Harrogate is a lovely place to work and live, it’s not too big, it’s not too small, and it’s virtually crime
free. The citizens of the town are pleasant and law abiding, but put them in a car, and the world
seems to change.
I’ve lived and worked in Harrogate over the last 22 years and for the last few years I’ve taken
advantage of a cycle to work scheme through the company I work for. A fantastic scheme, that I
encourage anyone who has the option, to use it.
Obviously the main aim of the scheme is to encourage people to leave the car at home and use the
bike to get to and from work, and for me a journey of 3.5miles is an easy choice, as long as I can get
organised and have work clothes, towel and shower gel to hand at work once I get there!
You would think that travelling 3.5miles through this lovely town would be stress free, pleasant and
leave me full of life when I get to work, but this is not always the case. On the roads of Harrogate,
and I am sure most towns around the country, car users have changed over the years, and quite
frankly made the journey far from safe.
On my own blog site, I recently posted an article about car drivers and the lack of road sense, mainly
around the fact that traffic lights during rush hour times seem to have become meaningless, with
more and more cars not just jumping an amber/red light but actually choosing to follow two or three
other cars through a red light. Add to this, mounting kerbs to get round stationary traffic and parking
on double yellow lines on the corners of roads near schools, and you can see that it’s not the safest
place to be.
Now put yourself on two wheels, with your only protection being a helmet – something I think
should be made a legal requirement for cyclists, but that is another debate!
I lose count of the number of times on my journey, a car will get impatient, revving the engine
before flying past very close, or as you come to go past a junction and you can see a car edging to
get out before you reach it, wondering if this is the one who will knock you off. The relief when I get
to work or back home is immense some days.
The council have tried to make things a bit easier, you can now cycle legally on the stray paths,
though not all of them, of the cycle routes takes you onto Stray Reign and up to a busy roundabout
instead of across another path, but the cycle lanes don’t seem to be a priority, they aren’t in great
numbers or ideal, take the one on Oatlands Drive, which is used for people to park cars so they can
walk their dogs or fly kites!
In summary, I do think the council should look at its cycling provisions and see if anymore can be
done, and car drivers, please don’t rush, set off earlier, take a bit of time, think about cyclists, but I
encourage everyone to get on their bikes and get out in the fresh air, it has health benefits. But be
About the Author
Simon Williams is 44 years old, Married with 4 kids, he has lived in Harrogate for 13 years and worked in IT in Harrogate for nearly 22 years. A Former Triathlon, marathon and Ultra marathon participant, now a regular park runner and not regular enough cyclist.
You can catch up with Simon on his blog swcoachblog.wordpress.com