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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 12:30 GMT
Do motorists own the road?
Cyclist graphic generic
A north Wales psychologist has been jailed for what a judge described as a "serious road rage attack" on a cyclist.

Dr David Devalle, from Dwyran on Anglesey, reversed into Luigi Jones who was amongst a group of cyclists Devalle was overtaking.

Devalle claimed they were riding three-abreast and the door of his Mercedes had been kicked.

He denied dangerous driving at a previous hearing but was later found guilty.

Click here for the full story

Do motorists think they own the roads? If you are a cyclist - does this case typify the treatment you receive? Or are you a motorist who thinks cyclists themselves have a lot to answer for?

HAVE YOUR SAY

There are many instances above of people saying "If you think you've got it bad, come and look at the situation on our country..." The point is, both cyclists and motorists take risks and flout the law anywhere. It is increasingly obvious that society is becoming angrier and people are looking to get their revenge in first. Victims and bullies vie with each other to make someone pay. This "did you touch my car" mentality is a primitive instinct - we've only had possessions this powerful for 50-odd years. I don't think some individuals have the mentality or thought processes to control their feelings when on the road. Problem is, how do we identify them? I offer no answers, only more questions.
T Mathews, UK

It is absolutely right that this menace was jailed. There are an ever increasing number of people who feel that they have a God given right to do what they like "on their road". Anyone who commits a violent act on another person deserves to be jailed. It is totally unacceptable behaviour and it needs to be discouraged. Deliberately runnning into someone with your car is unforgivable. I am staggered at some of the comments on this thread that are almost suggesting that this cyclist deserved to be attacked in this fashion. There is not one pedestrian who is required to pay road tax. Does this mean that they should be considered as legitimate targets for any maniac behind a wheel providing that he has paid his road tax? Good grief! What is our country coming to?
David, Denmark

One of the many gripes I hear from motorists concerns flashing LED lights. As a motorist and keen cyclist I find that these lights identify a cyclist from other road users, can be seen from a good distance and have excellent battery life. A major manufacturer has recenty released a bright LED front lamp which lasts for over 100 hours, is bright enough to see by, fits in a coat pocket and costs £25. Reflectors too are more effective than many people think. I also like the idea of testing bikes and cyclists for road-worthyness. Bells must be made compulsory - people identify the sound of a bell with a bike. Mine makes me quicker through town than any other accessory - dimwit kids may laugh but most people respond very well and get out of the way. On the whole I think it comes down to education. Motorists need to learn to look out for cyclists and appreciate that a cyclist's needs are different to motorists. Momentum is valuable to us so don't be surprised when we respond badly when you force us to slow. Cyclists need to realise that even the best, most considerate motorists may not have seen them. Wear bright clothing, use lights whenever the light is poor. Pedestrians need to remember that bikes are (for the most part) silent. Too many people walk into roads and cycle paths without looking (a personal pet-hate).
Chris, UK

Of course cyclists yell at drivers who almost kill them, we don't have horns and drivers need to be alerted to their dismal driving. If some one has a cost-efficient way of collecting road tax for cyclists let's hear it....I calculate it would be 2p per year, a fair price for owning part of the road
Alex, UK

There are bad cyclists and there are bad motorists, it's that simple. Literally any idiot is entitled to ride a bike and almost any idiot can be entitled to drive a car. The only difference is that if you crash the two into each other, the car wins every time.
Stu, UK

Why do so many people assume that cyclists do not pay road tax? I drive as well as cycle but that doesn't mean that I only deserve respect when in a car. Drivers are often obsessed with the clearly ludicrous idea that cyclists are holding them up when in reality they are only keeping them from the next bottle neck.
Gavin Thomson, Uk

I am a pedestrian and, whilst walking through my city centre I have seen numerous drivers who drive through red lights (often with mobiles glued to their ears), pedestrians who cross against the lights, forcing a line of cars to wait, even though the lights are in the drivers' favour. I've also seen cyclists weaving their way in and out of cars and passing through red lights, as if they think traffic lights don't apply to them. That said, I've seen lots of perfectly decent, consideration drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who all observe the rules of the road. Perhaps if we could all just use some common sense and courtesy when travelling on roads, pedestrian crossings, pavements etc, life would be so much better! Wishful thinking!
Cathy Harrison, England


The Highway Code caters for all highway users - it's a shame that a few chose to disregard it. Pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists riding on pavements or two abreast, motor vehicles not giving cyclists room, motor cyclists squeezing between moving vehicles on the motorway - we have seen it all. What we must remember is that the roads are there to used by everyone - properly

