ALTHOUGH now amid the autumn of my years, I continue my lifetime’s practice of cycling, for pleasure and for practical purposes.

It all seemed a harmless enough or (I dared to think) even beneficial activity.

Now however the frequent and passionate letters in Have Your Say have opened my eyes to see that in fact I am chiefly to be blamed for pedestrian fatalities (mown down by cyclists), increased pollution (caused by cycle lanes restricting traffic flow), delayed emergency response times (ditto) and pot holes (caused by money diverted to cycle lanes.)

Unsurprising then that so many of your correspondents evidently see cycling and cyclists as the bane of their lives and a terror to be confronted.

But then I pause to reflect: each mile I cycle is one less mile along which my old car is adding to the queues and to the diesel fumes, and one mile more of exercise that, by promoting fitness, will help reduce my cost to the NHS; more people are cycling than before and it is proven that where more facilities are provided their numbers increase, but not at an even rate: the more those cycle lanes are joined up, the more they will be used (just look at London, or most other European cities); and while I deplore bad cyclists riding on the pavements or too fast along the prom I note that the vast majority of injuries and fatalities involve vehicles, not pedal bikes.

So, before I throw my bike on the tip and join the traffic jam in my car I suggest a compromise: I will continue to cycle, carefully and considerately as ever, and when I drive I will slow down and be patient. I hope others will join me and meanwhile I wish all your readers safe and calm journeys.


The Vicarage, St Aldhelms Road, Poole