After work today I got my bicycle out to do a short ride around the block because I haven’t been out since Friday coz of the rubbish weather.
I have to say the cycle paths where I live are terrible. There are lots of them – along most main roads the pavement is wide and split into two for pedestrians and for cyclists. Great in theory, except the quality of the pavement is terrible, there are obstructions like trees and telegraph poles all over the place, and in many cases there are cars parked as if the cycle path is actually a car park.
Tonight I made the decision to not use the cycle path along one part of my route because not only was the surface even more uneven than in other places (thanks E-on) but also because it was covered in lose chippings (some of you know what happened to me when I skidded on lose chippings before – I’ve still got the scar!). There were also two cars parked along the pavement I would have needed to navigate. The road is wide anyway, and not very busy, and I am not a wobbly or slow cyclist.
Unfortunately one car driver took complete offence to the fact that I was on the road (where I am, of course, perfectly entitled to cycle). When he was behind me he was beeping his horn and reving his engine (he was right behind my back tyre – far too close). Then when he overtook he had his window down and shouted abuse at me. I didn’t get in his way – I’m not even sure why he stayed behind me so long as there was nothing stopping him from overtaking. It has been suggested I should have stopped in the middle of the road, put my bike down and asked him what it was he wanted! It wouldn’t have done any good, but I might have felt better!
My point? Cyclists should not have to suffer abuse from car drivers for using the road, especially when they are using the road because of the poor state of repair of the cycle paths. Come on whoever you are! Sort out our roads, our pavements and our cycle paths so I don’t have to take the rap for your shoddy work!
My pic for today is of the bit of the cycle path I did use (taken with my iPhone)… although it was tough navigating this particular part – it was like a slalom course around the trees. It’s all very well providing miles and miles of cycle paths, but when they are like this they are just about impossible to actually use safely.
12/05/10: The stupid state of cycle paths on my route around the block… at least the cars in this photo weren’t parked on the pavement like further up the road.
(I’ll do the photo of one camera with another tomorrow!)