Dear Portsmouth, an Open Letter From a Cyclist.

Dear Portsmouth,

Please stop trying to kill me, please, I’m asking nicely. I am a cyclist; I ride a florescent neon fixed gear bicycle in a city with sparse cycle lanes yet flat roads, making my commutes easy but dangerous. I have since arriving for my second year at university experience tremendous prejudice and mistreatment at the hands of other road users and indeed pedestrians, I have been: assaulted, cut up, aggressively overtaken, tailgated, and just generally been mistreated.

I take many precautions when riding my bike, I always have my lights on at night and I always wear a florescent jacket in low visibility and at night, I don’t take up the whole road and try to use cycle lanes wherever possible. I say whenever possible because the cycle lanes are always, not frequently, always blocked by parked cars and other obstructions. I’m a pretty good cyclist, not too militant, not too new, I know the road; please stop trying to kill me.

I think the issue here is that motorists see the road as inherently “theirs”, not something to be shared, and like a petulant child, they mistreat anyone who try’s to share. As such people will overtake aggressively and cut me up, particularly on approach to a turning, or to a set of lights, often obstructing me or directly endangering me as a cyclist. I have had several altercations with motorists forcing me of the road, please stop trying to kill me.

I realize that as a motorist using our road system, which admittedly has its issues is stressful, really, really stressful. But it’s not difficult to give that cyclist wearing a high-vis jacket on the side of the road some leeway is it now? So please stop trying to kill me, please I’m asking nicely?

Yours Sincerely,

Joshua Willson

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