LETTER: A bicycle is still a vehicle

The recent appalling incident in which a four-year-old girl was run over by a cyclist on Eastbourne promenade highlights a problem which, I believe, transcends the local heated debate on seafront cycling. Over the past few years cycling, I am delighted to say, has burgeoned in popularity with an ever increasing number of people taking to two wheels both for leisure and transport. To cope with these sharply increasing numbers, training courses for cyclists of all ages should be more widely available to improve everyone’s safety, but of course there will inevitably be a minority of inconsiderate and dangerous cyclists just as there are inconsiderate and dangerous drivers. Even more importantly, and I speak here as a keen cyclist myself, the police and other authorities need to be far stricter in dealing with wayward cyclists, with penalty tickets being issued to those who blatantly flaunt traffic regulations. A bicycle is after all a vehicle with the potential to inflict serious injuries or indeed to cause a fatality. It is pleasing that the two culprits involved in the collision with the little girl have been apprehended, but my concern is what will happen next? I was dismayed to read in last week’s paper that one of the men will receive only a police caution for assault. This is a ridiculously lenient outcome for a yob on a bike who not only caused significant injuries to a little girl but then compounded injury by proceeding to hurl abuse at her mother. This incident was basically a ‘hit and run,’ one of the most serious offences for a motorist, yet this cyclist merely gets a caution. Unbelievable! Cyclists are a class of road user and their transgressions should be treated with the same severity as any other class of road user.

Robert Cowan,

Meads Road