Letter: Drivers think they are never wrong! A cyclist’s cautionary tale

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I write this letter following a strange altercation on Leeds Road tonight that typifies that car drivers must think they are never wrong.

For a couple of years I have commuted by push bike from Shaw Cross to Leeds and back. Despite the designated cycle lane between Shaw Cross and Tingley roundabout, this busy road can be perilous due to high volumes of traffic and the number of cars who park over the cycle lane forcing any cyclist to veer into a lane of busy high speed traffic.

On Friday, August 22, I came across a car parked not only obstructing the whole cycle lane, but also not parked straight so the rear of the car was making it difficult for cars to pass. The driver was standing at the side of the car and I gave a sarcastic call of “good parking love, well done”. Admittedly not the most diplomatic, but careless drivers frustrate me when they put my life at risk.

A couple of minutes later I was passed by the same car blasting its horn. At the lights outside Shaw Cross junior I caught up said car. I was hoping to explain how it would be helpful if people parked better and we’re more considerate when parking on that road. I however had the woman shouting at me claiming I was harassing her. She was holding her phone claiming to film me with one hand shouting that she had a child in the car. She then accelerated erratically nearly crashing into the car front before blasting her horn. I said nothing, made no threatening behaviour and didn’t swear or curse. The driver then sped through the lights before turning right without indicating still holding her phone filming me. Good safe driving for a woman with a toddler in the car. I gave a polite wave and cycled on.

Whilst shouting on the road may not have been the best thing to do, we need some way to get across to people how inconsiderate they are. I am a driver and a cyclist and I know some cyclists can be equally inconsiderate. All I ask and hope this particular lady will learn from is that people take note of how they park, especially on such busy main roads. We all use the roads and as a cyclist I don’t have a tonne of steel to protect me as car drivers do.

Many thanks and I hope you as a paper can do more to support active travel, commuting and leisure in the Batley and Dewsbury area.

Matt Blakeley

Shaw Cross

Dewsbury