Hazel,UK

Where I live, the main territorial conflict is between motorists who habitually park on the pavement and cyclists who make a point of riding on it. Last summer I witnessed a glorious piece of poetic justice when a pavement cyclist hit a car parked on the pavement, damaging car, bicycle and rider. In general, I think cyclists are more of a danger to pedestrians than motorists present to cyclists. I'd like to see a cycling proficiency test introduced for cyclists and heavier much heavier fines introduced and enforced for cycling and parking on pavements. A good example of bicycle and car users co-existing in safety and without apparent problems or conflict is in Holland, where the flat terrain is specially suited for cycling. I've also noticed that the Dutch are blessed with natural good manners, patience and courtesy - traits which are noticeably absent in British road users.
Chris B., England

The Highway Code caters for all highway users - it's a shame that a few chose to disregard it. Pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists riding on pavements or two abreast, motor vehicles not giving cyclists room, motor cyclists squeezing between moving vehicles on the motorway - we have seen it all. What we must remember is that the roads are there to used by everyone - properly.
Hazel, UK

No, motorists do not own the roads. The money taken in taxes of various types goes towards the upkeep of the roads, upkeep needed because of the damage caused to the roads by motorists' vehicles. A bicycle has hardly any impact on a road surface. In fact, cyclists were the first to campaign for the surfacing of roads before the combustion engine even existed.
Iain Norman, UK

The roads are of course available to all categories of road user and it is up to each to use them with intelligence and consideration for others. What is described in many of the contributions is sheer bad temper and impatience. In my experience, the road rage problems are caused by minorities, whether motorist or cyclist. Motorists who cannot control themselves should never have been given a licence in the first place and it is a major failing in the UK that the driver training and testing is pretty substandard. Most become better by experience however. Cyclists should take a proficiency test and the same applies, ill-mannered oafs should be pedestrians only! Cyclists should not pay any form of road tax, their contribution to road wear and tear is minimal and one should not give tax-greedy governments any excuses to further bleed one dry. One final comment, cyclists often do get forced onto pavements by motorists usurping their road space and cycle lanes are frequently blocked by parked cars but then if the cycle lane is put outside a private dwelling, what do you expect. Cycle lanes are only a partial answer, where possible, complete segregation is better. One really final point, depicting the road situation as a war between bikes and cars suits a government that does not get to grips with road safety in an intelligent manner.
Alan, UK

I drive a car and ride a cycle. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who uses a road and has at least one wheel underneath them should respect the Highway Code. That's what its there for! My hometown of York has a (relatively) large number of cycle-paths/lanes, but all too often I see teenagers (and the odd adult) on the pavement, riding with no regard for anyone else who happens to be near them. Maybe I'm on my own here, but if the police could find the time to 'police' this a bit more, and get the message over that respect for others is important, it might just help the bigger crime issues?
Steve Brereton, UK

There are many bad practices on the road but one thing I have noticed in recent years is the number of cyclists who use the pavement. A few times I have come close to injury by such arrogant cyclists.
Geoff Hanlan, Cardiff, Wales


I live in Cambridge, where there are cyclists to fit every profile mentioned, and many besides. Even here the equation remains - a motorist hits a cyclist, the cyclist gets hurt. The cyclist hits a motorist, the cyclist gets hurt. Whatever the rights and wrongs of any given situation, the motorist has the privilege of the deadlier weapon and therefore has a duty of care

Mick,UK

I don't think things are going to get any better for cyclists while we have this obsession with speeding being the sole cause of all evil. I commute by bicycle, and I have had several near misses due to inadequate observation skills by car drivers - usually turning out of a side road without looking properly - if any of them were tackled about this they would no doubt say "but I'm a very safe driver, I never speed". I can't recollect a single incident involving excess speed. If we're serious about making roads safer for cyclists, what we need is better driver education and maybe regular testing. Prosecuting drivers who actually cause accidents instead of just those who fail to accept the current dogma might help as well.
Patrick, UK

As a cyclist I resent the implication that I'm freeloading. Not only do I pay VED on a car which sits on the drive, I also have full insurance on my bikes. I wear fluorescent clothing and I usually signal, unless I'm in the middle of panic braking because someone in a car has just carved me up. The 2,000 miles I've cycled this year have reduced the congestion between Reading and Henley to the tune of one car. Not much, but it's a start. I do get the last laugh, though - I regularly pass the same cars in the traffic jam in Henley that I passed in the traffic jam in Reading twenty minutes earlier! Kudos to the drivers at Lynx Distribution - they are a model of responsibility. They pass wide and slow, obey the speed limits, and don't seem to lose out as a result.
Guy Chapman, UK

