Comment

The moral superiority of cyclists has to stop

Whatever your preferred method of transport, surely common sense should prevail when it comes to us all getting to our destination in safety

Chris Hoy and Boudicca Fox-Leonard cycling on narrow road in Cheshire
Is riding two abreast on narrow roads really the best way to proceed? Credit: Andrew Crowley

What is it about the continued antipathy between car drivers and cyclists? A proposed update to Rule 66 of The Highway Code suggests that, on narrow roads, people cycling two abreast is by far the safest way to proceed.

That's all well and good, and I'm all for road safety whatever your preferred method of transport, but surely this proposal is likely to cause ire among car drivers who perceive that they are being baulked unnecessarily by apparently "road hogging" cyclists.

I'm coming at this from the viewpoint of keen cyclist and car driver, so naturally there are merits on both sides of the argument.

Do I want to avoid being killed while out for a leisurely cycle ride? You bet. The risks are relatively high as it is. But, if I'm in a car, do I want to be held up by a couple of Lycra-clad idiots impeding progress for apparently no reason? Surely that's just selfish.

Cyclists don't appear to help themselves by wearing predominantly black clothing Credit: Kati Jagger

This issue is particularly pertinent at this time of year when things get a bit gloomy – and why is there this seemingly unwritten rule that the majority of cycling apparel is unremittingly black?

Whatever happened to the "see and be seen" maxim that's one of the cornerstones of road safety?

Surely it's the responsibility of cyclists to ensure that other road users are aware of their presence. Horse riders appear to take this to heart when using public roads, so why not those who prefer pedal power?

Of course, riding two abreast gives a brace of cyclists greater visibility. The proposals suggest that riding alongside instead of single file is the safest way to proceed unless it's considered safer to revert to line astern to allow drivers to overtake.

Cyclists in urban area often benefit from bespoke cycle lanes, but narrow country roads present a whole new set of problems for riders and car drivers Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

However, that argument fails to take into account the moral superiority of many cyclists, who seem to view anyone in a car as violating their inalienable right to proceed in any manner that they see fit, with apparently little regard for other road users.

Cyclists will always argue, and rightly so, that they are more vulnerable than a person seated in a motorised tin box, but my main concern is that such regulations will serve to further widen the divide between cyclists and drivers when we should all attempt to understand that we have an equal right to use the Queen's highway.

Unlike with the economic situation, as road users we really are all in this together so the sooner common sense and a bit (no, make that a lot) of consideration for others is applied, we're risking even greater divisions – along with the increased risk of serious injury or even death.

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