A personal view

John Henderson
John Henderson
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Now we’re past the winter solstice the daylight hours are getting longer so the suicide cyclists will have to try harder to have fun.

Suicide cycling seems to be a peculiarly British thing to do. Maybe our European neighbours have laws about wearing high vis and using lights ­— and enforce them.

In France this summer every cyclist we saw wore bright colours, but the first British cyclists we saw on the way home were a family on an unlit road at dusk all in black and without a single light or hat.

Is it down to British reserve (‘oh that yellow is far too garish’) bloody mindedness or just proof they do not need a safety hat because they are already brain dead?

I know there are plenty of cases where drivers should have been more observant but it’s not all their fault.

How can you expect anyone to see you if you are cycling up an unlit country road, in the dark dressed like an SAS man about to liberate an embassy.

In fact, there was a guy I used to see last winter regularly cycling past Mildenhall airbase on the unlit 60mph West Row Road who actually wore a black ski mask, so your headlights did not even have a pasty face to show up.

He was also one of those who does not even bother to have reflectors on their bikes, never mind lights.

One dedicated cyclist’s response to my suggesting he wore high-vis was ‘your car’s got headlights hasn’t it?’

Yes, but if you are not wearing anything to reflect the light back they might as well still be candles in carriage lamps.

My wife and I always wear high-vis when riding horses or bikes, or just walking the dog in poor light.

If nothing else this means I can have the coffee on when she gets back from a ride because I have been able to see her two miles down the road.

To me, taking advantage of that sort of visibility is common sense for any vulnerable road user, so why do so many of fail to see the sense of it?

Before cyclists lay the blame at drivers’ feet they must look at themselves, 
preferably on a dark winter’s day.