"Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier. I have right of way - he doesn't even pay road tax! #Bloodycyclists."Her choice of words gives the impression that she deliberately caused the accident, which I guess is not what actually happened, although I will concede that it does not appear that she acted with the greatest of sensibilities following the incident. I would not go as far as condoning her actions, but I think she has been the subject of excessive criticism.
The brunt of public ire should really be targeted at the cyclist. The cyclist has made a choice to participate in a leisure activity that involves balancing on a slow, unstable contraption that offers no protection to themselves or anyone else, yet actively gets in the way of much bigger, faster vehicles using the road for its intended purpose. The cyclist could hardly have done more to make his activities dangerous and antisocial. The blame here should lie squarely with the cyclist for making those choices in the first place. If anyone is going to get fired from their job for being stupid, the self-styled danger-seeking public nuisance of an amateur stuntman should really be headed for the chop.
I cannot understand why councils up and down the country are allowed to invest so much time and money in promoting cycling. They do not promote jumping off cliffs, for example, which shares some key features. Both of these activities involve emitting few CO2 emissions and both are suitable as a form of transport over short distances in niche situations. Both can be fun in their place if appropriate safety measures are taken. Both are only suitable for one person travelling alone with no luggage and no regard for arriving at their destination relaxed and well dressed without looking like an idiot. In fact the only key differences really are that cycling is worse because it gets in the way of other people more than cliffdiving does, and that cliffdivers are not generally so vitriolic about persecuting those who do not want to join them.
Cycling is incompatible with motoring.
Bicycles are just big enough to get in the way. They travel at just the speed that usually causes them to indeed get in the way. It will always be dangerous to mix the two together and the car or bus user will always be stuck behind, unable to overtake, which is antisocial and inefficient on the part of the cyclist.
No matter how much cycling is encouraged, it will never be in any way attractive for most people in most situations for most journeys. Therefore cycling cannot be a replacement for other forms of transport. If it cannot be a replacement, and is not compatible with other road users, then it is not a good idea.
The only way to make it viable would be to copy Milton Keynes - create a totally segregated cycle network that does not involve cycling on the road. The MK network is a brilliant design as it uses bridges and subways to avoid even crossing the roads at junctions. Cyclists can be happy and so can other road users. Perfect. But for other councils, are they really going to redesign the entire town or city? Are they going to practically bulldoze the whole place and rebuild? That would probably be a good idea but I can't see it happening. And if it did happen it would be unfair to spend so much money on a niche form of transport, so to make it fair you would need to build new dual carriageways and elevated monorails at the same time, further increasing the budget.
To spend money encouraging cycling on the existing roads will cause accidents. It will make the other forms of transport slower and more frustrating for everyone else. It will strain council budgets further. And occasionally, it will cost frustrated young accountants their jobs.