Letter: Those lawless cyclists: the facts

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The Independent Online
Sir: Prompted by Edwin Kilby's letter (15 May) I set out to do as he suggested and observe for a few minutes two road junctions I use regularly as a pedestrian and as a motorist. My findings may not make comfortable reading for the cycling community.

When I read the letter I was at the junction of Portobello Road and Blenheim Crescent in London, so I set to my task immediately, watching both cars and bicycles for 30 minutes.

Of 43 bicycles passing through this junction, 26 were travelling the wrong way on a one-way street and one contrived to ride on the pavement - a spectacularly inconsiderate feat in view of the crowded pedestrian way.

During the same time, 56 cars passed through the junction with only one (a police car) failing to slow down adequately. Results: 63 per cent of bicycles and less than 2 per cent of cars were behaving badly.

Moving to the much less cycle-friendly Five-Ways junction at Chepstow Road and Westbourne Grove, I was unable to count the cars, but during my 40 minutes of observation none committed an actual offence, though one performed a stunningly stupid manoeuvre.

As for the cyclists - of 39 passing through the junction, 22 did so correctly. Ten passed through red lights, six used the pavement, and one managed to travel through a red light and across two pedestrian ways, all against the flow of traffic. A slightly better 56 per cent correct but still appalling.

One disturbing conclusion that might be drawn from these admittedly unscientific findings is that the more cycle-friendly a street is, the more that cyclists will abuse it.

PD MILLER

London W2

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