Cyclists should not ignore safe road crossings to save time

Whispering Smith: Local cyclists riding through Fittleworth long before cycle paths and helmets were around...
Whispering Smith: Local cyclists riding through Fittleworth long before cycle paths and helmets were around...

Andy of Spokes Cycles’ charity ride the Sunday before last was a bit of an eye opener for me.

While I am a known sympathiser of cyclists and think they often, and at times deservedly so, end up as the bad guys, most are sensible, fit and healthy folk just looking to enjoy their own thing.

Some are not blameless but that, of course, goes for the motorist and pedestrian alike. The former do not own the roads and should make a serious note of how any two-wheeled vehicle is vulnerable and should be given due consideration.

The latter complain about reckless pedal-pushers on our High Street but do little to make their feelings known to the council who then continue to ignore the problem. Although I echo their call for the ban on cycling in the shopping precinct to be enforced, they need to step up and make themselves heard.

Having said all of that I was surprised at my marshalling point to note how many cyclists ignored safe road crossings in order to save maybe forty yards worth of time.

At my point, the junction of Wish Field Drive and a very busy fast-moving roundabout, the clearly marked cycle path points the way to a safe crossing, I would say only a quarter of the cyclists using the lane in both directions, including many of Andy’s group, chose to nip across the pedestrian crossing closer to the roundabout and thus making the rider more vulnerable, a couple of whom should have known better – no names, no pack drill.

Oh well, you can lead a cyclist to safety but you can’t make him think!

Apart from that observation and in the sure and certain knowledge I will not be asked to marshal again, it was a fun and successful sunny morning raising more than £300 toward supporting the need for put-you-up beds at the Chiltington acute recovery ward at Worthing Hospital, a very worthwhile cause. Well done all.

|Also in the news - a woman was attacked and robbed on the beach at East Preston; firefighters responded to a car colliding with a car wash in Rustington; and thrill seekers raised more than £13,000 by abseiling down the 180ft Bake House Tower at Arundel Castle|

SEVERAL regular followers of this column are from overseas, ex-Littlehampton folk, many with memories of our town and lovely river. From France, the USA and faraway Australia and nice to know many from a lot closer to home, Wales, Scotland and, of course, the west country, following my recent grumble about the West Sussex County Council ‘recycling centre’.

I received this letter from a reader in deepest Devon: “I recently moved from Littlehampton down to Devon, on visiting my local recycling centre I was pleasantly surprised to find a sales area. They actually recycle various items at the point of recycling. Items vary from furniture to toys and tools, each item is sold by weight. The motto here is, ‘Don’t let Devon go to waste.’ A fitting slogan.”

Thank you very much, sir, it seems we could learn a lot from Devon including cream or jam first on your scone?

THE save the Selborne oak tree fund received five very generous pledges of support this week from local residents following last week’s column. Still a long way to go and I am hoping that those of you who registered such clear and thoughtful objections to her felling, will be in touch shortly. I am hoping the work can begin sooner rather than later before the winter season settles in around us.

• If you would like to get in touch with Whispering Smith, please email: whisperingsmith1@gmail.com

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