There are some issues so sensitive, so combustible, that just writing about them requires asbestos gloves. During the ups and downs of the pandemic, it was masks. Adding that single word to conversations was like dropping potassium into water in a school experiment: a torrent of fizzing, capped by a small explosion.
But now Covid is off the agenda, nothing beats the seemingly eternal conflict between driver and cyclist. Like Punch and Judy the two are brutally twinned. Indeed, the Rover “safety bike” design, still largely the same as today, took over from the Penny Farthing in 1885 – the very same year that Carl Benz (of Mercedes Benz) built what is considered to be the world’s first car.
Today, our cities have become familiar battlegrounds for these century-old antagonists, with mutual antipathy only deepened with the advent of pro-cycling low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs), which have blocked off a host of residential back streets to drivers.
Yet with the new Highway Code that came into effect in January – encouraging cyclists to ride two abreast, or in the middle of the road – and Covid itself, which prompted countless new riders to “get on their bike”, it’s a dust-up that is rapidly spreading to the countryside too.
Hence the hullabaloo about the recent conviction of a Peugeot driver driving at speed past a family group of cyclists on a rural Yorkshire lane. Handed five points alongside a £417 fine for careless driving , the driver was held up as an example by Sheffield […]