James Daley: Cyclotherapy

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The Independent Online

A new menace is haunting the cycle paths of Britain, running cyclists off the road, obstructing others, even causing collisions. These cyclo-terrorists ride clumsy three-wheeled vehicles that they're barely in control of, and which take up more than their fair share of space on any segregated cycle path.

Worse, with a heavy load attached to the back of these tricycles, they're often moving faster than they safely should – especially downhill. If one is hurtling at you, you'd be foolish to try a game of chicken.

If these juggernauts were delivering blood, or carrying paramedics rushing to save lives, I might have been able to deal more charitably with the times I've been muscled off the cycle path. But, given that my near misses have occurred so that some office worker doesn't have to move from his desk at lunchtime, I find it hard to keep my composure.

Yes; these are Britain's sandwich couriers, putting their own and other cyclists' lives in danger every morning so that lazy deskbound workers can get their lunch without getting out of their chairs. Surely it's only a matter of time before they install toilets in their office chairs as well.

Although these cycling lunatics might technically get away with passing off their vehicles as bicycles, there is no way they should be allowed to share urban cycle routes with other bikers. Even the minority who are in control of their trikes still struggle to keep their wheels out of the oncoming cycle lanes – and if they can't fit in their allocated space, they should be forced to ride on the main road, like every vehicle of that size.

OK, it's rather petty to get so wound up by this crew, but the more I think about it, the more I develop a principled aversion to the whole philosophy of door-to-door sandwich delivery. It's bad enough that people are strapped to their desks for eight, 10 or 15 hours a day in Britain's cities, but at least most of them are forced to get away for a five-minute stroll to the sandwich shop for an egg mayonnaise baguette at lunchtime. Kitchen-to-desk delivery can only increase the number of coronaries.

The sandwich couriers are a close relation of another three-wheeled menace: pedicabs, which now infest Soho and Covent Garden in London. These, too, have a heavy, wide load and rarely pay any attention to traffic, pulling out into the middle of the road or swinging into a U-turn with no warning. Pedicabs have been known to squeeze cyclists off cycle paths in the same way as the sandwich mob.

Given the growth in the number of three-wheelers on Britain's streets, it must be time to ban them from cycle paths. Three wheels might be better than four, but they're still a menace towards us two-wheelers.

Read the Cyclotherapy blog at independent.co.uk/cyclotherapy

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