Veteran journalist Jeremy Vine, who has been cycling to work in London for a year to get fitter, has written a provocative article entitled, ‘Why do so many drivers want to kill me?’. He also claims that driver attitude is more dangerous to cyclists than bad road design.
“Some drivers do seem to resent, even hate, cyclists and this makes cycling more dangerous than any pothole or badly designed T-junction,” he wrote in the Daily Mail piece published today. “The hostility of some drivers is mind-boggling.”
He says a driver had leaned through windows and told him they want to kill him; that they laugh when he’s been cut up and that many of his friends are too scared to go cycling in the capital.
Vine adds that he dresses “like a US Navy Seal on his way to shoot Bin Laden”, for his morning commute and that he’s taken to wearing a camera to catch bad driving.
He says UK roads will not be safer for cyclists until drivers’ attitude to cyclists changes.
“The biggest danger is not road layout but road users,” he added, before concluding that he is one near-miss away from selling his bike and reverting to commuting by car.
“The sad fact is that I feel like I have become involved in a war that puts my life at risk every time I strap on my helmet.”
Rhia Weston of the cycling charity CTC’s Road Justice campaign said: “It’s a sorry state of affairs when cyclists feel the need to protect themselves with hi-viz, helmets and cameras. Cycling should be a safe and normal activity which people of all ages and backgrounds can do in normal clothes, without having to dress up like a battle-hardened warrior.”