclists can pedal happily along the cycle path formerly known as pavement until, seemingly at random, the paint runs out and it becomes a pavement once more. At which point the law-abider becomes a law-breaker. Is it any wonder some choose to remain on the pavement? I'm sorry, but I can't get exercised over the legality issue, and would hate to see scarce policing resources diverted to tackling pavement cycling.
What then about the risk to pedestrians? I sympathise with any footslogger who has felt intimidated by inconsiderate cyclists. But the danger is more perceived than real. In 2011, some 26,000 pedestrians were killed or injured in the UK, with 453 losing their lives. Of those 26,000, just 369 were involved in a collision with a cyclist. And over the same period 107 cyclists died in collisions with motor vehicles while almost 20,000 were injured.
I'm not being dismissive of your argument, Paul. I just want you to get things in perspective. Motor vehicles and their drivers are the real danger for pedestrians, just as they are for cyclists.
Which is why central and local government, and the police should be doing all they can to help "make cycling normal" by providing a better environment for cycling.
Eric Ludlow, Kirby Muxloe.