Clive Wilson’s letter saying that cycles should keep off the footpath points the painful tension that cyclists in this country have to suffer as neither on the road nor off the road can they really feel at home. The heart of the problem is that unlike Holland or Belgium we did not build cycle paths, and only now are we trying to put this right. However, the massive amount that is necessarily spent on roads, will never unfortunately be spent on one of the most civilised ways of travel.
Cyclists on busy roads feel uncomfortable and are in danger, witness the many cyclists injured and killed on the road. The result is that inevitably there must be some sharing on pavements and paths. Even on the Cuckoo Trail which is a cyclists’ heaven, cyclists require to give way to pedestrians. At busy times this can mean rather slow progress. But we must accept the shortcoming of the situation. We must be tolerant of each other, cyclists and pedestrians. I have cycled on busy promenades in Spain and Portugal. It can and does work if the cyclist is careful and moderates their speed, giving warning when appropriate with a bell. There will always be some who behave badly, as drivers on the road.
Let us persevere in trying to work together. Both walking and cycling, such excellent and healthy ways of getting about. They both require our best effort.