Why are cyclists always denigrated?
I feel we live in confusing times. For past few months, cycling has held national attention with Bradley Wiggins being the first British cyclist to win the Tour De France and Team GB again dominating the Olympics.
It has encouraged more people to cycle and the local Sky Ride event attracted thousands.
Yet, the Mercury Mailbox repeatedly publishes letters which focus only on those people who ride bicycles who "break the laws".
Now I'm not going to deny that there are a minority (this will no doubt be disputed!) who ride bicycles who have no regard for the Highway Code or other people, and who set a bad example and influence non-cyclists' view of cyclists in general.
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But then, as I have previously stated, do we not have an element of this in all forms of transport, motorised or pedestrianised?
Cyclists are generally tarred with three "crimes".
Not stopping at red lights
Riding on pavements
Not paying road tax
In answer to these – yes, some people on bikes ride through red lights, but then so do motorists, hence safety cameras, and even pedestrians cross roads while the little red man is showing.
On the second point, cyclists do ride on pavements, often legally, as councils like to build cycle paths on pavements, which adds to the confusion of it all.
Lastly, cyclists don't pay road tax, because no one pays road tax. Motorised vehicles pay a "vehicle licence tax". The "road tax" comes from other tax deductions and maintenance costs – think "council tax".
It's time to move away from the continued blinkered criticism cycling receives – it is not alone in its faults!
In current times, cycling is likely to increase and it's time to learn to share.
Instead of highlighting the negatives, look to enhance all the positives.
Cycling was once the transport for the masses, looked upon as a way to expand and seek work further afield.
It seems in times of austerity it is making its comeback, and also proving that Britain is great at something.
I would like to end on a high note regarding cycling.
The Mercury often runs stories of people completing cycle rides, raising money for good causes.
Cycling is a sport/pastime that most can enjoy, hence the frequency of charity events.
You don't need to be super fit to start cycling, people can achieve great things from cycling in short periods of time.
It can reward people for their efforts and achievements and enhance other people's lives, through the money raised.
Wayne Henderson, Leicester.