Most cyclists are also drivers

I REFER to Mr Oake’s letter (May 2) about the bicycle time trial on the A259 from Pevensey to Little Common and write as a rider in that event.

There is a time trial on this road every Thursday evening from April to August.

I assume he refers to the race on April 19 because it was raining that night. There were 34 riders and these events in general comprise experienced bike racers from all disciplines including a number who ride at national and international, and on occasion professional level.

It is worth pointing out, as it’s often overlooked by correspondents such as Mr Oake, that most cyclists are also drivers. In fact a number riding in that event have considerable driving and motorcycle experience both on the road and as race licence holders.

Many have taken the time to extend our driving skills with further training. It is evident from Mr Oake’s comments he has not. Firstly, there is no such thing as a dangerous road, only dangerous road users.

Why does Mr Oake believe he has any more right to be using that road in the rain than the cyclists?

The events are organised by very experienced individuals in conjunction with strict rules from the governing body and all races are police-approved.

Events cannot be postponed, only cancelled. It is very unusual for one to be cancelled and it would also be unusual for a driver to cancel a car journey due to rain.

It worries me enormously that Mr Oake had trouble with the driving conditions and struggled to see the cyclists.

The race was during daylight hours and while it was raining, visibility was quite reasonable and certainly you could see the cyclists from a distance in which you could safely reduce your speed or stop.

The weather was far from ‘extreme’ as Mr Oake refers to it and this indicates he does not drive very often. Believe me I have ridden a bike in some extreme weather and this was no such occasion. If a race was cancelled every time it rained, we would not race very often.

Most riders were displaying high-intensity lights but those that were not could easily be seen. Most were in Eastbourne colours - bright yellow - and all had a fluorescent race number attached to their back.

Dangerous drivers are a hazard cyclists deal with day in and day out. Most regular cyclists have been hit by an incompetent driver at least once and accident data shows the vast majority of collisions between cars and cycles are the car drivers fault.

Mr Oake’s comments indicate he needs to review his driving skills and attitudes. He needs to look further ahead and anticipate other roads users and hazards.

I ask him to engage in further driver training and learn about hazard perception and the skills and attitudes he should be engaging around more vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

The responsibility for ensuring his own safety and those around him does not lie with the race organiser, it lies with him and his fellow road users.