Is it really that dangerous to cycle on the roads?It's a question that strikes me every time I get out on the bike. I don't think I am taking unnecessary risks going out for a ride, yet the Times noted that 72 cyclists have died on the roads this year, so far. My view is that cycling is not inherently dangerous, yet with such stark stats, it's perhaps time to have a think what impact each of us can make to our own safety and for the safety of all cyclists.
I am not one to be particularly critical of the odd "traffic violation" by cyclists, they are mainly a defence mechanism, such as starting out early from the lights or hopping on the pavement to avoid a dangerous junction. But it seems to me that the main danger of such infractions is not the action itself, but the impact on opinion and the opinion of other road users.
Like most cyclists, I am a car driver (and motorcyclist - if you want risk!) and because of understanding how vulnerable cyclists can feel, I take care not to endanger people on bikes (or horses for that matter). But there are motorists who are seriously annoyed with and by cyclists. Now that is their problem. They will need to keep a close eye on their blood pressure and often, ones I've met, have serious anger management issues. But it can become our problem too. In a clash of me and 1500kg of car, I am not coming out on top.
So I now try and ride with an eye to other road users. I make eye contact, wave and smile and often wave cars through, if like yesterday, I was first to some temporary lights at road works. It was quite a revelation. I had some fun banter with the first car and friendly waves from others. I got through the road works with little delay. And I genuinely believe that spreading a little happiness (as the song goes) can promote cycling and cyclists as fellow road users and not "a nuisance".
BTW - if anyone goes on about "why do cyclist not have licences etc like car drivers" could I suggest politely pointing out that motorists are in charge of tonnes of metal, capable of high speed and responsible for nearly 3000 deaths a year, tens of thousands of injuries and millions of pounds of damage and pollution. Whereas cyclists are not and a licencing system would be a big literal price to pay just because some motorists get miffed with cyclists!
Recipe of the week - banana flapjack
Not tried this one, but it looks really nice, and what's not to like in a banana chip flapjack!
Got to be better than anything shop bought!