From cyclists accused of being Lycra louts, to drivers complaining they can’t overtake. Cycling events, like cycling in general on Britain’s roads, seems to stir up tensions. But separating the real concerns from knee-jerk reactions, is it possible for us all to just get along?

Sportives are on the up, and while some people embrace cycling events, some are less than enthusiastic.

Surrey, home of Box Hill and favourite of the weekend cyclist, is a fine example of such vocal opposition, beginning with the petition to “Stop Surrey being turned into a cycle track”. A couple of inflammatory articles from the Telegraph followed, “War declared on the Lycra louts on wheels” with a cyclist who apparently spat on an old lady’s window, and yesterday “Take a stand against the false God of cycling” which bemoans the Olympic cycling legacy and incorrectly labels utility cycling a sport, “receiving obscene amounts of Government funding”.

Compared with the overall transport budget cycling gets a pittance; £99m of an expected £12.5bn Department for Transport spend in 2013/14; this for something which offers a solution to economy-sapping congestion, not to mention health-sapping pollution and inactivity, and which is a fun, cheap and healthy mode of transport. The journalist may not like cycling, but given safe roads, people have shown they love it, and want to do it, including the 50,000 that turned up for this summer’s Ride London event.

Articles referring to cyclists as red light jumping Lycra louts creates bad feeling on both sides, among cyclists who, rightfully, do not expect be held accountable for the actions of others, and among those who seem to believe anyone dressed in Lycra will, given half a chance, shout abuse at them and possibly even spit at them. It is too easy to lump cyclists, as a growing minority, in a group, and this can be dangerous.

As the Guardian‘s Peter Walker recently put it: “A driver faced with the challenge of overtaking a cyclist has all sort of options as to how close they pass, whether they slow down to do so, whether they take a (to the driver) slight risk on a blind bend. It’s arguable that their sense of who the cyclist is and their right to be on the road plays a part in such split-second assessments.”

Clearly we aren’t accountable for the actions of bad-mannered cyclists any more than motorists should be held responsible for the dangerous drivers of this world who maim and kill. The fact that often cyclists are car owners and vice versa is, more often than not, ignored.

Meanwhile, Surrey Council is, sensibly, instead focussing on the facts, with the Surrey Cycling Strategy, with a consultation. The council says as well as welcoming the weekend rider “a true Olympic legacy would see every child in Surrey learning to ride a bike, and being able to cycle safely to school.” The consultation preamble also points out more cyclists – leisure and transport – means less congestion and better health, pointing out better cycling facilities mean people without cars can travel more easily, too.

Among proposals are improving cycle routes, with new maps and information, improving road safety through measures like Surrey’s Drive SMART partnership, as well as managing the impacts of cycle events through codes of conduct for cyclists and event organisers.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport, thanks to lobbying by British Cycling, is holding a consultation on modernising legislation governing road cycling events.

The New Forest National Park is also, despite what the local paper would lead one to believe with its “crack down on cycle events” article, attempting to bring locals and cycling events together under a code of conduct following a dramatic spate in April when the New Forest Spring Sportive was sabotaged.

Nigel Matthews, New Forest Community and Visitor Services Manager, said: “The lead-up to the event caused so much local concern we felt it would be appropriate to bring organisations together to agree a code of conduct.”

There are still grumbles and concerns from those who believe large-scale events disrupt the tranquillity of the New Forest (I spoke to the local commons defence group who still hold these concerns) but the situation is being treated with the open, mature discussion it deserves, with or without the help of the media.

Matthews said: “We hope that all event organisers will be happy to sign up to the charter when this is completed and that local people and user groups will be pleased with the standards of organisation expected of event organisers so that the New Forest remains a special place for all to enjoy.”

That is the point; our roads should be for everyone, just as cycling should be for everyone. As a cheap means of transport and healthy leisure activity, cycling is having a positive effect on people’s lives at a time when rail and fuel prices are rising, along with health problems relating to inactivity.

