How can Britain become a ‘great cycling nation’ when it’s so scary to ride a bike? | Adam Becket | The Guardian
There is a pothole on the Bristol Road just north of Nailsea, north Somerset, which I cycled over at about 30mph back in June. It casually blew out both my tyres; somehow I managed to skid, on my two flats, to a stop. It is in moments like this that your vulnerability as a cyclist comes into focus, and you realise how little there is between you and death: a bit of plastic on your head, a thin bit of Lycra, your wits and skill on the bike.
Britain’s roads are in a terrible state thanks to austerity. According to the RAC, 6% of B and C roads are in need of repairs, a proportion that has remained the same for the past five years. It is bad for cars, but even worse for cyclists riding in the gutter.
One thing you quickly learn when out riding, as I have been for more than 300 hours this year, is you have to pay attention. Vehicles can appear at any point and will do anything. I have been pushed into hedges by two-tonne SUVs, almost T-boned by hatchbacks, forced to dice with death in narrow bike lanes. It is simply accepted that this is what cycling is: taking your life in your hands every time you get in the saddle.