Before I start this post, I have to make a small confession – while I always stop at red lights, I do cycle on the pavement. Specifically, I cycle on the pavement in Papershop Village on my way to the papershop (I cycle on the road on the way back). I do this because the alternative is to turn right onto Big A Road (and by Big A Road, I mean the principal road to the Belfast ferry, so you can imagine how lorry-tastic it is) and then to turn right again off it to reach the papershop and I didn’t fancy adding myself to the statistics. I know that I should actually get off my bike and wheel it along the pavement, in fact that’s what I started out doing, but over the years I’ve gradually let my impatience get the better of me. In my defence, I should add that a) I always get off my bike if I encounter a pedestrian, and b) this happens about once a month, so deserted is the pavement I do my scofflaw cycling on. And nobody’s ever complained either to me or to the world in general; I can be fairly certain of this because I’m pretty sure that Papershop Bloke would be the first to mention it to me if they did.
The real problem with this outlaw behaviour is that I’ve absolutely no leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about people parking their cars on the same pavement, which they universally do. In the winter they carefully park them over the one bit of gritted and shovelled pavement and the rest of the time they turn the short trip through the village into an obstacle course. This week, someone excelled themselves, parking their car so that it took up the full width of the pavement (they were selling their car so I expect they wanted it in a nice prominent position. Had I not been a bit deficient in the moral high ground department myself I could have had a nice half hour ringing the prominently displayed number and giving them some full and frank feedback about their parking abilities). The pavements are pretty wide, so it must have taken some some doing.
Which is odd when you think about it. As I mentioned the road in question is Big A Road which is nice and wide and straight at that point, and the vehicles which pass through tend to have a bit of a problem getting from 60mph to 30mph as they reach the village outskirts. They’ve got one of those flashy signs that tell the drivers to slow down but all that does is give the postman a bit of advanced warning as he attempts to sprint from one side of the road to the other (I’ve never seen anyone else cross the road – I assume the people who live on that side do visit the shop, but I’ve a nasty suspicion they just drive there). Surely a nice slalom course through some loosely parked cars would be a bit more effective at slowing traffic? And all perfectly legal, as there’s no double yellow lines. A slight risk that your pride and joy might get squashed by a convoy of ferry-bound trucks – but surely that’s a price worth paying for a bit of traffic calming and they postman keeping all four limbs intact?
Of course, they would probably answer that they would – but they need to park on the pavement instead to counter the scofflaw cyclist. Touché…