If more people are getting out on their bikes on the weekend that is surely a good thing, and some local authorities recognise that, and are trying to help local people to recognise it, too. The more everyone understands cycling is a positive force, and is on our roads to stay, the safer and more accessible our roads will be for everyone.

  • sleepylawyer

    I too live in Surrey. I drive I have been a cyclist and I am a pedestrian. I have no problem with higher sentences for reckless driving. But I do think it is high time some cyclists stand up and take responsibility for being a road user. I have no problem being behind a cyclist for however long it takes to , safely, skirt round them. They are road users too. But they don’t want to behave like responsible ones a lot of the time. Recently seen by me when I am driving and walking:
    no lights – when I was cycling I had proper dynamo lights fitted front and back
    switching between cycling on pavements and then roads and using Zebra crossings to do so
    cycling in the dark on a black bike with a black suit black rucksack no lights, nearly knocked them over in the dark
    absolutely no hand signals. I have seen maybe two cyclists in about three years do hand signals. Not sure if cyclists even know the proper hand signals for left and right let alone slowing down!
    jumping red lights
    getting narky if you follow behind in low gear trying to get round
    getting narky if you do pull round
    Sharing the road is a two way street.

  • Terra

    Same old story, the fundamental problem lies in the average car drivers belief that the roads belong to them and everyone else should modify the way they travel just to suit them. I cycle, ride a motor bike and drive a car. Regardless of which I am currently using I apply the same appreciation to the other road users around me. If I am in a car and I see a cyclist ahead, I slow down and find a safe spot to pass. I don’t bemoan the lost seconds because that cyclist has just as much right to be there as me. When I am on my bicycle I don’t block the road and I try and make it easy to be passed as far as possible. What the government and the police need to do is not just pay lip service to the highway code. Both cyclists and drivers need to be accountable for breaking the rules regardless of any ideas of entitlement and ownership. Drivers that cause dangerous situations because they are too impatient to wait should lose their licenses and cyclists that can’t use the road in a safe manner should receive injunctions preventing them from riding. The government needs to enforce the rules more vigorously to protect all road users. I think also reading Karenina’s comments it might be time to make all road users have to take the highway code theory test every 10 years as there seems to be a wide misconception of what the actual highway code states. Most people wouldn’t shoplift but they will speed, drive dangerously, drive aggressively and drive in such away as to physically threaten and endanger other road users. You would get arrested for acting this way walking the streets, it should be considered even more serious when the protagonist is controlling a couple of tons of metal. The busier the roads get the more everyone will have to pull together to make them work. Selfish users on both sides of the coin need to grow up and stop acting like children.

  • Samuel Gee

    this comment is to the editor.

    I firmly believe that the poster Karenina is trolling on this site. I also suspect that philip tregear is part of this and possibly one and the same. This latter belief is held less firmly.
    he/she has done that and in a very timely fashion.

    For a non-cyclist to choose CW to make the original post is itself odd. Its designed to be inflammatory. Was it just chance that Karenina happened upon the site or decided that CW was the place for her comments just when there was an article about cylists and motorists getting along. I find that CW is being media monitored as a trolling exercise.

    The claim that a rebuttal of her points was bullying is also par for the course for the anti-cycling lobby.

    Their usual online approach is to make claims that cyclists in general are badly behaved and should not be on the road. This is done under the claim that they themselves are just “ordinary motorists” trying to be helpful. and not at all anti-cyclist.

    As soon as they are rebutted they then claim that they are being bullied, libelled etc etc.

    This is a “catch 22″ technique. Either we cyclists let their claims stand, tacitly accepting their proposition about cyclists being a problem, or worse we apologise for being cyclists or on behalf of some unknown cyclist that may or may not have done anything wrong even if they exist or whether or not the accusation made is of a real incident.

    However if we challenge the old myths and tropes then we are then cast as aggressive.

