I would like to take the opportunity to thank the overwhelming majority of motorists who are courteous, kind, and helpful to the thousands of cyclists on our roads in West Sussex.
There is however, a worrying minority of drivers who seem to have an illogical and pathological hatred of cyclists. Almost every time I ride my bike, I am shouted at, sworn at, gesticulated at, passed too close, and hooted at, for no other reason than that I dare to cycle on what I suspect they believe to be their road.
They seem to have a notion that because they occasionally have to wait a few seconds to pass me safely, that it will mean that they will arrive later at their destination.
This is of course untrue, as they are inevitably held up by the traffic (other motorists ironically) further down the road.
I am aware that some cyclists misbehave – crossing red traffic lights, going the wrong way on one-way roads, and so on. This too, is unacceptable.
By cycling, we are making ourselves healthier, and reducing the chances of needing to use precious NHS resources. We are reducing our carbon footprint. Cycling is good for everyone.
The roads are not in good condition, and potholes often cause us to have to risk sudden changes of direction (or a broken bike or body!). Our county council have done nothing like the amount of work to help cyclists as their counterparts in Brighton. Safe driving helps us cyclists enormously.
Motorists and cyclists can share the roads safely with no detriment to each other. It simply requires people to be considerate and to ask themselves if it really matters that they might have to wait a few seconds to pass a cyclist safely.
Dr Tim Kimber
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