Posted: 03/08/2015 at 14:41
Sorry annmarie2 but I strongly disagree about cycle paths, they are much more dangerous to regular cyclists than cycling on the road. When I used to commute 15 miles by bike I had a choice between off road cyclepath and roads running almost parallel to each other.
On the cyclepath I had constant hazards from broken glass (its where the yobbos go to drink at night), from pedestrians who change direction randomly without thinking that there might be a bike approaching on the shared cyclepath (and no, a warning shout, horn or bell doesn't help, it almost guarantees they will turn into your path and stop to see what is going on), worse still are the dog walkers who use those reel leads and set them up across the path as near invisible trip wires ,dogs are great - the people with them are generally idiots - even when a dog is off the lead aware of the bike and staying clear many dog walkers seeing a bike approach will call the dog to them across the path of a bike....
That's without mentioning the varying surface conditions, some sections were almost unrideable in heavy rain, and the fact that unless they are on old railways or canal paths, cycle paths are constantly stopping to cross roads, often via complex barriers that either force you to get off or weave through very slowly (presumably to prevent cars and motorbikes using the paths).
My commute was much faster and very much safer on the main road where the tarmac is generally better (although not great), where I could ride at a sensible speed without having to alter course for pedestrians and animals, where, because I was riding in accordance with the highway code (don't get me started on those red light running idiots or the ones who hop on and off the kerb) cars were able to treat me the same as any other traffic - at times they may have felt held up, but most of the route was on roads easily large enough for a car and cycle to pass, even a lorry and cycle.
On the cycle paths I had a near miss almost every day, on the road I have only ever had 2 near misses, both with buses which deliberately cut me up - no they weren't pulling into bus stops, one of them was out of service and returning to the depot.
Cycle paths are OK for occasional cyclists with no road sense who go very slowly, indeed they really should be off the roads for their own safety, but please don't assume that every cyclist who uses the road is wrong, even though there are some who don't use helmets or listen to music instead of picking up vital audio clues from traffic, for many of us the road is the right place to cycle.