    The catch 22 paints us into a corner. We agree that cyclists are a nuisance or we are cast as aggressive.

    You don’t need to take my word for it. Please check this out.

    I think CW in this case is the victim of trolling.

  • Karenina

    To Phil Tregear and Fred Lowry, Thank you for your posts. An apology was not needed from either of you, but it is very much appreciated. I had not intended to post again, but I feel that I should acknowledge your kind responses. I was simply somewhat taken aback by the bullying ridicule my comments met with on the forum, which does not help the cycling fraternity but probably will help the anti-cycling lobby no end, if it exists.

  • Samuel Gee

    Phil and Fred

    Don’t apologise on my behalf and please do remember that there is a hardcore of anti-cyclist campaigners out there. There is even a an unofficial watcher of social media that monitors abusive and hateful posts. Even the AA is monitoring this as part of its own road safety inititives. Check out @cyclehatred on Twitter which has been cited by Edmund King of the AA.

    http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/aa-president-to-show-cyclist-hate-tweets-at-road-safety-conference/013912

    One of the tactics of the organised lobby of anticyclists would be to write letters to local newspapers and use social media and planted/exaggerated stories of cyclist misbehaviour / violence etc.

    Who do you think goes to a cycling weekly comment section to have a pop at cyclists? I’d say it was very likely a trolling exercise. The pattern of comments does fit the pattern. So before you go apologising to people on behalf of all cyclists, for the bad experiences that they say they have had at the hands of a few, please contemplate on that.

    Once you start apologising on behalf of all cyclists for what may or may not have even happened and to people that don’t even want you on the road anyway then you are playing into their hands. You have effectively pleaded guilty for us all to the overall charge that there is something all cyclists need to apologise for. Put that in context I am a motorist and I am certainly not going to apologise of behalf of all motorists for anything.

    Just like on the road you need to keep your wits about you.

  • Fred Lowry

    I echo a lot of what Philip Tregear writes. Most times I ride my bike nothing untoward happens (touch wood). However, it should be remembered that if cyclist hits car, result scratched pain, car hits cyclist, result serious injury or death. That’s why most cyclists ride defensively in order to avoid cars and motorists should also be aware of the damage their car can cause to vulnerable road users.

  • philp tregear

    it is sad that an article exhorting all road users to be more courteous to one another has degenerated into an argument between cyclists and drivers. I cycle to and from work. when appropriate i slow down or stop to allow a car to pass me ( eg on narrow roads.). Usually i get a friendly acknowledgement from the driver. I stop and help motorists who have broken down or been in accidents. I do this out of common courtesy. However, I believe it improves the stock of goodwill towards cyclists from motorists. It is counter productive to antagonise motorists and our public roads are not a private racetrack for any users. Karenina, on behalf of many like minded cyclists I apologise for any offence caused to you by others for simply expressing your honest thoughts and opinons.

  • Justin Robinson

    The war of Opinion continues, perhaps you lot could meet up & bring a large Kipper, stand in the circle of indifference & slap each other with wet kippers all day, that would be fun! wouldn’t it?
    Or perhaps just throw your arms around one another & offer big sloppy warm kisses?

    Or even better, let’s leave it till we meet again, on the road baby, yeah!…

  • Samuel Gee

    @ Karenina

    Karenina wrote
    “You are making a lot of assumptions about me, aren’t you? I didn’t realise my comments could be twisted into things that I did not say or mean so easily.”

    Reply
    Well the most interesting thing about your comments is why someone who isn’t a cyclist and has such animus towards them is commenting on a Cycling Weekly web page. That’s a pretty big clue to me that you are one of those extreme anti-cycling vigilantes trying to dress up negative comments about cyclists; “3 year olds” “shouldn’t be allowed on the road” “dangerous” etc as if they were merely from a concerned motorist when I think your motivation to comment is less than benign.

