Comparing the cheating world of drivers to that of cyclists

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From: Allan Ramsay, Radcliffe Moor Road, Radcliffe.

WHILE Bradley Wiggins was defending his Yellow Jersey on the toughest stage of the Tour de France, a pal and I cycled (single file) to Blackpool: close on 50 miles at an average speed of 18mph.

Given all the hold-ups, (traffic lights, junctions, inconsiderate drivers) isn’t that good going for a couple of pensioners? Given 30mph limits, what speed do driver’s average?

Had we been on traffic-free roads, as in Le Tour’ that could come to Yorkshire in years to come, we might have averaged 25mph.

Why should we have traffic free roads? We weren’t in a race. Not so many of the drivers who passed us. Without doubt they were exceeding the 30mph speed limits on much of our journey.

Even on the good stretches, where we were doing 30mph, cars, buses and HGV’s seemed intent on getting their first. What’s worse, it didn’t seem to matter much that they couldn’t “give cyclists room”. So much for the Highway Code.

Zero tolerance of performance-enhancing drugs for cyclists, yet clearly no such restrictions for drivers. Speed is a drug is it not? Why zero tolerance in a cycle race, or indeed in any race, (horses: no drugs; restricted whipping), and yet not in the rat race?

Cyclists are forever being labelled cheats, but aren’t the biggest, and indeed the most harmful cheats, speeding drivers? Not for them just cheating their fellow competitors out of prizes, but out of life.

How many cyclists and pedestrians (poor; vulnerable competitors) are killed each year by (well-off) speeding drivers? How many of them innocent children? “Poor children are five times more likely to be killed than rich children”. For what: a handful of seconds?

How can excessive speed be lawfully allowed? Ten per cent above the posted speed limit, is it not? And isn’t 80mph, if not 90mph, acceptable on motorways? Hence the proposal to make it lawful. Should cyclists keep jumping red lights until it too becomes lawful?

As cyclists we aren’t allowed on motorways for obvious reasons. Yet on carriageways with a 70mph limit – where we are allowed – we must accept traffic travelling at motorway speeds: with no hard shoulder or cycle lane. HGV’s doing 60mph which will often pass within inches, and cars doing 80mph and more, can come just as close. With cyclist deaths on such roads, (with no witnesses) we invariably must accept them as accidents.

Why an Armco barrier to stop the rich speeders (or distracted drivers on mobiles phones) from crossing over and crashing into oncoming traffic, yet nothing to stop them (the cheats) from ploughing into cyclists? Is this fair play and civilised?

When Spanish cyclist, Alberto Contador, was recently found guilty of taking clenbuterol, he was banned from the sport for two years, and forfeited all his wins/prize money for the year that the alleged offence was committed.

The amount of the drug detected was minuscule – virtually “off the radar”– and of no possible benefit. Doesn’t technology help cheating drivers avoid the radar trap?

Isn’t cheating in cycling, indeed any sport, fraudulent and criminal and for the honest sporting world, a very sad day? Hence, policing the Olympics for cheats is paramount.

Don’t “rich cheating drivers” plead exceptional hardship to avoid a ban? Not for them to be labelled fraudsters and criminals. And certainly not murderers, as would be the case of death when stealing money. Stealing time; stealing life – much more precious than money is it not? – isn’t murder?

Why aren’t six deaths a day on our roads (4,000 globally) not a very sad day for our so-called civilised world? What’s civilised about allowing ‘poor children’ to be killed, just so ‘rich children’ can get to the ‘seaside’ a few minutes sooner?*