This one published in The Times, of all places, yesterday.
Sir, It is sad that it should take the serious injury of a Times staff member to trigger a nationwide safety campaign targeting roads, roundabouts and junctions. But cyclists themselves can do more.
Images in the paper this week show cyclists in drab clothing on wet dull days, and drivers in following traffic peering through rain-smeared, possibly misted-up windscreens. Yellow, hi-visibility fluorescent jackets are especially bright on dull days. Even gloves can be bought in vibrant yellow. Yet none of the cyclists shown were wearing this gear. Yesterday’s report had a photograph of another dimly-clad rider, with no eye protection.
Finally and most important, mirrors. No one in their right mind would drive a car or motorcycle without rear-view mirrors. To ride a bicycle in heavy traffic without a right-hand mirror borders on sheer stupidity: pulling out behind a parked car is the classic application — and accident — waiting to happen.
The images the author refers to are, I believe, these ones, of which the ‘least visible’ cyclists are found in this one –
I’m left scratching my head here, wondering this letter was written in jest or seriousness. I don’t think people write joke letters to The Times, so on the balance of probability I’m assuming the latter.
The author evidently thinks that to compensate for drivers failing to be able to see where they are going because of their ‘rain-smeared’ and ‘misted-up’ windscreens, cyclists should clad themselves in ever more lurid outfits.
I have to agree. It is plainly only right and just that cyclists can and should do more, and more, to compensate for the basic inability of drivers to look where they are piloting their vehicles.
But why stop there, Mr Sheppard? Cyclists are not making themselves audible enough. They are silent, so silent they cannot be heard over the sound of one’s engine, or indeed when one is listening to Radio 3. I propose that all cyclists should be forced to carry a loud, continuous warning system, akin to a siren – although obviously distinct from the type used by the emergency services – that will alert drivers to their presence.
‘Vibrant yellow gloves’, mirrors and ‘eye protection’ are all very well, but what about when one is listening to a particularly rambunctious Beethoven Symphony behind the wheel of one’s vehicle, and simply cannot hear the approaching bicyclists?
I suggest cyclists act now, for their own safety, and ours.