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Cycling is safe, it's drivers who make it dangerous

I'm not sure if it was the female driver in the red Clio, burning out her clutch trying to overtake on a corner, or the more polite lady in the black Skoda driving six inches from my back wheel.

Or it might have been the rude lorry driver, who shouted angrily "Can yous not go faster?" before roaring off, or the farmer, on his mobile phone, who squeezed past in his huge green tractor. I'm not sure that he even saw me.

These four incidents happened to a friend and me yesterday when out cycling for three hours.

Like most regular cyclists, we try to cycle safely and without obstructing traffic. There are times, however, when we need to move out towards the middle of the road to avoid potholes, soft verges, or open drain covers.

We need time to accelerate at traffic lights and it is not safe to ride too close to the kerb in case a left-turning vehicle tries to cut in front of you.

Please, motorists: give us space. If you drive too close, it could cause a cyclist to wobble and fall. If you honk your horn loudly, or shout obscenities, it could startle and unseat me, but will it get you to your destination any quicker?

Drivers are required to give cyclists a car's width when overtaking and, of course, should not attempt to overtake when there is oncoming traffic. It is plainly careless to overtake any road user with inches to spare.

Cycling is an inherently safe activity when the cyclist observes the rules of the road. It is the other road users, with tons of steel and airbags to protect them, who seem determined to make cycling unsafe.

CYCLIST

Co Armagh

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