While there is no excuse for attacking them, cyclists are a major problem on our roads and need to be put under control. They are just as capable of causing accidents as any other road user, and yet do not need a license or insurance and seem to be immune to any form of regulation: I have seen them do stupid and dangerous acts right in front of the police, who do nothing. Even a pedestrian would be criticised if they weaved their way through traffic and obstructed busy roads, but it seems cyclists are allowed to get away with anything. Regulate them or ban them, just stop them causing havoc.
Bernard, UK

I live in Cambridge, where there are cyclists to fit every profile mentioned, and many besides. Even here the equation remains - a motorist hits a cyclist, the cyclist gets hurt. The cyclist hits a motorist, the cyclist gets hurt. Whatever the rights and wrongs of any given situation, the motorist has the privilege of the deadlier weapon and therefore has a duty of care.
Mick, UK

I am a pedestrian and, whilst walking through my city centre I have seen numerous drivers who drive through red lights (often with mobiles glued to their ears), pedestrians who cross against the lights, forcing a line of cars to wait, even though the lights are in the drivers' favour. I've also seen cyclists weaving their way in and out of cars and passing through red lights, as if they think traffic lights don't apply to them. That said, I've seen lots of perfectly decent, consideration drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who all observe the rules of the road. Perhaps if we could all just use some common sense and courtesy when travelling on roads, pedestrian crossings, pavements etc, life would be so much better! Wishful thinking.
Cathy Harrison, England

Both cyclists and drivers are human road users. Cyclists manage to avoid having compulsory insurance (when they kill and seriously about the same number of pedestrians per passenger mile as cars do), and they manage to avoid the horrendous tax that drivers have to pay(approximately six times the amount spent on the roads). There are bad examples of both, and both should be dealt with. Cycling on the pavement is no different to speeding. There is a time and a place for both, and both can be done without danger to others.
Keith Walker, UK


As a former cyclist i now use a small car my own survival is more important to me than the planets

Gary,UK

It's high time all cyclists were taxed, required a licence gained by passing a proficiency test and had to have compulsory third-party insurance before they could ride on the roads, just like car drivers. If I had a pound for every time I have seen a cyclist doing something dangerous (such as running red lights, riding without lights or coming out of junctions without looking) who then gives me the upturned finger when I point out what they've done and that they should respect the highway code I would be a lot richer than I am now! The trouble is a lot of cyclists seem to have this holier-than-thou attitude to other road users (pedestrians included) - just because they're using a greener mode of transport than car and motorbike drivers does not give them the right to break the rules of the road and thereby compromise safety.
Caroline, UK

There are good and bad cyclists and drivers. I live in a small town but in the last seven days on just three rides have had the following happen. A car pulling out a side road (in the dark) immediately in front of me causing me to fall off as I locked the brakes avoiding him - in between the expletives it seemed it was my fault as I had too many lights on and dazzled him. As I cycled up a local hill a car coming down in the opposite direction pulled out and overtook another car. I know he saw me because he was hooting flashing his lights and gesticulating for me to get out of his way. I did. Finally tonight, nearly cleared up as I waited at a traffic island as the articulated lorry I was waiting for weaved off course - the driver was steering one handed with a phone to his ear in the other hand. Oh! And has a law been passed that makes it illegal to use those pretty orange-flashing lights at the corners of a car? I drive 15k miles a year but it never ceases to amaze me how many drivers are prepared to kill to get to the shops on time. There are idiot cyclists as well but by and large in any encounter at speed the motor vehicle wins.
Mike Arnold, UK

Until cyclists are able to use routes which offer separation from motorised traffic, there will be no solution to this problem. Motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians are not in competition with one another: they are trying to reach their destination reasonably, efficiently and quickly. Policy in the UK is totally inadequate in helping encourage people to take up cycling as a means of transport, be it in the city or in the country. Design and construction of cycle routes, with a few exceptions, are naive and parsimonious. London cycle lanes, those three feet wide delineations passing over drain covers, blocked by parked cars, obscured by rubbish, leaves, and puddles, are only there when one does not need them. When the going gets tough, they just give up. It comes as no surprise that cyclists will use the pavement when the alternative is vehicles passing by within inches at potentially lethal speed. Until the real issue is taken on board, and money spent, all parties will remain frustrated - car drivers in their traffic jams, cyclists having to venture off the highway, and pedestrians not being able to see that approaching bike from behind.
Jonathan Madden, UK

As a former cyclist i now use a small car my own survival is more important to me than the planets
Gary, UK

