Letters: In fear of cyclists on the pavement

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Government's plan to make cycling more popular is a good one (report, 11 July) but I hope it will not encourage the alarming habit of pavement cycling.

Cycling on the pavement is sensible for children. With the arrival of the mountain bike we have had to become used to belligerent, baseball- hatted teenagers belting past as we press ourselves to the wall or jump into the gutter. Recently a new and more threatening group have taken their bikes "off road". I now see middle-aged, middle-class people pedalling triumphantly amongst the pedestrians. They wear all sorts of safety gear. Luminous yellow bands so that elderly ladies won't trample them down and multi-coloured crash hats to protect their heads should a small child end up under their wheels.

I have talked with several pavement cyclists. I point to the problems that might occur when a six-foot, thirteen-stone man riding at 25 miles an hour approaches an elderly person who might suddenly stop or change direction, but the only response is, "But I cycle carefully when I'm on the pavement."

All we pedestrians can do is to wear protective clothing and lights fore and aft, and make sure that, if we want to look in a shop window, we give a clear hand signal before we move across the pavement. Alternatively a stick shoved in the front spokes of a pavement cyclist could do a lot for the pedestrian side. Whatever we do, it had better be done quickly. I stepped out of my front door on to the pavement recently and narrowly avoided being knocked down by a young woman riding a 250cc motorcycle.


Farnham, Surrey