Cycles are vehicles too

To the Tractor Driver on The Beverley to Tickton Road....…. (whom, judging by his liberal use of his horn and his hand gestures, apparently felt that my wife and I on our Pashley bicycles had no place on the highway and should be on the cycle path) ...

We were riding on the road because we wished to turn left into the garden centre on our side of the road (not on the other side of the road where the cycle path is). This is our right as cycles are vehicles.

My wife and I pay for the roads, (in the same way you do), through our income tax and council tax (not our vehicle excise duty, which is a tax on motor (i.e. polluting) vehicles and not in any way connected with spending on roads).

If you know your history as well as you do your horn and hand gestures, you will know this, and that “road” tax was abolished in 1937, after campaigning by Winston Churchill.

Sir, we would love to be able to ride on the cycle path everywhere we wished to ride, around our local towns and cities, and alongside the roads connecting them, on well-designed, safe cycle paths like those across the North Sea in Holland and Denmark, and not the pitiful and often dangerous British versions.

Cycle paths that are integrated into a transport system where cyclists and pedestrians (including you and your children) have equal importance to motor vehicles; where a child’s life (and yours) is not less important than the “great god, the motor car”.

Apparently you felt we were holding up traffic, and not part of the traffic we actually are. Your tractor, I’m sure, has never “held up” traffic...

Unfortunately sir, we do not have cycle paths as found in Holland and Denmark. Instead, we are almost always forced to ride among other vehicles (which cycles are, the same as cars, lorries, and your non-traffic delaying tractor).

I do not wear a helmet, because sadly the scientific evidence I have seen strongly suggests to me that wearing one would not save me from death (or head injury) if an impatient driver of a motor vehicle several times faster, larger and many hundred times heavier than mine collides with me because they, like you, begrudge me the small amount of road space that my vehicle takes up compared to yours.

My vehicle is environmentally friendly, equivalent in energy use to 1600 miles per gallon (how many does your tractor do?) and (unless I have had baked beans for breakfast) has zero emissions (what about your tractor?).

My vehicle is green, sustainable, and the future. Cycles paths like those in Holland and Denmark would mean your children and grandchildren would be able to cycle and walk safely to school, and their footie practice.

If you worked in a town, you and your wife, would be able to get to work more safely, cheaper, and probably quicker, than you would if you drive a car.

Our towns and cities would be happier, greener places for all of us, and more financially sustainable as well. So please, Mr. Tractor Driver sir, if you want my wife and I to ride on the cycle path, please help all of us to get the type of cycle paths there are in Holland. And lots of them...

Mike Akester

Long Lane