    I have been driving since I was 17. That’s 35 years. I passed an advanced driving test and I am a member of the IAM. I like driving and I like cycling. I’ve been a cyclist on the road since age 10. That’s 42 years. Every single cyclist I know holds a full driving licence. Pound for pound then cyclists are just as experienced drivers as anyone else on the road and more experienced than most because they have wider experience as a road user.

    Karenina wrote
    “As someone who did not witness an event, you have also decided what I must or must not have seen.”

    Reply
    I know what you said you saw. You said that a whole group of cyclists just moved out into the road without looking. So either you met the suicide club or you missed the fact that groups of cyclists have constant verbal communication about where the traffic is. What’s behind, what’s in front and when it’s safe to move position in the road. Not being a cyclist you wouldn’t know that. Nor would you realise that cyclists also use their ears to assess traffic position. We know that traffic is behind us because we can hear it. We can tell you whether it is a bus, a lorry a car, a petrol or a diesel, is accelerating or holding it’s speed. We look when we can’t hear things to make sure that it is clear. We also look well before a motorist would. That’s why you probably missed it. If I need to turn right on my bike across a busy lane then I am assessing the traffic 20 or more seconds before that turn. I’ve already looked back to judge where the gap in the traffic will be. Not being a cyclist you’d be completely ignorant of that.

    Karenina wrote
    What is a doozy? I’m sorry, that isn’t in my vocabulary.

    Reply
    Research isn’t a strong point with you is it. OK I’ll help you out again though dictionaries are now widely available.

    doo•zie
    [doo-zee] noun, verb, doo•zied, doo•zi•ing. Informal.
    noun
    1.
    Also, doo•zer doo-zy IPA . something that is extraordinary or outstanding of its kind:The storm was a doozie, with winds of fifty miles an hour.
    Verb phrases
    2.
    doozie up, to make more attractive or appealing, as by adding features or ornaments, cleaning orrepairing, or clothing brightly: You’ll have to doozie up the house before you can sell it.

    or as in your comment that cyclists caused motorists to use more fuel because the motorist might have to slow down. Yes siree Bob. That was indded a “doozie” of a comment.

    Karenina wrote
    I do not speed – thank you for the assumption that I do.

    Reply
    Sure. Whatever you say! And yet your attitude to other road users holding you up, making you change gear costing you money makes me think otherwise.

    Karenina wrote
    If as you say most cyclists are also motorists, I dread the idea of meeting some of those people in their cars.

    Reply
    See, there you go again. You’ll spot them easily enough. They are among the ones that are considerate to other road users, don’t sit huffing and puffing about having to change gear or slow down.

    Karenina wrote
    There is a lot of conflict between cyclists and car-drivers.

    Reply
    No there isn’t. There is some conflict between some cyclists and poor drivers. The conflict you have had is a direct result of your own poor attitude to other road users.

    Karenina wrote
    Anyway, I thought I would drop in on a cycling forum to put the other side of the picture because the people best suited to sorting out very genuine problems with a number of cyclists (which many cyclists acknowledge) are the cyclists themselves.

    Reply
    No the best people to deal with errant road users are the police. And rightly the police are concerned with the behaviour most likely to result in road casualties. They take a far dimmer view of my cycling friend Derek if he was to drive his HGV Hazmat Tanker over the speed limit than they might a car driver. The potential for harm being so much higher. Likewise the motorist driving perhaps a ton of steel inappropriately gets their attention far more than the person on 30 pounds of bicycle travelling well under the speed limit. Cyclists don’t kill nearly 2000 people a year in the UK nor do they seriously injure, disable and maim 50,000 people or cause less serious but significant injuries to 100,000 more.

    Karenina wrote
    Sorry it didn’t work, and I shan’t butt in again. (If you get this cross on a forum, how cross do you get in your car? Do you realise you have made libellous comments about me?) The responses I have received do reinforce the view that cyclists can be extremely discourteous to others.