The arrogance of cyclists is beyond belief- they do not pay a penny towards the road system, ignore the Highway Code and yet have the absolute brass neck to blame car drivers who pay through the nose for meagre facilities. Many of the people responding to this topic are part of a militant cyclists e-mail group who seem to think that "cycling is the transport of the future"- I've just seen a pig fly past my window! Cyclists should have compulsory insurance, road tax, MOT's on their machines and all be made to wear helmets to protect themselves from their own folly
Paul Dishman, UK

Actually, Brian W, the law does not allow dangerous, irresponsible parasites... to take to the roads. It usually fines them and bans them from driving, or even imprisons them for such offences. Oh, I'm sorry, did you mean cyclists? Oh, and cycling on pavements is dangerous - can be, and there's no excuse for it, but for 3 years 98/99/2000, 135 pedestrians were killed on footways by motorists. Those dangerous cyclists - ah yes, 1. We're terrible people, but how many motorists are killed or even injured by cyclists? and bear in mind that, even by lax UK standards, about 70% of all bike/motor vehicle collisions are drivers, not riders fault
Mike Healey, England


I was a witness last week to a "car park rage" incident where a motorist tried to move a motorcycle that was legally parked in a space, much to the indignation of the motorcyclist who also saw what was happening. Apparently the motorist thought that only cars should be allowed to park in "car park spaces". Motorists don't own the road, but some of them certainly think they do.

Paul R,UK

As both a cyclist and a driver, I find disheartening the more aggressively toned remarks from both camps in this debate: we are all road-users, with (admittedly) different priorities in terms of speed, comfort, economy and so forth. And many of us, like me, will have feet in both camps at different times and for different purposes. When I cycle, I find the vast majority of vehicle drivers courteous and understanding; and when I drive, I try to extend the same courtesy to all road-users, including those on horseback or in rickshaws for that matter. There is no need for acrimony, and our crowded roads have precious little room for it. So let us live and live - but always bearing in mind that on the roads children, cyclists and pedestrians are much more vulnerable to death or serious injury if a collision takes place than those driving motor vehicles.
Lindsay G. H. Hall, UK

I was a witness last week to a "car park rage" incident where a motorist tried to move a motorcycle that was legally parked in a space, much to the indignation of the motorcyclist who also saw what was happening. Apparently the motorist thought that only cars should be allowed to park in "car park spaces". Motorists don't own the road, but some of them certainly think they do.
Paul R, UK

As a biker in Holland, I am very aware that about half of the people who drive in cars are totally irresponsible idiots. Here is a simple fact if you give a fool a gun he will kill, if you give a fool a driving license he will kill. To create a more moderate motor vehicle society, killing a person with a vehicle, must be considered murder, and road rage must be considered a violent and heavily punishable offence, after all if you have a fire arms license and you kill some-one then that is murder, a motor vehicle is the same, a potential weapon in the hands of an idiot, and every driver is a crime waiting to happen.
Steve, Netherlands

It ill-behoves cyclists to claim drivers break the law all the time, as if that excuses cyclists. As a pedestrian, I see far more cyclists ignoring red lights than I do drivers. Yes, drivers may break speed limits and there are cameras and means of identifying them. Cyclists have no such identification to go along with their similar disrespect for the law. All people want is for cyclists to have a cycle roadworthiness test, a proficiency test, a modicum of insurance and a respect for the laws as applicable to cyclists. Their resistance does them no credit.
Steve B, Scotland

As a cyclist, I hope that I can get more respect on the road. The best way to work out the problem is to provide cycle pathways for cyclists. However, in a crowd city like Taipei, it seems to be impossible to have such kind of pathway reserved for special purpose. But still, since a motorist have more safety measures than a cyclist, I think motorists should show more understanding for cyclists.
Yi-ting Lin, Taiwan

It seems to me that the increase in violent incidents on the road is associated with the increasing congestion. Many people have become slaves to their cars, spending hours in the traffic going to work to pay for it. No wonder they feel angry and resentful. Some people have decided to break the circle, to get out of their cars and cycle to work. By taking to their bicycles many commuters are reducing that congestion and helping all the other road users in the process. And small thanks they get for it.
Simon Jones, UK

It seems the majority of cyclists ride around with complete disregard for other road users, pedestrians included. There are a few, however, that are both polite and a pleasure to share the road with, they believe in lights, courtesy and signals. They seem to make the effort to thank drivers who are courteous to them, this of course helps stem the rising tide of road rage and general anger, as each parties faith in the other is a little restored.
Paul, Wales

Yes, I'm heartily sick of cyclists who ride through red lights. And I'm heartily sick of motorists who reinterpret amber lights as "accelerate". I drive a car, I ride various bicycles. I often see drivers and cyclists doing illegal, stupid and dangerous things, and I often see drivers and cyclists behaving courteously, safely and intelligently. Categorising behaviour based purely on mode of transport is unhelpful and pointless.
Peter Clinch, Scotland


