I am prompted to follow Alastair Maxwell-Irving’s letter (29 May) with my own observations on cyclists. In the early 1950s (yes, I am that old) I regularly cycled from Bruntsfield Avenue to the old Royal High School and even after moving to Oxgangs in the mid-1950s I occasionally cycled to Edinburgh College of Art.
As a result I negotiated tram lines and granite setts all the way to school and subsequently most of the way to the School of Architecture and yet I somehow managed never to find them a particular problem as I tried to avoid placing my “racer” with its thin wheels into the tram rails.
If I somehow ever did steer into the tracks I do not remember sustaining any injuries and if I had I would have assumed that it was at least partly my fault for not taking sufficient care.
Modern cyclists are a quite different breed with their high-tech bikes, high-visibility lycra wear and the oddly shaped headgear which apparently offers them some protection.
I also find that there is now a belief that they have special rights on the roads and pavements which are denied to drivers and pedestrians.
As I only now drive about 5,000 miles a year, normally at off-peak times, my experience of cyclists is not comprehensive although I have seen a few examples of what I consider to be dangerous practices by some of this vociferous group. As a pedestrian I can say some of them have a rather selfish attitude on shared footpaths declining to signal their arrival, particularly when approaching from behind.
As a 78-year-old I find jumping out of the way at the last minute rather exhausting. It seems some kind of special control of this group of road users is required, starting with a paid licence system with annual third-party insurance as currently affects other road users.