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Who comes off worst?
8:20am Thursday 26th April 2012 in Letters
Sir — I hope to add a bit of symmetry and reality into the debate which has become very polar. There are good drivers and good cyclists; on the other hand there are stupid drivers and stupid cyclists.
What is not symmetrical is that when I am behind the driving wheel (which I am far, far more often than I am behind the handlebars), I am encased in a ton of steel, aluminium and plastic. If, when I am driving past a cyclist, either of us makes a mistake (through carelessness, lack of experience or just sheer misfortune), I know which of us is going to come off better.
Message to the cyclist I’ve just seen riding. I’m glad to see that you are a sensible person and have a cycling helmet. However, it would be more impressive if you wore it! Riding along with it hanging from your handlebars will not protect you if that driver going a bit too fast, or a bit distracted, or just inexperienced doesn’t see you in time.
Similarly, seen so often, riding a cycle with both hands off the handlebars is about as sensible as driving when using a mobile phone. You just don’t have enough time to react quickly to a driver, careless for an instant, who didn’t spot you and pulls out too quickly from a side road — especially if you’re listening to music through earphones at the same time so can’t even hear what’s happening. Back to symmetry — who comes off best?
Richard Shock, Oxford