If all motorists had to learn to ride a bike before they were allowed to drive, our roads would be much safer thanks to increased respect for all users

Nick Harvey, UK
I was recently shouted at by a motorist for not using a shared cyclepath. I wonder when he last shouted at a fellow motorist for speeding, parking on a cyclepath or pavement, stopping on double yellow lines, polluting the atmoshphere etc.
John F, UK

Everyone using the road has the same duty to respect other road users. That includes cyclists, many of whom seem to behave as though they are beyond reproach. It is very common to see cyclists emerging from junctions without giving way, and sometimes without even looking to see what is coming. Many also seem to believe that they are within their rights to ride without lights at night. Any road user who does not take responsibility should be banned from whatever mode of transport they happen to choose.
David Hazel, UK

If all motorists had to learn to ride a bike before they were allowed to drive, our roads would be much safer thanks to increased respect for all users.
Nick Harvey, UK

Cyclists are perfectly legitimate, health-conscious, cost-effective and environmentally friendly users of the road. I personally prefer to use public transport to get to work rather than my car (not a pushbike due to the distance). However, when I do get into my car, I try not to think of it as some sort of cocoon of invincibility as some drivers do. The road would be a nicer place if you could imagine how you would behave towards a person if they were stood next to you in a queue.
Zoe, Wales

I'd be more than happy to pay a cycle tax. But what would it be based on? Engine capacity-zero. CO2 emissions-minimal. gross unladen weight-1/50. Annual mileage? I'd love to see how they'd stop bike-clocking when they haven't managed it for cars.
Dylan Tomlinson, England

I pay as much road tax as any other car owner. Motorists should be grateful to me for paying my VED and leaving the car in the garage. Here I am contributing to the roads the car users are wearing out, reducing the burden on the NHS through increased health and fitness, and reducing congestion and parking problems. Time for a word of thanks, maybe, instead of this selfish carping? As for cycle lanes, those complaining about cyclists not using them have obviously never tried to use them themselves. If the cyclists aren't using the lanes there is probably a very good reason.
David M, Scotland

Self preservation is the motivation for many cyclist's wrongdoings. Cycle on the pavement because the roads are dangerous. Jump red lights to get ahead of the the would-be speeding murderers waiting at the lights. Ride in the middle of the road as it is would be dangerous for the car to overtake (of course, the driver doesn't realise or care about this). Following the rules only works if all road users do so. Until then cyclists will be under threat and will do what is necessary to save their skins.
Ben, UK

Well, I just checked the deeds, and no, motorists do not own the road.
Barney, UK

When all motorists obey road signs and speed limits perhaps all cyclists will also use lights and hand signals correctly. Unfortunately most councils don't consider it worth spending money to train cyclists and so the cyclists, especially children, may have an excuse for dangerous and ignorant behaviour. This is not true of car drivers who are supposedly trained to a high standard but still seem to regard the road as a race track, and pedestrians and cyclists as 'obstacles' which temporarily stop them from their usual habit of breaking the speed limit. When cyclists behave dangerously, they usually end up getting hurt, even in a collision with a pedestrian. When motorists behave dangerously, someone else gets hurt.
Adrian Lord, UK

It's time to remember that driving is a privilege and not a right. The ability to pass a test should not be relied upon a measure of ones ability to safely negotiate today¿s traffic. As a cyclist I have had a number of accidents and many more near misses. Some my fault, some not. However I know that as a cyclist I will come off worse in any accident - much worse. This understanding that I am not invincible has changed my riding style. I have had to become more tolerant and more courteous to my fellow road users. As a result I feel safer. Overall I would say that the standards of all road users including pedestrians, has noticeably deteriorated in the last 10 years.
Ansy, UK

The media (the BBC included) seems to be obsessed with motorists and the problems they face. Pedestrians barely get a mention - usually to condemn them for being lazy for not using pedestrian crossings to cross roads. I have recently had three near misses while walking to work. All involved cars driving over footpaths. The highway code is unfortunately short on advice on the correct procedure for dealing with such situations.
David Gee, UK

Colin Mackay may not believe it, but he is actually subsidised in his use of a car by non-drivers. The full costs of the road network are greater than the revenues generated by Vehicle Excise Duty and taxes on fuel. So non-driving tax payers are having to pay to allow Colin to sit for hours in traffic jams.
Simon Jones, UK

