Updated: May 23, 2022
Cycling home in Milton Keynes along the road on a Sunday afternoon - I am dangerously close passed by a one tonne metal weapon (car). Male car driver proceeds to open his window and yell out at me “plenty of red ways for you lot!”. So if you are that car driver, or you've ever been tempted to do the same, please read on…..
1. First off #BeKind. It’s Sunday afternoon, why do you feel the need to be rude to a fellow human being? what possible purpose could it serve ? why can’t we simply respect each other?
2. As a cyclist, I have as much right to be on the road as a car. I know you're going to say “but you don't pay road tax”, well neither do you. Road tax was actually abolished in the 1930s, cars pay VED (vehicle emissions tax) which is actually taxed on the level of pollution the vehicle emits, I don't pay any because I don't emit any pollution, oh and my bike doesn’t actually do any damage to the road either. I do however pay quite a considerable amount of income tax and council tax. I pay taxes the same as everyone else, and these are what are used to fund the roads - having said that I still always cycle with respect and consideration towards my fellow road users.
3. Tax aside, the Highway Code makes it clear that cyclists are entitled to use the road network – it does not belong to cars, it’s a shared resource.
4. I was actually cycling over to the left so cars could safely pass, I moved into the right lane so I could make a right hand turn. So actually I didn't slow the car down at all, in fact I was cycling at around 20 mph at the time (although my speed is irrelevant) the point is even if I did slow him down by less than a minute – see above #BeKind. Anyway, as soon as I was around the roundabout I was out of his way again - take a chill pill bro!
5. Have you ever cycled the redways in Milton Keynes? the redways are not cycle paths they're shared paths with other path users. Plus they are quite often littered with glass and other debris, and glass is a cyclist’s number one enemy because it causes punctures. Also, on a sunny Sunday afternoon you have many other path users - pedestrians, children, scooters, dog walkers. I can honestly say that it would be safer for path users for me to be cycling on the road rather than redway. The Highway Code also makes it clear there is no obligation to me to cycle on a redway or a cycle path.
6. Finally, you broke the law. Whatever you think are the rights and wrongs of where I should be cycling, the Highway Code says you need to give me at at least 1.5 metres to pass. To edge up alongside me within a few inches to give me your opinion, was not only selfish and scary, it was dangerous and unlawful.
Don't get me wrong - I KNOW that most car drivers are considerate and respectful to cyclists. On any given road ride, 99% of drivers pass with care. Thank you to all of you who do. But next time you are safe in your one tonne of metal and you see a cyclist (female or male) and feel the need to wind down your window and speak rudely to them, perhaps take a second thought and think about why you feel the need to do so. It's a form of intimidation and bullying and guess what - I will not be bullied. #BeKind