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An Open Letter to the Cyclists of St Andrews

My way or the highway.

I know you often get frustrated by those of us who drive our cars around the Bubble, but before you get too comfortable on that high horse, a couple of points: 

First things first, let’s talk about your own personal safety. Drivers are constantly berated for failing to notice your existence, for almost careening into you at junctions and roundabouts and for ignoring you at traffic lights. Hands up, I should use my mirrors more to check for cyclists. But why do you expect us to go above and beyond to protect you when you won’t even protect yourselves? I rarely see anyone around here wearing a helmet.

And don’t get me started on lights and reflective clothing when it’s dark. If I can’t see you, it’s kind of hard for me to avoid hitting you. And please keep in mind that if I have to slam on my brakes because you’re not making yourself visible, while you might then be safe, I might end up causing another accident with other people involved. Just a little something for you to think about…

Second point. St Andrews is a busy town. Nearly every road (not that there are that many) can get backlogged with cars, buses, lorries, taxis, Chariots of Hire… etc. So why do you insist on cycling two abreast? This might just be the most irritating thing you do. Mainly because when you cycle like this, you’re also having a good natter, so not only are you not really paying attention to what’s going on around you but you’re also cycling very slowly. As a result, the traffic builds, the roads get busier, and accidents are more likely to occur. If you also have a little more respect for others on the road, they might have a bit more respect for you. 

Also, can you please learn to signal?! Before I get accused of any discrimination, please note that I get as annoyed about cars that fail to do this as I do about cyclists. This is purely a safety thing. If you don’t want us nearly careening into you at roundabouts and junctions, then just hold your arm out to tell us where you’re going. Actually, while you’re at it, why not make sure you actually stop and look at junctions as well? Just because you’re a lot smaller than a car, does not mean that you can make any left-hand turn without consequence. If I have to swerve to avoid you, I might hit someone else.

Finally I want to talk about cyclists from a pedestrian’s point of view. You are all aware that the majority of the highway code laws also apply to you, right? Because that means if you see someone waiting at, or even in the middle of crossing, a zebra / pelican / other exotic animal crossing you also have to wait. Just like a car. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been nearly run over by rogue cyclists powering through crossings, believing that they own the road. Don’t do it, please.

You can be just as obnoxious as we can.

Yours sincerely,

Imogen Clarke

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