For the benefit of Mark Paulton, some cyclists do not use cycle lanes as some idiot motorist has parked in them. For everyone else having a go at cyclists, you try and cycle along a cycle lane whist being passed by someone doing 90 mph 18 inches from you and tell me that we have a problem.
Kenny, UK

Road users including car drivers, cyclists, horse riders, bikers etc. should all be required to carry proof of insurance (minimum cover should be third party) and also proof that they have passed an exam, which should include how to treat all other road users with courtesy. I can see this matter from a variety of perspectives. As a cyclist, I've been knocked from my bike by a drunk driver. As a pedestrian, I've had my leg broken by a cyclist riding on the pavement. As a car driver, I've had £2,000 of damage caused to my car by a horse that could not be controlled by its inexperienced rider.
John, UK

Of course motorists don't own the road. It's a stupid question- the public highway belongs to everyone. Pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders use the highway by right; drivers of motorised vehicles require a licence to do so in recognition of the vastly greater risk they present to other road users, and the costs they impose on society.
Marcus Jones, UK

We have a problem with cycles in the UK. The law needs definitely reviewing but when I raised it with my Labour MP he totally ignored me. It should be compulsory for all cyclists to wear a crash helmet and have taken the Cycling Proficiency Test. Lights (the flashing type) should be compulsory on all bikes sold. Let's get these little hooligans who ride small bicycles without lights off the road and pavements. Bicycles should only be sold to adults and be subject to an MOT every year. The brakes on most bikes parked outside our local railway station are very worn and dangerous.
Anthony, England

Why does Anthony feel there is a problem with cyclists in the UK? Is it because he does not want to share the road with them. As for forcing all cyclists to wear helmets that will not solve the problem, it only protects the cyclist when they are knocked off their bikes by cars.
Caron, England

Whilst there is no excuse for the behaviour described in this news item I do believe that many cyclists actively try to provoke such situations. I recently nearly hit a cyclist who was riding in the dark without any lights. Luckily I saw him against the headlights of an oncoming car and barely missed him. The torrent of abuse had to be heard to be believed!
Ian Thomas, England

Cyclists are a menace, particularly in London where they have an annoying habit of weaving through stationary traffic with absolutely no regard for traffic signals or pedestrians crossing the road. At least twice in the last week I have only narrowly avoided being hit (whilst on foot) by ignorant cyclists behaving in an irresponsible manner. None of this has anything to do with road tax or the debate of 'who owns the road'. It is simply a matter of common courtesy - a quality which most cyclists appear to lack.
Gary Stevens, UK


Whilst there is no excuse for the behaviour described in this news item I do believe that many cyclists actively try to provoke such situations. I recently nearly hit a cyclist who was riding in the dark without any lights. Luckily I saw him against the headlights of an oncoming car and barely missed him. The torrent of abuse had to be heard to be believed!

Ian Thomas, England

Sorry, Colin, you do not own the road by any stretch of the imagination. The "road tax" you pay is in fact a Vehicle Excise Duty - a tax on luxuries to raise government revenue for any purpose, like the duties paid on tobacco and alcohol, and the window tax of the 18th Century. Major roads are paid for out of all central government revenue, including income tax, while local roads are paid for out of council tax. I resent my income tax and council tax being wasted on motorways I can't use while the damage to my street, my safety, my health and my quality of life caused by motorists goes unrepaired.
JS, UK

I own the road because I paid for it, but I'm quite willing to share it with cyclists. Unfortunately most of them don't believe in giving hand signals, using lights, or even looking where they're going, but still think it is the car drivers fault when they get hurt.
P, UK

Yes, I do own the road. The tax I pay when I buy my petrol and the RFL I pay every year pays for the building and upkeep of the roads.
Colin Mackay, UK

Steve, UK, needs to be corrected about cycle lanes. They are not funded by road tax - indeed, nothing is, directly, and "road tax" itself doesn't exist - but instead cycle lanes are funded by local authorities. So we all pay for them, as we do for any local developments, through our council tax.
Andy Gates, UK

It's laughable to see so many holier-than-thou motorists complaining that cyclists have no respect for the law. Three out of four drivers openly admit to exceeding the urban 30mph speed limit, giving unprotected road users less than 50% chance of surviving a collision, so motorists should clean their own house first. At least when a cyclist does something stupid he's only going to hurt himself. Not so if you throw a ton of metal around recklessly. Automatic year long driving bans for all offences I say - including dangerous parking - and a lifetime ban on the third conviction. No buts, no exceptions, no leniency. Dangerous driving kills more people than all other violent crime put together.
Neil Gall, Scotland


As a cyclist I've actually had a driver get out of his car to start a fight because I "looked at him funny" when he overtook me at speed with barely a few centimetres to spare

