There are regular articles in the Adver regarding cycling on the pavements, which generally draw a response in the letters page from people on both sides of the fence.

Pedestrians often seem outraged that people sometimes ride bikes on the path, while cyclists protest that they are doing no harm. ‘String ‘em up by the lycra’ one side says. ‘Pay more attention and don’t meander all over the place’ says the other.

As with so many things in life, things are rarely as black and white as they seem, and I guess I should immediately state that I have a vested interest in the debate. That’s because, as a motorist, I rarely drive anywhere that I can cycle. And as a cyclist I often don’t cycle anywhere that I can walk.

So, that’s three feet in three camps then!

Of course that’s made easier for me living and working here in Sticksville than in Swindon. For 23 years the supermarkets, the post office, the gym, the sport centre, the take aways, the pubs, clubs, library and where I work, have been within a mile radius of my home.

Why take a car when it’s more convenient and quicker to take a bike?

And that’s not to mention the other aspects, such as cheaper, healthier and better for the environment.

Oh… I just have.

And having sold my home and temporarily moved to rented accommodation, I can currently cycle to work in 90 seconds!

That’s if I am in a hurry. Otherwise I walk it in four minutes, but I take the same route whether walking or cycling, and part of that route is on a public footpath.

So, one day I might be walking when a cyclist passes me, the next I might be on my bike, riding past a pedestrian. And you know, as long as there is some courtesy shown to both parties, there is no reason for either to feel indignant or in danger.

Like surely any competent cyclist I can ride a bike slower than I regularly walk so, space permitting, I can pass a pedestrian at a speed that neither startles nor endangers them.

Swindon town centre though is a different kettle of fish. The entire population of Sticksville could probably fit into Regent Street at the same time, and on Saturday lunchtime it often seems they have.

With that many people around it’s difficult to see how a cyclist could either safely
ride a bike, or would want to try. It would be quicker and safer to get off and push.

So under those conditions of course it’s to be expected that cycling shouldn’t take place, and the fixed fine that I believe applies looks justified.

But if you happen to be in the same area at 7:30pm on Wednesday, the greatest danger facing pedestrian or cyclist is the tumbleweed blowing down the street.

Same place, different time, different conditions and surely little reason for the same rules to apply. Should you run the risk of a hefty fine from a community police officer for cycling slowly, carefully and safely, just because thousands of people were on the street on Saturday, but are now at home watching Coronation Street?

One of the busiest roads in the county runs through my town, and it is surely the most dangerous place to cycle here. To travel east to west necessitates either fighting for space on the road alongside HGVs and the countless refuse lorries that use it, or finding a safer route that might involve a footpath or two.

And I know what I tell my nearest and dearest to do. Make sure you are wearing your cycling helmet, cycle as slowly as necessary (or walk) when on the pavement and try to get home without exposing yourself to too much danger from the traffic.

How many fines would I be prepared to pay before I felt it more justifiable for my loved ones to be killed under the wheels of a lorry?

So, in conclusion, it’s possible to cycle on a pavement without being dangerous, but there are some who chose to do one without caring about doing the other.

Just as it’s possible for some people to walk safely on the pavement, while others are dangerous in the road when they cross it.

And some people drive carefully and within the speed limit, while others pay no heed to sense or surroundings.

Some people would be a danger to others whatever they were up to, but you can’t ban everyone from doing everything.

Show some courtesy and consideration and a lot of the complaints would melt away.