Saddle sore

In the article “Joy of Spokes” (7 March) it is said that Borders roads are perfect for pedal cyclists and “you hardly see a car all day”.

That will be the car on a single track road carefully approaching a blind corner when a gaggle of cyclists swoop round at speed across the whole carriageway then.

This year in a new development I have encountered two separate groups of cyclists, dismounted and occupying the whole tarmac width; both could see an approaching car from a distance.

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Both groups refused to move at first, and then, using language not suitable to print, finally allowed me to drive on.

Motorists pay through the nose to drive on public roads. It is time for pedal cyclists to make a contribution in road tax. It might teach some respect for all road users.

Sarita Tilford

St Boswells

Borders

The tragic deaths of two Edinburgh cyclists, on 5 January and 5 March, have led to calls for new measures to protect the capital’s cyclists. The issue is not one solely for Edinburgh; in the same period a cyclist died on the Southside of Glasgow.

In Scotland, in the whole of 2010, there were just seven deaths of cyclists – rather surprisingly, only one was recorded in a built-up area – so that events over the past two months should be a matter for concern. Figures for Scotland are, however, small and therefore volatile.

The latest annual figures for Great Britain show that deaths of pedestrians, motorcyclists and car users fell, the last of these by 7 per cent, but deaths of cyclists rose by 4 per cent, the only category of road user to do so.

Overall, the total number of road users killed or seriously injured (KSI) fell by 4 per cent, but the number of KSI cyclists rose by 8 per cent.

As cycling becomes more popular, there seems every reason to believe that increased numbers of cyclists will be killed or injured.

Safety campaigns aimed at cyclists are necessary and valuable. But the greatest risks to cyclists are created not by themselves but by drivers, in particular, by their apparent belief that bicycles are stationary so that, for example, there is a failure to recognise during an overtaking manoeuvre that the cyclist is still moving forward, sometimes quite quickly.

Any initiative to reduce death and injury of cyclists must give much more attention to educating motorists. Many appear to lack an appreciation of how vulnerable a moving cyclist is.

Alan R Irons

Woodrow Road

Glasgow