Just because you cycle it doesn't mean you're saintly: OPINION

In the past I cycled a lot, and my husband still does. I used to whizz around the city with my youngest in a child-seat on the back of my bike, making the most of the cycle paths and the chance to combine exercise with a commute.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 4:37 pm
Updated Friday, 6th September 2019, 5:16 pm
There are many near misses between cyclists and drivers on the roads. Picture: Shutterstock.

Much has changed since, especially with cameras that are mounted on helmets and new cycle paths that spring up around the city.

Cycling on main roads always worries me though because you’re so much  more vulnerable than when in a vehicle, and some drivers simply do not take enough notice of cyclists, nor have the necessary patience to slow down for them or provide adequate room.

However, as a driver, I can also appreciate the flip-side of cyclists on the roads, because cycling does not automatically equal saintly behaviour.

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Something that frustrates me deeply as a driver is cyclists who are so afraid of drivers (probably with good reason), that they stop pedalling mid-flow in order to let you pass, especially when this is done in tricky areas of road when you are being patient and driving responsibly.

I realise that cyclists are trying to be  accommodating but it’s a little like driving at 20 mph on the motorway – too much caution is just as dangerous as not enough.

It causes confusion.

What is the cyclist suddenly stopping for?

Are you okay to go around them?

Why are they stood stock still in the road?

It is when these well-intentioned folk are also sporting no helmet, let alone visible clothing or lights, that it particularly irks me.

At the end of the day this obviously comes down to safety on the roads.

The amount of near misses that many cyclists suffer is more than enough to invoke extra caution, and the number of cyclists who bomb on and off pavements weaving through traffic is also enough to stress out the drivers who narrowly avoid hitting them through no fault of their own.

The roads are there for us all; we just need to be more accepting of one another while we’re using them.

If everyone listened properly, the world would be better

There is much to be said for the art of listening and, especially, being a reflective listener.

As a teacher, it’s remarkably enjoyable to watch students progress. To see that they were indeed listening to feedback, have since reflected on areas where they can make changes or add more depth to work, and have subsequently come on in leaps and bounds.

Listening as a skill in general is so crucial. My own teacher many years ago told our class that just listening to somebody who was upset or sad could make a world of difference. When we are listened to, we feel that we are being taken seriously, cared about. To listen is better than simply extolling advice. We should all do it more.

I can’t clean up the moving mess and I am going mad

And so the Lush family house-move drags on. The boxes are packed and the kids are enjoying living in the chaotic cardboard city. Me, not so much.

The novelty for our girls of living surrounded by boxes, and mummy not being quite so enthusiastic with the duster as usual, is just not wearing off. How I wish that I could have a decent clean, but the floor is smothered in boxes, the ornaments and precious trinkets are all packed away, and I am left only with vacuuming and a bit of a mop around said boxes to soothe me. Perhaps I am a bit odd but I love a good clean. Not so much the activity itself but the after effect and the delicious sense of a job well done.