This month, our cycling agony aunt Sara Robin tackles a very unusual - but most welcome question...

Q: How can I be nice to cyclists if I am a car driver, I sometimes find them very annoying!

A: It’s not often that you get a question from a car driver to a cycling column, but York is the kind of place where you get plenty of drivers who also ride a bike. I am certainly one of those.

First of all I had a look at the Highway Code, the parts relating to cycling are at . There is also plenty of advice on how motorists should treat cyclists and an important quote from the Highway Code is “In any interaction between road users, those who can cause the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they pose to others”.

A problem in many places in the UK is that roads in towns and cities were designed before cars were used so much and before the advent of large cars, SUVs and vans.

I was very struck recently as I rode past an original mini parked next to a modern car. My first car was an old style mini and I was amazed at how much smaller a mini was than a modern car.

It does rather explain some of the complaints about the size of parking places in the Castle car park! Unfortunately roads haven’t got any wider as cars have got bigger.

Cyclists can feel threatened by cars coming too close, unless car drivers are prepared to slow down and give them a wide berth. I think one of the first rules for considerate driving is to give cyclists lots of space and don’t try and whizz past them too close as this can be very scary, particularly for new and not very confident cyclists.

Another way of helping cyclists if you are in a car is letting cyclists cross at junctions or giving them right of way on a narrow street with parked cars. If you see a cyclist anxiously looking over their shoulder at the cars following them they are probably trying to change lanes or turn right, don’t try and rush past them and risk an accident.

Cars parking on cycle lanes is another bugbear. Cars on pavements is even worse as pedestrians may get forced on to the road. Do think about other people when you park, I am frequently forced out of a cycle lane into a stream of traffic. As a confident cyclist this usually isn’t too much of a problem but for a new cyclist it might be the last straw.


To send your cycling question to Sara, email:


If you are planning to get a new car do consider the smallest one possible.

Don’t be taken in by the adverts that somehow miraculously if you get a huge SUV you will be driving on empty roads in amazing scenery!

Much more likely is crowded streets, traffic jams and struggling to fit a large car into a small parking spot. Smaller cars equals more room for everyone and less weight to move around so should be lower fuel bills.

Finally if you start seeing things from a cyclist’s point of view they will become less annoying. However don’t get me started on delivery riders on huge electric bikes that charge past me and through traffic lights, something for another time!

If more people think cycling is safe and enjoyable and then take to their bikes, all road users will benefit.

We will have less congested roads, better air quality and lower carbon emissions, win, win, win!

Plus the cyclists will be healthier, the NHS waiting lists will reduce and you will be able to get an appointment with your GP.

I might be being a tiny bit over optimistic but no harm in hoping!