>Keen cyclist, Jack Franklin, opposes Laura Dale’s article and argues that cyclists are fit for the roads…
How many drivers can say that they have honestly never speeded? Never forgotten to indicate? Never pulled out without looking? To me, trying to place blame or decide whom is the worse road user – the driver or the cyclist – is a pointless venture.
The Times’ campaign is not setting out to demonise drivers. It is attempting to educate them, to change an ingrained attitude of motorists that cyclists are just an obstacle impeding their journey.
One of the main reasons for accidents involving motorists and cyclists is visibility – the cyclist simply not being seen. So why are cyclists so invisible to drivers? The primary reason (during the day at least) is poor positioning on the road. Most cyclists especially those who are inexperienced or timid, ride in what cycling safety experts refer to as ‘the secondary position’, this being about half a metre from the curb. In this position you are easily missed by drivers looking in their mirrors and at risk from parked cars pulling out, opening their doors or from a car pulling into your lane from adjacent roads. Most experts advocate the use of what they call the ‘primary position’, which is in the centre of the outermost lane, this is also referred to as riding defensively. In this position you are far more visible and have more room and therefore time to react if any of the previously mentioned risks occurs. However, it does mean that traffic behind you will be unable to pass on single lane roads or in busy traffic and so when it is safe, you should pull into the ‘secondary position’ to allow those behind to overtake safely. This momentary delay to their journey will attract anger from motorists who would value their thirty seconds of time higher than your safety. My advise, have the confidence to ride safely and hope that campaigns such as The Times’ lead to drivers being a bit more understanding.