Bath is a World Heritage city with a major traffic problem. Anything that can be done to encourage people to jump on a bicycle instead of using a car has got to be good news for reduced levels of pollution and excessive and on-going wear and tear around these historic streets.
However – when it comes to sharing the highway – things do not always run smoothly between the person behind a steering wheel and the cyclist above the handlebars.
There is also friction on pavements where pedestrians have to share their walk ways with cycle paths.
It is fair to say that some users of both kinds of transport are not doing so in a way that is safe for themselves or others. We are hearing about too many fatal accidents on our roads.
Yesterday l came across my first ‘ghost bike’ – the machine painted white and currently on display in Bath in memory of those recently killed on roads in the area. This poignant roadside memorial originated in America ten years ago and has been used in this city before.
We should all stop and think about the safety issues involved but this eco-friendly alternative to street congestion and fumes should not end up being considered too dangerous to use on our grid-locked streets. It is still one of the best answers to our inner-city traffic problems and our nation’s lack of fitness.
There must be increased safety on both sides and real, meaningful highway provision for the bicycle too. Other European countries build it into their street maps – so why can’t we?
To be truly accepted cyclists have to be more accountable and subject to some very necessary safety rules and regulations. For me that means legal requirements regarding safety helmets, reflective clothing, decent lighting and bells!
What do others think?