Matt’s View: Road users must all share the burden of safety

Green Page Nov 4

Green Page Nov 4 - Credit: Archant

THE battle between car drivers and cyclists is often depicted as a clash of two incompatible worlds.

Good vs Evil or David vs Goliath; whatever your analogy of choice, it is always assumed you’re on one or another of the great divide.

Being a some-time car driver and some-time cyclist, I have sympathies with both camps, so it always interests me when the merits of different groups of road users are discussed.

There’s some debate going on currently where I live, in Cambridge, as to whether the council should reduce the speed limit to 20mph in a whole swathe of the city in the name of safety. Cyclists say this will protect them from speeding drivers, motorists say it will take them longer to get to work. I’m paraphrasing there, but you get the gist.

For me speed limits and all the other commonly used safety measures are a bit pointless unless something is done about educating road users.

This applies to those on four wheels and on two, because both groups are guilty of often taking to the streets with no consideration for the other.

Car drivers go too fast, speed up through amber lights, don’t bother indicating, and can often be spotted on their phones or iPods when driving.

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Many cyclists, meanwhile, ignore traffic signals completely, hop up and down the pavements at will and often don’t bother with lights or bright clothing on dark evenings, making them near impossible to spot. I should know, I’ve been guilty of most of the above offences.

Until people stop behaving like idiots, safety measures will, in my opinion, only have limited effectiveness.

Meetings are currently ongoing to try and improve provision for cyclists in Royston and the surrounding area. I hope the group, the A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign, is successful, and that if better infrastructure is put in place, it will be used sensibly. In return, more drivers need to be encouraged to be aware of what’s around them.