Belfast Telegraph

Cyclists' lack of road manners just drives motorists mad

By Gail Walker

It's hard to argue against the rally outside Belfast City Hall for better conditions for cyclists in Northern Ireland.

It's like arguing against puppies, sunshine and Christmas.

If statistics are to be believed only 0.6% of journeys here are made by bike.

Campaigners want the Executive to accept a binding commitment to ensure that at least 10% of all journeys are made on two wheels by 2020 - to bring us in line to similar "commitments" by the southern and Scottish governments.

Great.

More ecological, better for health.

Except ... except ...

Even at a rough back of the envelope type of a calculation, this is more than 16 times the amount of cycle journeys than we have at the moment.

That's 16 times the number of people feeling they have some kind of moral dibs on the evil motorist, allowing them to weave in and out of the gaps in slow-moving traffic, adding a frisson of fear to an already frustrating journey.

Cycles may be technically just another vehicle on the road, but most motorists suffer a sudden anxiety attack at the sight of one - and not just because it's likely to be ridden by some spindly sixtysomething man, his bony bum shrink-wrapped in Lycra shorts, as he labours under the delusion he's the next Lance Armstrong.

Before all those cyclists start frothing again, I'm no stranger to the joys of a bike ride.

But just because cycling is A Good Thing doesn't give cyclists immunity from bad behaviour.

Great Victoria Street isn't some kind of private playdome where those pushing pension age can prove that they're still young and virile.

Nor should cyclists ride two and three abreast, pretending to be oblivious to the long tailbacks gathering behind them.

And I don't know the legality of that little manoeuvre at red traffic lights, where a cyclist tries to avoid putting his feet on the road by wriggling around on his bike, but it's, well, just hugely irritating.

Sorry to put a spoke in your wheels, but the rules of the road apply to cyclists as well.

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