Rising tensions between drivers and cyclists on North Yorkshire’s roads revealed

Tensions have risen between cyclists and motorists in rural areas. Photo: PA

Rising tensions between drivers and cyclists on North Yorkshire’s country lanes which have seen “an explosion in cycling” have been exposed, as councillors called for both groups of road users to change their behaviour.

A report earlier this year revealed that the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured went up nearly 90 per cent in Richmondshire in 2016 compared to the average for the previous four years.

During a debate on the rise in fatalities on the county’s roads last year, county council members were told the authority was targeting work on reducing cycling casualties and had launched a range of initiatives to tackle friction between drivers and cyclists.

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The authority’s transport, economy and environment scrutiny committee heard while motorists were speeding in rural areas, so were cyclists.

Schemes launched following the county hosting cycle races such as the Tour de Yorkshire ranged from showing drivers safe passing distances and installing danger signs to creating virtual cycling routes on its websites.

Council assistant director Barrie Mason said: “We really welcome the increase in cycling, it’s got health benefits, it’s got tourism benefits.”

Mr Mason added it was evident cyclists’ behaviour ranged similarly to that of motorists, from the conscientious to those who completely ignored others.

He said the authority was also talking to cycling and motorists groups about their behaviour, safety, the planning of routes and particularly challenging areas for cyclists.

Councillor Caroline Patmore: “It is the behaviour of cyclists that is the problem. They don’t seem to enjoy the countryside. All they do is speed and it’s not just two abreast, sometimes it’s three or four on very narrow roads. It is not good for motorists following them up a hill. When you do overtake them you get a rude gesture.”

The committee’s chairman, Councillor Mike Jordan, a cycling club member, said: “Ten years ago we wouldn’t have had this conversation at all. It was all cars. Because cyclists are starting to use the road everybody is moaning now.”

Life-long cyclist Councillor Stanley Lumley said it was disappointing that all cyclists were being tarred with the same brush and motorists needed to show tolerance.

He said: “I think there could be an improvement with the cycling population which has exploded over the last ten years. It’s a great thing, but it needs management and education to go along with that.”

4 Comments

  1. I cycle through Richmond and surroundings area and I have never had a problem, It’s wrong to tar all cyclists as the same as well as motorists, If motorists are speeding then its down to the law to intervene , The new rule of 1.5 away from a cyclist will eventually become law, Richmond is beautiful let’s work together to solve the problem

  2. That’s a very balanced comment from Councillor Patmore, “it is the behaviour of cyclists….”. There are some inconsiderate, dangerous people who drive cars as well as some people who ride bikes. It is the type of person not the method of transport they use that determines their out look and approach. Tarring everyone who happens to ride a bike with the same brush only compounds the relationship of “them” and “us” rather than trying to educate ALL road users, nothing is ever only one sided. Patience and consideration for all road users regardless of their mode of transport.

  3. We have some lovely scenic and challenging roads to cycle and drive on, thats the beauty of North York’s. Both sets of road users need to be more understanding and tolerant of each other. May that be a driver waiting for a safe place to pass a cyclist(s) or cyclists slowing to allow a car to pass. I may be in the minority, but I do both Asian enjoy cycling the Dales and driving them.

  4. I am cyclist, and I love the country roads, but I am also a Driver and I get annoyed with way some cyclists think that they can do what ever they wamt! It is wrong period! We need to share the roads, riding 2 3 or 4 abreast and chatting and ignoring all driving vechiles because ypur on a bike, is first dangerous and ignorant.
    Start giving them tickets like you would a bad driver, points on their license if they don’t attend a safety bicycle training class, that will make them sit up and listen and possibly save their lives and motorist..
    Also stop giving the rest of us a bad reputation.

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