If you see fit to publish this letter, perhaps some good may come of what was, for me, an unpleasant incident.
At 8.23 am on Friday, September 7, I cycled home from Morning Mass along the Raheen Road enjoying the relief from town traffic and the excellent surface afforded by the newly reopened Old Bridge.
As I approached the second traffic calming point a large car overtook me and cut in to get through the bottleneck: unpleasant but not really dangerous. This was quickly followed by another vehicle that had to come dangerously close to get through. Before I could feel relieved at its passing I realised to my horror, it was drawing a large trailer the end of which touched the mirror on my handlebar. I do not suppose my escape was miraculous but it felt that way to me.
I cannot identify the vehicle except so say that the trailer was a largish metal one containing what appeared to be some builder’s rubble. If my story persuades at least some drivers, perhaps even the offending driver, to curb their natural impatience with cyclists the fright I got will be worthwhile.
Over the past ten years or so, much has been done to improve the roads of Clonmel for motorists and more particularly for pedestrians. Sadly this has been at the expense of the safety of cyclists whose lot has steadily deteriorated.
For the same effort, cycling has about three to four times the range of walking, in an urban setting this translates into up to ten times the coverage. Recently this has been enhanced by the availability of excellent electrically aided bicycles. With ever increasing fuel costs, together with environmental and health concerns, there is now an appetite for cycling that it is wrong to discourage by making cycling unnecessarily dangerous.
If this story, in addition to causing a few drivers to be more considerate of cyclists, persuaded the local authority to take bicycle safety seriously “wouldn’t it be wonderful”. It would be a permanent, not a transitory, improvement but it requires taking expert advice: the design of existing offerings is poor and sometimes downright dangerous.
John N. Walsh
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