Footpaths are for pedestrians, right?

One thing I will not do is cycle on footpaths. This is mainly because when I was a 19-year-old pedestrian I was knocked over by a cyclist on a footpath, who did not stop but left me on the ground with bleeding wounds on my hands and knees, and I’ve been haunted by that memory ever since.

I also refuse to cycle on footpaths, because it’s against the law.

So this morning as I trundled along one of the back streets behind South Bank I was surprised when a pedestrian actually advised me to cycle on the footpath. This was because I was stuck behind a tailback of traffic, with no room to move. If I wanted to move the only solution was to clamber onto the footpath, which, as I’ve just stated, I will not do.

I was standing there quite patiently when a gentleman on the other side of 50 walked by, looked me up and down, then said, "Why don’t you cycle on the footpath?"

"No thanks," I said.

"Be quicker."

"Be against the law," I replied.

"Your loss," he quipped, before walking on.

My loss? About 30 seconds of my time. The traffic cleared and I was on my way. And I didn’t have to break the law to do it. But why a pedestrian thought it was a good idea to advise me to cycle on his territory still has me flummoxed!


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