Pedestrians vs Cyclists is a different level of conflict to Cyclists vs Cars

The Ely Standard ran a big front page splash this week about “anti-social cyclists”. This is the first of a series of posts we’re going to write addressing some of the more complex issues surrounding that simplistic phrase.

First of all it needs some perspective. What the Ely Standard were covering was cyclist riding on the pavement. In the same edition the “Views from Fens” column said ‘Pedestrians shouldn’t be expected to dodge cyclists’. When looked at in isolation this looks obvious but taken in a wider context it gets more complicated.

What’s happening here is cyclists are making a choice. Ride on the pavement in conflict with pedestrians or ride on the road in conflict with the cars. If you are not a confident cyclist the decision is pretty simple. After all it’s “annoy a few pedestrians” compared to “get knocked off and injured or worse by a car”. It’s a no-brainer.

From a holistic (non-cycling specific) point of view the decision is still pretty easy. The rate of actual accidents and injuries caused by cyclists hitting pedestrians is zero. There have been none reported as far as we are aware in the last 5 years. Compare that with accidents involving cars hitting cyclists and at the worst junction in Ely there have been 7 in the last 5 years. In fact there was one the day after the Ely Standard was published.

So although as a campaign we don’t condone “anti-social cycling” we think it shouldn’t use the tern to tar those who are conscientiously using the pavement in an attempt to avoid the cars on the road.

We feel this situation can only be truly resolved when Ely gets the kind of dedicated cycle provision we’re campaigning for.

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