There are idiots

As chairman of the CS Dynamo Cycling Club, I think that it is a shame that your article, announcing the possible visit to Exmouth of the Tour of Britain, should promote the rant from Mr Marshall (published in Opinion on April 7) that this will result in “more idiots on bikes” in the town.

The tour will, of course, attract many people to the town, many of them not idiots, and will also promote the town on national and international television.

The event is, as you said, a coup for the town and the opportunities available to all should be grasped, not to mention the spectacle of being able to see and possibly interact with some of the sport’s top athletes.

Having said all of that, I am afraid to say that the points that Mr Marshall is making with regard to idiots are actually warranted.

Just as there are idiot motorists, there are also a lot of idiot cyclists, who do not seem to realise that the rules and laws of the road apply to all.

For years, I have cycled to work from Exmouth to Exeter. I have witnessed an increase in the number of people who are now using the bicycle to commute.

With the completion of the cycle track along The Exe, there will, no doubt, be more people cycling and this is wonderful, but I have also witnessed an increase in the number of people who flout the law.

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At best, this gives all cyclists a bad name, hence Mr Marshall’s outburst, and, at worst, is downright dangerous.

If you are cycling on the road, you must stop at a red traffic light. If you continue through the red light, you are breaking the law and you may get killed.

When the pedestrian light goes to green (which means the road users light is still red) the cyclist is still at a red light. If you move off, you are breaking the law.

If you are cycling on the road, you cannot switch to the pavement to bypass a red light by cycling across the pedestrian crossing.

Give way signs, stop signs, one-way signs, no entry signs – all apply to cyclists. If you ride down the opposite direction of a one-way street, you are breaking the law.

It is illegal to ride at night without lights. From a safety point of view, many cyclists do not realise that, while street lights may not be illuminated, from the inside of a car, a cyclist is almost invisible at dusk

There was a time when it was completely illegal to ride a bicycle on a footpath. I do not know if this is still the case. It is very confusing with many paths designated as shared pedestrian and cycle paths.

Perhaps somebody can clarify the law here, but what I would say is that, if you are cycling on any path, you should be doing so with consideration to the pedestrian.

Yes, I know, it is annoying that on a designated cycle path some people walk across the whole width of the path, with their dogs off leads, or, even worse, on an extended lead, and are completely astounded to see a bicycle on a cycle path – but there are idiot walkers as well as idiot cyclists and idiot motorists.

There are a lot of people who are not idiots; there are a lot of people who just simply need to be educated.

Paul Martin

Chairman, Cycle Sport Dynamo.