Steve Jones, UK

Quite simply, no motorists do not own the road. We all pay for roads with our taxes, they are a public right of way and can be used in a multitude of different ways following the highway code. Motorists have to obtain a license to use the road, they do not have a right. Other users have a right, cyclists are amongst that group of users. As for deliberately reversing into a group of cyclists, well this is a diabolical act and the perpetrator deserves a long jail sentence.
Daniel Dignam, UK

I'm sorry but there is no reason for road rage. As a cyclist I've actually had a driver get out of his car to start a fight because I "looked at him funny" when he overtook me at speed with barely a few centimetres to spare. As a very fit person and a long time martial artist I could quite easily have turned this fat, middle- aged geezer into mincemeat but I just went on my way (through a red light to avoid him). Perhaps motorists should learn a little self control.
Steven Jones, UK

As a cyclist I am saddened but not surprised at some of the attitudes here. 1) Cyclists do not pay "road tax" so are second class road users. For starters there is no such thing as road tax; it is vehicle excise duty. It is just another form of revenue for the government and is not hypothecated for road building and maintenance. Many cyclists do pay it (myself included), those who also drive.2) Some cyclists break the law, therefore they're all law breakers. Many motorists also break the law (probably with more serious consequences), but that seems to be different.
Toby Barrett, UK

I am a cyclist, motorist and a motorcyclist. It never ceases to amaze me that people take the car which in the rush hour is the slowest of the three. I cycle to work and time and again I have cars overtaking me and pulling into the left and forcing me to brake hard and then re-overtake them because they "must" get past the "slow" cyclist even if there isn't a gap. I don't live in a major city but I would still challenge Michael Schumacher to beat me to work in a car. Having experienced both sides, I would say there is an arrogance on the part of motorists. Come on drivers try cycling and leave the slow moving steel box at home. If you must drive, just remember that every cyclist is one less car clogging up the roads.
Gerry Anstey, England


Most motorists have absolutely no conception as to how dangerous, careless and arrogant they really are. There is no such species as a cyclist, only another human who will die bloodily and messily when a car smashes into them at high speed. I don't claim to be an angel behind the wheel of a car, but with cycling as a hobby it taught me as a driver to be patient, careful, observant and above all considerate. I bet no motorist complains when I practice these skills while driving past his/her child's school. Motorists should be encouraged to cycle on the roads to find out how terrifying it is for all vulnerable road users who cannot accelerate out of trouble.
K Wilson, Australia


Aren't we all heartily sick to the back teeth of arrogant and ignorant cyclists who ignore red lights, give no hand signals (apart from abusive ones), cycle on pavements and generally are a complete pain?

Hector Nailsmith, UKUK
There is no possible, conceivable reason for road rage of any sort at any time. None. Not ever, not for any reason. Those who indulge in road rage are immature and unfit to hold a licence or ride a cycle.
Arri London, EU/UK

Aren't we all heartily sick to the back teeth of arrogant and ignorant cyclists who ignore red lights, give no hand signals (apart from abusive ones), cycle on pavements and generally are a complete pain? I have asked this question before. Why do cyclists not have to pay road tax, insurance, and have to wear helmets (as motor cyclists do)? If they run into you or your car, usually the only way to get recompense is to sue them, and I urge anybody who is unfortunate to be hit by a negligent cyclist to deal with it through a solicitor straight away. Why should they get away with it? Car drivers don't. Come on transport minister, let's see some fair play here.
Hector Nailsmith, UK

Cyclists don't even use the cycle lanes provided for them in the area where I live. They decide riding in the road is easier as they have to swap sides once or twice to stay on the path.
Mark Paulton, UK

In response to the people who think cyclists should pay road tax. I think they are wrong. For a start due to the weight and speed cyclist do very little if any wear and tear to the road surfaces. Also the only pollution caused by cyclist is methane gas. At the end of the day there should be more cycle paths and drivers should re take their driving test every five years to maintain standards and ensure that everybody who drive has 20/20 vision so that they can spot the cyclist. Also a message to both sides there is no need for road rage as road rage never help any body, in fact it has been proven that anger is bad for your health. So smile and be thank full you are happy
Dafydd Eveleigh, Wales

Come and drive in Israel before you criticize drivers in Europe. Here consideration is found in the dictionary and rules for driving is forgotten once you have passed the driving exam. Using indicating lights is largely a waste of electricity and it is not unusual to do a U-turn in the middle of the traffic light intersection.
Issac, Israel

