THE latest leaflet from Southampton City Council “Change Gear for 2014” encourages us to cycle, which I do on a daily basis, so I would like to offer some observations about cycling in Southampton.
The cyclists ride on the road, they have the same rights as other vehicles. If, however, they ride, as recommended, on a cycle path, they have to stop at all side roads like pedestrians unless it is safe to cross.
The short cycle lanes on the road as one approaches a junction are inaccessible because the queuing vehicles wait so close to the kerb that the cyclist has to dismount, lift the bike up on to the pavement and then replace it on the road when he/she reaches the cycle lane.
Very often the larger priority space for cyclists which spans the road at traffic lights is already occupied by other vehicles (taxis and buses are regular offenders).
If Southampton wishes to encourage more of us to take to our bikes it could do worse than send a representative to Denmark or Holland to see how they regulate cycle lanes there.
At the end of 2013 I had noted down some of the hazards I had encountered on my regular cycle path journey into the city.
I’ve used the basis of a well known carol, though in most of the cases there were many more than the number listed.
- 12 pedestrians strolling (more)
- 11 cars reversing (more)
- Ten joggers jogging (yes, in one group)
- Nine babes in buggies (pushed by three nursery workers)
- Eight neighbours nattering (more)
- Seven teens a-texting (more)
- Six dogs a-walking (on more long leads with owners)
- Five youths at horseplay (caused an accident)
- Four vans delivering (more)
- Three earphone listeners (can’t hear bike bells)
- Two tree trimmers shredding (only once)
- One huge truck parking (only once)
Cyclists are not all angels, though, and one of the worst culprits on my journey was a young woman zig-zagging on and off the cycle path while trying to converse on her mobile phone.
F G Naylor, Southampton