John Allen was an 86-year-old war hero who survived many extraordinary brushes with death, but was mown down by a cyclist a few weeks ago in Bath and died shortly afterwards. At the age of 19 in World War Two, Allen’s RAF aircraft was shot down over France. He survived the crash and joined the French Resistance in their underground war against the Nazis. Captured by the Germans, he was sent to a Prisoner of War camp in Poland. Sent on a death a march at the end of the war, he was liberated by the Russians. In September of this year, he was crossing a road when he was hit by a cyclist and died two days later. No one has been prosecuted for causing his death.
This is just one of many deaths and accidents caused by speeding cyclists recently and yet anti-car campaigners in Bath are still holding up cyclists as paragons of travel and the answer to all Bath’s transport problems. I don’t think so. A new generation of bicycles made out of lightweight materials capable of travelling at greater speeds than ever before and yet still silent mean that bicycles can now be as lethal as cars when they hit pedestrians. Why should taxpayers be asked to fork out money to encourage their presence on our streets?
To boost their green credentials, councils love spending our money on creating road schemes that make cyclists safer but put pedestrians at greater risk. In Bath, the road running around the Guildhall leading into Bridge Street is now a one-way system with no traffic in the opposing direction to make drivers and, most importantly, cyclists slow down as they speed round the corner of the Victoria Art Gallery. Silently hurtling down this slope, shielded by parked cars, and frequently ignoring the traffic lights, they pose a great danger to elderly residents as they cross the road near the gallery entrance towards the Podium entrance. I have witnessed several near accidents here caused by speeding cyclists.
Bath councillors should think hard before spending any more of our money creating racing tracks for cyclists in Bath.
Tim Newark, Bath TaxPayers’ Alliance