As a motorist, motorcyclist and cyclist I have quite a broad knowledge on this area. Little known statistics show that motorcyclists are six times as likely to have a fatal accident on the road as car drivers. However, cyclists are three times as likely to have a fatal accident compared to car drivers. It seems that cyclists cannot win. Without road training or any regulated specification of machinery they are forced onto the roads to take their lives literally in their own hands. If they dare to take to the pavements then the local police officer will order them back onto the roads. Is it any wonder that they become aggressive at times? I'm presently working in Tokyo which has a very definite cycle culture. Here, if you ride on the roads you'll be ushered back onto the pavements to the accompaniment of a police siren. Shouldn't we look at allowing cyclists onto the pavement as a basic measure? We can't expect to see a national network of cycle lanes completed anytime this decade.
Richard, Japan


Come and drive in Israel before you criticize drivers in Europe. Here consideration is found in the dictionary and rules for driving is forgotten once you have passed the driving exam. Using indicating lights is largely a waste of electricity and it is not unusual to do a U-turn in the middle of the traffic light intersection.

Isaac, Israel

As a motorist, I've seen other motorists driving too close to cyclists and I have seen groups of cyclists taking up the entire lane with no intention of moving. Still there's no excuse for road rage from any side.
Mark, Canada (Ex UK)

Motorists do think they own the road. I drive as well (only coz public transport literally doesn't exist where I live) and the amount of (usually men) drivers who try to intimidate other drivers is astonishing! They take up the whole road, don't bother turning corners but go as straight as they can, and being a pedestrian is taking your life in your hands!
Flossie, Wales

I am constantly amazed at cyclists' attitudes to riding, they seem to think they're exempt from the highway code. I've noticed them becoming more blasé each time I return to the UK - not stopping at red lights, then screaming at drivers who almost run them over, swapping from road to pavement as it suits them, usually with no respect for pedestrians, and riding around at night with no lights on.

As a cyclist myself I am offended by the behaviour of motorists at times, but I wouldn't dream of flouting the road rules.

If cyclists break the rules then they should get fined, and they should get points on their driving licences. And if they don't drive then perhaps a licence to ride a bicycle is in order and some form of test.
Mark Scott, Brit in USA

Motorists not only think they own the road, but also the cycle paths (if they want to park), bus lanes (if they want to overtake other drivers), pavements...
Dave Riley, Cambridge, UK

As a pedestrian, I notice that motorists are a far greater menace on the roads than cyclists. Safe in their little boxes they have no respect for anything that is not big enough to damage their vehicles. I suggest public flogging for those who fail to signal properly at roundabouts as a good place to start.
Jen, England

Far too many cyclists see themselves as above the law. Stray onto a cycle path in Amsterdam and they will hurl abuse at you.


If cyclists break the rules then they should get fined, and they should get points on their driving licences. And if they don't drive then perhaps a licence to ride a bicycle is in order and some form of test.

Bark Scott, Brit in USA
Living in Holland I have to be aware of cyclists all the time yet the only place that a cyclist has even come close to attacking me was on the A2 in London. There was no reason for it other than a clear hatred of the fact that he had to share the road with motorists.
David Hughes, The Netherlands

It is absurd that the law allows dangerous, irresponsible, parasites who have no driving test, third-party insurance or road tax to take to the roads.
Brian W, UK

Based on the amount of idiots on the roads and the fact that a car will always come out on top in a fight with a bike, the government should make far more effort to provide dedicated cycle paths.
John, England

Cyclists are second class road users and should be treated as such (within the bounds of the law) until they pay the same road taxes, and suffer the same penalty for offences as other road users do.
Ian, UK

I am a motorist and I don't think I own the road. Cyclists are just a part of driving as pedestrians. What next? Are you allowed to run over school children because they are taking too long to cross the road?
David Ward, England

All cyclists who ever they are do not care about their own safety, all too often Ii see people cycling 2, 3, even 4 abreast also riding at night with no lights. When will they learn that without motorists paying road tax they would never have cycle lanes. This was supposed to help this situation. Did it?
Steve, UK

Motorists may think they own the road, but quite often cyclists believe they own the pavement. They love overtaking pedestrians without warning and as bikes are pretty silent, accidents can occur. Use your bell, and if you don't have one, buy one!
Pascal Jacquemain, UK


It is absurd that the law allows dangerous, irresponsible, parasites who have no driving test, third-party insurance or road tax to take to the roads. Quote Here

Brian W

As a motorist, I've seen other motorists driving to close to cyclists and I have seen groups of cyclists taking up the entire lane with no intention of moving. Still there is no excuse for road rage from any side.
Mark, Canada (Ex UK)

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See also:

29 Sep 01 | Scotland
Driver injured in 'road rage' attack
28 Feb 01 | Scotland
Road rage attack on woman
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