I feel that I have to respond to the totally one-sided and misconceived attack on cyclists using the train published in your paper under ther title “two wheel terrors set to be driven off” (My Platform comment piece)
Yes, I note that Southern trains has upped the efforts to reduce cyclists on the trains but this is often ham-fisted and a reactionary knee-jerk to the type of carping I read in your paper.
I commute on the trains with my fold-up bike, I often do not fold up my bike as there are designated spots on the train to leave bikes free-standing and tied up.
In these areas the bikes take up less room than if they were folded. Staff under the new reinforcement have been instructed to get all fold-up bikes folded before entering the platform. This causes delays at the barriers and, I would suggest, far more incident of other commuters getting bashed and poked by people trying to carry cumbersome bikes designed to be wheeled.
If people are getting “barged with contraptions” then I suggest your unnamed writer lives in a far ruder part of the country than myself or my fellow commuters, I simply haven’t witnessed this in years of commuting.
What I have witnessed is that there is space on the train for two bikes to stand with two single seats near to them. Commuters grab these two single seats and then seem suprised and agitated when I come along and tie my bike to the designated rail next to where they are seated when there are literally hundreds of other seats on the train to choose from that are not next to a bike storage area, toilets and the sole wheelchair- friendly point.
Cyclists (and particularly cyclist commuters) are bearing the brunt of these petty attacks when on the whole I have seen them be courteous and considerate of others. I am sorry if your unnamed commuter (?) has had bad experiences and I do agree the policy of not allowing non-foldable bikes on the trains in rush hour is sensible. I do feel however that we are becoming marginalised for doing something that the Government and environmentalists suggest we should.
I bought my bike using the cycle to work scheme and I now get off the train before I get to London (freeing up seats) and no longer have to use the tube at all.
My bike rarely needs to be folded on the train as there are normally enough seats and space to accommodate it unfolded leaning against the designated rails. Once folded people can tend to trip on it and/or get oil on their legs if pushed up against it.
All I ask is that we have a little more common sense, travel in my seat to work and home for a day or two.
I do not barge and have never felt the need to, in years of commuting I have not once had to apologise for bumping into a single person whilst walking with my bike. Yes by all means stop non-commuters taking up space with large non-folding bikes during the rush hour, this is a system in place and being adhered to (I have always been asked when entering the station in London in rush hour if my bike is foldable).
Do not write totally one-sided articles that demonise all cyclists just because we are an easy target. I have been bumped more times by people carrying luggage, I have seen people leave it in the aisles and even on seats during rush hour. I have seen people leave handbags and sports bags on seats whilst there is a perfectly usable overhead shelf. I have seen people spread over two seats and hog all the leg space. I have seen individuals remaining in priority seating when obviously more needy passengers should be using those seats.
It is only cyclists who get these one-sided rants against them and we have a legitimate, and ultimately worthy reason to travel with our bikes, so please do not exaggerate your claims and hurd us all under one sensationalist banner.