Cycling is not always as bad as it is in the UK

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - UK cyclists reflecting on the difference in cycling in the UK and Belgium

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – The threat to cyclists is more than lifestyle. It is often an immediate threat to your life.

“What you need, really, is a helmet camera, but I am just not that into IT and it is just a big  effort for me to go that way. But even then, filming an incident, might not give you 100% result. Lawyers and solicitors and whatever…
“In the 70 and 80s, you were looked at as scum of the earth because you were riding a bike. Some kind of oddball and it just took, so I gather. In the 40s, 50s, 60s, there were masses of  numbers out riding. And that just became old fashioned and “get a car” came and the car has just moulded Britain, really. And the planning  has never been for bikes at all.
“Meanwhile here in Belgium, people are just so courteous to cyclists, it is incredible. There are cycleways virtually everywhere, and lorry drivers stop in the  middle of a roundabout to let you through. In Britain they are more likely to run you off the road. So it is just brilliant.”
Notes: I have railed about this in the past. I live in Belgium and still find it somewhat difficult as a riding country. People drive at you, cut you off, do not see you, intentionally aim at your person. But then I go to London for a visit and am genuinely afraid. Either by deliberate action, or just a lack of concern or awareness, cyclists are constantly threatened.  I do a 20 kilometre ride from the outskirts of London to the city centre. I must pass over  200 cars when I leave home on the workday morning. Next visit, I will count, but I know I passed over 50 within five kilometres last visit. And yet I am methodically intimidated by drivers, cut off at intersections, eased into the curbs of drivers who spooked to get past, only to brake immediately. Or being squeezed at the road furniture, the small islands that regulate direction and how many drivers simply cannot let you clear the passage before pressing their huge piece of metal past you. A  huge piece of metal you will zip past in 100 metres and never see again.

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