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Newly inspired cyclists should be careful on Cornwall's roads

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: September 06, 2012

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By Andrew Gordon

LEGACY was a key buzz-word of the recent London 2012 Olympics, as it still is with the current Paralympic Games.

Part of that legacy is to get two million more people to take up sport. In Cornwall, the legacy is already manifesting itself on our roads.

It will not have gone unnoticed that they are now full of people dressed in garish, multi-coloured superhero-style costumes and bizarre helmets, who may possibly be pedalling away daydreaming they are Sir Chris Hoy or Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pendelton. Yes, cyclists are everywhere right now.

Is this a good thing? Cornwall has never lent itself to on-road cycling. There are a lot of steep hills for a start, and a lot of elderly people still drive, which is not good news for cyclists either.

But out they have come since August, like newly emerged butterflies displaying their colourful plumage to the world after our miserable summer.

There is nothing wrong with cycling, providing it is done in the right places, such as the Camel Trail and other designated biking routes.

If they do have to use main roads, then cyclists need to know about the Highway Code, and not least, attempt to ride in a straight line, not to mention using hand signals at junctions and roundabouts.

They also need to know, and they should do, because no doubt many of them drive cars, that motorists get both nervous and irritated when encountering cyclists in front of them.

You may have realised by now that I have become one of those nervous and irritated drivers recently.

I always try to be something of a gentleman to other road users, but when I encounter a cyclist, head down, pedalling for all he or she is worth, swaying from one side of the road to the other, well, you can imagine.

No, I would prefer people who have been inspired by the Olympic athletes to take up safer sports, like beach volleyball.

This is an activity which Cornwall is far more suited to.

Sport is a good thing. But this new breed of cyclists need to know that if they insist on displaying their new-found enthusiasm on Cornish roads, they need to learn some road sense and be considerate of other users.

Residents of Wadebridge have complained long enough about irresponsible people riding through their town on their way to the Camel Trail.

But at least walkers on the trail are allowed time to take evasive action when a bell is sounded behind them.

This is not the case on our roads, and there is likely only to be one loser in a collision between a car and a bicycle.

And that should not be the legacy of the Olympics.

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  • BeeryUSA  |  October 04 2012, 7:08PM

    "Confining cyclists to a few restricted non-vehicular routes would just result in stifling a sport/pastime that is enjoyed by many..." A sport/pastime? Many of us commute to work by bicycle, many of us use a bicycle as our sole mode of personal transport, and many of us have never considered cycling a mere 'sport or pastime'. Part of the reason so many people find it easy to be against cyclists is because they regard cycling as a sport/pastime rather than as a transportation choice. As long as they see a bicycle as a toy and not as a vehicle, they will continue to believe it has no place on the road.

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  • Rangjan  |  September 17 2012, 11:47PM

    I only got here via the excellent "Roads Were Not Built For Cars" blog: http://tinyurl.com/9v6xwrs The thing is that some people might laugh when they read the poppycock that Andrew Gordon wrote, but I got a little sick in my mouth.

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  • Colnago1958  |  September 10 2012, 8:50PM

    Talk about nimbyist, reactionary, biased, ill-informed twaddle! The problem is that the vast majority of the anti-cycling brigade are stuck in a selfish, vehicle-bound mindset that means they are not prepared to share roads with other legal road users. Sir Chris Hoy going around a track or Bradley Wiggins cycling in France or holiday makers on the Camel Trail are fine, but cyclists on a public road delaying a domestic car journey by a few seconds are unacceptable aparently. Please remember that pedestrians, horse users and cyclists were using and developing roads before the combustion engine powered vehicle appeared on the scene. Rather than banning cyclists from public roads because the roads are too steep or because cyclists get in the way, we should applaud a group who are prepared to get off their backsides to try make themselves fitter and consequently less of a burden on the NHS, who are helping to reduce pollution and perhaps also encouraging the next Chris, Bradley, Victoria, Wendy etc. who in turn may be applauded at a future Olympics. Confining cyclists to a few restricted non-vehicular routes would just result in stifling a sport/pastime that is enjoyed by many and undoing the tremendous legacy that has been left for cycling by the London Olympics and the previous two or three occurrences of those games. Give and take and consideration for others when we are driving is what is required that's all, not ignorance and selfishness! Yes, I am a cyclist, but I am a motorist too. I think I am much more considerate of other road users because I'm a cyclist.

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