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CYCLING: Avoiding the hazards

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On behalf of all cyclists in the North East, can I apologise to Mr Paul Flynn, of Blyth, for the time he loses during his busy day to either wait behind cyclists or detour around closed roads due to large sporting events, (News Post Leader, May 24).

There is, however, one or two areas that Mr Flynn has mentioned that are incorrect.

Firstly, competitors and race organisers pay large sums of money for events if they include closed roads.

The council receives money from the race organisers for closing the roads, not the other way round.

These events, such as the Tour of Britain, bring in visitors to the region and generate great revenue to local businesses.

The planning for most road closures starts at least 12 months in advance. It isn’t just decided the week before.

Secondly, this is the United Kingdom, not the Netherlands, therefore there are very few designated cycle-only paths.

We either share a cycle/pedestrian path or the road with motorists, both of which come with their own hazards.

Like the roads, some of the cycle routes are badly maintained and are unfit for a road bike.

Some paths are littered with glass and debris, which can cause punctures or even accidents.

The cycle paths are used by dog walkers, and there lies a second issue if the dog is not on a lead or is on an extendable lead.

I am pretty sure any cyclist would not want to injure themselves or a loved family pet.

All road users have seen how badly the roads are maintained in this country and if Mr Flynn thinks a pothole is an issue in a car, I can ensure him that they are even worse when you are on a road bike.

May I also point out that cyclists pay a lot of money for their equipment, with some manufacturers charging over £600 to £1,200 for a front wheel alone and bikes costing more than some cars.

I’m sure one of the many cycling clubs in the area would willingly take Mr Flynn out for a ride so that he can witness first-hand the dangers faced by cyclists.

As a cyclist and a car owner I can promise you that my friends and I don’t set off on our bikes purposefully wanting to annoy motorists.

We simply want to get out, enjoy a cycle around the area and get home safely.

Neil Wold

Ashington