Bingo is popular at this time of year – and perhaps because the period between Christmas and New Year is one when many people take time off work and have a lot of time on their hands, a Facebook post promoting the safety of cyclists from a local policing team in Leicestershire has resulted in a thread that ticks every box on the anti-cyclist bingo card, an example of which you can find here.
The post from Market Bosworth Police, who cover an area of rural Leicestershire that contains more than 50 villages in rural Leicestershire, underlined that from 1 January, motorists who fail to leave cyclists a minimum of 1.5 metres when overtaking will face a £100 fine.
It was accompanied by a picture showing that under the Highway Code, cyclists are allowed to ride side-by-side.
In the 48 hours or so since the post was published, it has attracted well over 300 comments – and many of those in turn have received dozens of replies.
Paste the whole thread into a Word document, and it runs to several hundred pages – and that’s ignoring the comments that the police have hidden because of issues such as swearing.
All the usual suspects are in there, and then some – cyclists don’t pay road tax, they should wear helmets and hi-viz and ride in cycle lanes and on bike paths where they are provided and in single file on the road, they ignore the rules of the road including jumping red lights, and so on.
There are also a number of posts from cyclists thanking officers for flagging up issues aimed at protecting vulnerable road users, however.
While the road.cc reader who flagged the thread up to us highlighted how the post had turned the page into a “cycling hate page” and added that the replies from officers had encouraged that.
Granted, we haven’t read the entire thread, but while police acknowledged, for example, that cyclists ignoring the rules of the road was an issue at times, mostly we saw that far from supporting incorrect views about cyclists and the law, the officers – who mention that they respond to comments in their own time – actually put people straight on many of the common misconceptions.
And accused by one commenter that they “always take the side of the cyclists anyway,” the police replied, “we take the side of human beings. We don't care whose lives are saved with safety education.”
Head over here to read the full thread.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.