    Reply
    No it didn’t work. Nice try but no cigar. You turned up as a non cyclist on a cycling website to make daft remarks about cyclists because you have a bee in your bonnet about us. You called us “3 year olds”. You said we shouldn’t be on the roads and that we were dangerous, that our presence meant you had to change gear and slow down (though you don’t speed yourself I understand). You showed zero understanding of how cyclists operate to stay safe on the roads. I don’t believe for one moment that you wanted to help cyclists understand the motorist and in any case as I pointed out, we know already because we are almost all motorists ourselves. The discourtesy is all yours. And when I am driving I am travelling and not racing and I’m certainly worried about occasionally slowing down for walkers, cyclists, schools, old folk crossing theroad or cyclists and I’m not the the one writing in to complain about vulnerable road users getting in my way. Getting cross about having to slow down sometimes kind of shows your attitude.

    But all is not lost. May I recommend that you improve your driving by investing in an advanced course.
    http://www.iam.org.uk/drivers/motorists-courses

    Drive safely now!

  • Karenina

    Dear Samuel, You are making a lot of assumptions about me, aren’t you? I didn’t realise my comments could be twisted into things that I did not say or mean so easily. As someone who did not witness an event, you have also decided what I must or must not have seen. What is a doozy? I’m sorry, that isn’t in my vocabulary. You have completely missed some of the points I made in order to fit them into your own original post. I do not speed – thank you for the assumption that I do. If as you say most cyclists are also motorists, I dread the idea of meeting some of those people in their cars. There is a lot of conflict between cyclists and car-drivers. If you completely ignore what the other person is saying, that conflict will grow. I set out my experiences of cyclists, and those experiences are unfortunate. In this context there was little point in setting out positive experiences. In London I had far more near and closer misses as a pedestrian with cyclists than I did with cars – usually when there were lights indicating that it was safe for me to cross. I said that I was not a cyclist. I have cycled. I just do not cycle now, nor did I cycle for exercise in the way that people cycle now. (I was also a horse-rider.) Anyway, I thought I would drop in on a cycling forum to put the other side of the picture because the people best suited to sorting out very genuine problems with a number of cyclists (which many cyclists acknowledge) are the cyclists themselves. Sorry it didn’t work, and I shan’t butt in again. (If you get this cross on a forum, how cross do you get in your car? Do you realise you have made libellous comments about me?) The responses I have received do reinforce the view that cyclists can be extremely discourteous to others.

  • Justin Robinson

    There will always be conflict, Motorists, cyclists, old & young, we are human, & our nature is of conflict & opinion. Many wars are fought, either on the battlefield or on the road, its called population control, & we are out of control lol…

  • Samuel Gee

    Oh I forgot this absolute diamond from Karenina the impatient motorist I already responded to. Apologies to Martin Littlewood who already remarked on the comment I just wanted to add something else.

    here is the comment from Karenina.

    “Slowing down to trail behind cyclists may mean being in lower gear. More emissions, using more fuel,”

    It’s a doozy ain’t it? She’s complaining that 15 cyclists not using any fuel, not creating any emissions or pollution, not causing any attrition to the road are responsible for emissions and fuel consumption because she (one person in a half ton or more steel box has to slow down and use a lower gear. Which may or may not increase fuel consumption btw.

    The only person responsible for emissions in that scenario is the person driving the car not the curves in the road, the people on horses, pedestrians or cyclist that Karenina hates having to slow down for. Just the person in the car.

    This is such a gift of a comment I am sorely tempted to think it’s a put up job by CW.

    I mean it’s just begging us to ask Karenina why? Why if she is so worried about fuel consumption and cost and the environment and the fluffy bunnies…. Why isn’t she riding a bike?

    Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/540578/comment-cyclists-and-drivers-can-t-we-all-just-get-along.html#WH4wdy8ZCAWsWPX0.99

  • Samuel Gee

    Karenina
    September 28 23:03
    “As a non-cyclist”

    I mean imagine starting a comment about drivers with an admission that you hadn’t a clue what you were talking about. I would guarantee that the group of adult cyclists you encountered all hold full driving licences. I do every adult cyclist I know does even my 17 year old son does.

    Take this example of how bad drivers like Karenina think.

    “Large groups of cyclists do hold up traffic on long stretches of more rural roads.” What this actually means is that Karenina has to slow down a bit. She doesn’t like having to slow down a bit. It holds her up. Stops her speeding to the back of the next line of traffic.

    Or what about this gem.

    “On a busy main road I had seen a group of about 15 cyclists pull out left into traffic without looking.”

    Or she thinks she has but maybe if she turned the music off and wound the windo down she may have heard the normal shouts of a cycling group about where the traffic was. “Car back” “Clear”. You know the sort of thing that means that 15 cyclists don’t all look left at the same time. She probably couldn’t figure out why that might be a bad idea.

    Karenina admits to having no cycling experience but like many motorists thinks she is a superior road user. Oblivious to the fact that if she were overtaking my Sunday group she’d be watching a group of experienced motorists I am Advanced driver (IAM) anither of which was an HGV Class 1 and a lady driving instructor. But because we are on bikes then Karenina thinks we are “3 year olds”.

    Well done to the Editor for including this comment from Karenina it is a perfect demonstration of the ignorance and arrogance of some drivers who are non-cyclists when they criticise sometimes far more experienced motorists who also cycle.

    What next Karenina a comment on the Horse & Rider website that starts “I am not a horse rider” but carries on to tell them how best to ride their horse so that Karenina doesn’t have to drive a bit slower sometimes.

    Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/540578/comment-cyclists-and-drivers-can-t-we-all-just-get-along.html#3Yi9fclHFgxlCd6m.99

    Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/540578/comment-cyclists-and-drivers-can-t-we-all-just-get-along.html#3Yi9fclHFgxlCd6m.99

    Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/540578/comment-cyclists-and-drivers-can-t-we-all-just-get-along.html#3Yi9fclHFgxlCd6m.99

  • Karenina

    Martin Littlewood. Your post is disingenuous. You seem to be implying that I suggested that cyclists should be run into and killed or injured. I have simply pointed out that a large group of cyclists can delay traffic. Other slower-moving vehicles may be working vehicles and, as I said, are expected by law to pull over when and if possible to allow other cars to pass, and this was in response to Samuel Gee’s point that nothing is lost if people are required to slow down.

    Quite honestly, a fair number of cyclists do not deserve to be on the road, along with many motorists.

    I was on one occasion described by someone who didn’t know me at the time as being an inexperienced driver with no knowledge of the width of my car – because I gave a cyclist the space of a car when overtaking them which I understand is what is required. I should be extremely grateful if the cyclists I have come into contact with would in future do me the same courtesy when I am on foot.

  • Martin Littlewood

    In response to Karenina, whilst she makes some good points about both good and bad drivers and cyclists I think she sums up a lot of the problems caused by impatient motorists by saying – ‘Slowing down to trail behind cyclists may mean being in lower gear. More emissions, using more fuel, and if you are in business you are immediately losing money.’

    You can’t use that sort of excuse if you run into a cyclist and kill or injure them just because you were impatient enough to pass and not give them enough room just because you’re in business. Why not just plough through everything, dogs, cats, old people who might be in your way!

    The attitude of more and more motorists today seems to be that cyclists don’t really deserve to be the road so they do their best to intimidate them by driving carelessly.

  • Karenina

    As a non-cyclist, I do feel I have to respond. On a busy main road I had seen a group of about 15 cyclists pull out left into traffic without looking; they were not youngsters. I have pulled over to overtake a cyclist who had stopped at the kerb, his foot on the ground. Without warning he started pedaling away. I had left lots of room so no problem. Except he must have been exhausted beause instead of going up the very busy hill, his wheels folded around and he started moving across the road. I had to swerve as did the motorist behind me. I don’t think he had a clue that we had probably saved his life.

