Cyclist and pedestrian interactions

A recurring feature of being on a cycling campaign group is being asked to take responsibility for the behaviour of everyone and anyone who is riding a bike. And quite often people have pretty negative experiences, particularly criticising cyclists for putting pedestrians at risk with various acts: riding on the pavement, riding too fast on the luneside paths etc…

Now obviously Dynamo doesn’t condone such behaviours (see our code of conduct) but is the problem really a simple one of irresponsible cyclists? One of the best pieces of this from a pedestrian point of view was Katharine Whitehorn’s article in the Guardian magazine a couple of months ago. At first glance it’s a rant against cyclists:

I’m always having to leap out of the way of a grown cyclist who simply prefers the pavement to the road, and I had a friend who was actually knocked over by one who didn’t even stop. I’ve given up jeering: “Doesn’t Mummy let you ride in the road?” because the cyclist’s always going too fast to hear it.

But Katharine also makes a pretty clear point – she asks why people are even riding bikes on the pavement at all and as she says she’s not actually keen to see cyclists knocked over and crushed by wicked lorries and cars.

Whilst it might be exagerrated in London, the same things apply in Lancaster and Morecambe. Cycle commuters along the A6 are directed along the canal bank to the university, brought into conflict with leisure walkers and leisure cyclists who quite rightly want to meander along the pleasant space. If cyclists could safely use the road network they wouldn’t feel the need to ride on pavements or charge along leisure spaces bringing them into conflict with pedestrians.

To leave the last word to Katharine Whitehorn:

So the sooner they get cycling lanes to keep us apart, and all the special arrangements at traffic lights that will keep them safely on the road, the better. So as you see, I am actually on their side. I just wish they’d get off mine.

Link to the Guardian Magazine article


About lancasterdynamo

Dynamo is a cycling group, established in 1994, to work with official bodies, other cycling organisations and interested individuals to promote cycling as a safe, enjoyable and healthy means of transport.
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