I KNOW that many politicians live in a parallel universe to the real world, but the comments of my local MP (Royston Smith), following the tragic fatal accident in Woolston on December, 18 really “takes the biscuit”!

His reported comment that “cyclists should consider when and where they cycle, in order to improve road safety and because the risk factor is greater on busy roads, compared to country lanes” is something of an insult to those who prefer not to use motorised transport. Does he seriously believe that people would, or should, double or treble the distance between two points, using the network of back streets just to avoid a busy road?

In any case, there are probably as many hazards involved in doing so, drivers reversing out of their property or emerging at junctions where they do not have priority, pedestrians stepping out between parked vehicles without looking properly, for example.

Whilst I completely agree that anybody riding a bicycle should always take the correct precautions to maximise their own safety (ie, wearing a helmet and high visibility clothing, ensuring that their cycle has working lights and ensuring they obey all applicable traffic laws), it is not the fault of the cyclist that roads are becoming increasingly dangerous.

The bicycle was invented long before the motor car and lorry and thus has as much right to be on the public highway as anything else, it is the duty all road users to ensure the safety of one another, so that similar tragedies can be avoided as far as possible.

I would also remind Mr Smith that it was his party who, in the early 1960s and under the reign of the then Transport Minister (road building company partner, Earnest Marples), the much-loathed “axeman” Richard Beeching was brought in to destroy the railways, clearly with a view to making the majority of people dependent on motorised personal transport.

It is also the case that his cronies within the current government are seeking to promote the introduction of HGVs that are larger than the current 44 tonne limit and also the nonsensical concept of “platooning” convoys of trucks on motorways under automatic control.

So if he is really serious about improving road safety, I would hope that he’d start by opposing these plans, take up the matter of why we seem to be getting an increasing number of articulated lorries coming into Woolston (it’s hardly a centre of heavy industry!) and finally spearhead a campaign to get even more freight on what remains of our rail network.

Finally, I haven’t ridden a bicycle since 1982, so am not a member of, or affiliated to, any cycling organisation.

Ralph Frost