    Large groups of cyclists do hold up traffic on long stretches of more rural roads. A tractor-driver doing the same thing if there is a place for him to allow a growing queue of cars to pass can be prosecuted for lack of consideration for other road users, yet the tractor driver is working, unlike the majority of the large groups of cyclists.

    Slowing down to trail behind cyclists may mean being in lower gear. More emissions, using more fuel, and if you are in business you are immediately losing money.

    As a pedestrian in London I have had to take evasive action on a zebra crossing as a cyclist also used the crossing to cross the road, in the opposite direction to me, on his bike. I have nearly collided with a bicycle when I got of a bus at a bus stop as the cyclist clearly thought he could just cycle along on the inside. Too many cyclists do not think red traffic lights apply to them in London.

    On a footpath combined with cycle path my husband has been intimidated by cyclists coming up behind him. He is hard of hearing and has no idea they are there (what happened to bells?) The pedestrians in any event have right of way in such a situation.

    Yes, I have come across many cyclists who are polite and considerate. I do not know if it is a small majority or a large minority who behave like 3-year-olds in that they expect to go out and do as they wish, and anyone in a car will have to look out for them.

    I am aware of the publicity concerning the cycle races in Surrey, and one point of view supporting the cyclists is that no one complains about the London to Brighton Car Rally. Identifying a lycra-clad cyclist who is misbehaving is not easy, especially if they are in a large group. Even I, with my inability to identify modern cars, would have no problem whatever in identifying a badly-behaved driver of a veteran car. And I think herein lies the problem. No one holds cyclists responsible for anything. How does anyone identify the cyclist who shot through the red traffic light?

    It may be that with the growing number of cyclists, insurance should be compulsory. In response to Samuel Gee, I think this issue alone is what irks drivers and pedestrians the most. Certainly whilst I realise there are some very nice cyclists out there, my experiences in London as a pedestrian mean I have little time for them at all.

  • Samuel Gee

    I live and work in Surrey and cycle to and from work daily. I am also a motorist, and a pedestrian. In the past I have also been a motorcyclist. Most of the aggro that I see starts with motorists being impatient. That leads to frustration and sometimes to dangerous driving. It would be laughable if they weren’t trying to overtake me or another cyclist doing maybe 18mph in a 30 or 40mph zone so they could then break the speed limit to catch up with the next line of stationary traffic a hundred yards up the road and stop.

    A lot of motorists should really take a chill pill. I used to be a rep and have driven on business all over the continent. Back in the 80s and 90s the Germans had a roadside sign of two motorists the first red faced white knuckles gripping the wheel, sweat dripping from their brow. Alongside was the same motorist looking relaxed and calm. The caption underneath read “reisen nicht razen” or “travel don’t race”.

    As an aside I usually respond to colleagues who claim cyclist “hold up traffic” when pushed on the facts as to how long they felt they were held up and whether they they ever caught up with the traffic and they all eventually admit that it was seconds not minutes. That yes, they did catch up with the car in front and yes they then spent tens of minutes crawling along in a line of traffic and not getting the least bit annoyed with the car drivers that were holding them up.

    I am an advanced driver a cyclist of over 40 years, Most adult cyclists are also car drivers. I can say without a doubt and quite sure of my ground that the motorists who have a problem with cyclists are the motorists who have a poor attitude to driving and all other road users cyclists, pedestrians, caravans, milk floats, horses, lorries, and yes other car drivers as well, indeed anything or anyone that gets in their way. Some of them are like that because they perceive driving as a race, some because their skills or confidence driving are lacking and taking account of slower or vulnerable road users is taxing for them but either way, show me a motorist that has a problem with cyclists and I’ll show you a bad driver.