Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cars vs Cyclists?

It's long been my dream to cycle America coast-to-coast - I'd particularly love to tackle the challenge with my son when he's old enough (as long as I'm still capable!).

I've driven the route and know people who've cycled the 3,000-4,000-mile route. But one of the things that's always worried me is the country's apparent attitude to cycling.

I've been knocked off my bike by a car in London and I'm constantly aware of the risks, but the US feels different.

Cars vs Cyclists?

Outside of a few cycling-tolerant areas, such as Portland, cycling often appears to be frowned upon and even attracts hostility. For example, terminal cancer sufferer Jane Tomlinson had a bottle thrown at her and was nearly run off the road in 2006, while round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont survived Iran and Pakistan only to be knocked off his bike on the last leg of his 18,000-mile route in the US.

So I was interested to read this article about growing US antipathy to cycling and cycle lanes.

To get a sense of the anger directed against cyclists by some in the America, take a look at this forum for 4x4 owners. The person posting refers as 'problem solved' to an incident in Mexico in 2008 (pictured above) when a drunk driver drove into a group of cyclists taking part in a race, killing 1 and injuring 10 others.

Is that really how Americans feel about cyclists? If so, there is some serious work to be done...