Many thanks to Bob Downie for making the practical and philosophical case for cycling (Letters, December 30). Those involved in cycling development, and in fact in just cycling, often face a vociferous level of opposition including the kind experienced by East Dumbartonshire employees working on the Bear’s Way Cycle route: death threats. Nothing stirs up anger more than road rage, which not only occurs on the road itself but in the war of words over how we allocate the space between buildings. Bob Downie’s exhortation to be nice and to share may sound a bit trite, but it really isn’t. It is a position that unifies street design and the foundations of civilisation.

The anthropology of public space goes back at least 10,000 years. As we moved from hunger-gathering to agriculture, common space developed around family dwellings. The business of civilisation went on in that space. Communal space became, in ancient Greece, the foundation of scientific rationality, and this was possible because the plaza or village green was a safe place. Thus children playing, grandparents watching on and young and middle aged people exchanging ideas and goods all went on in this space where the most powerful machines were human or animal powered.

In the early 20th century all this began to change as motorised vehicles occupied places formerly purposed for people. The squares and crosses of towns and villages were the training ground for the human mind for thousands of years until about 1920, since which time an age of isolation, depression and anxiety has come about.

I sometimes wonder if the hysterical rage that surrounds arguments on cycling versus driving is partly caused by the fact that we have no arena, as the ancient Greeks had, to discuss ideas. Internet trolls need not look you in the eye when they threaten you, nor heed the call or reason. Cars have killed 45,000 Britons in the 21st century alone, bicycles less than 10. Joggers are more dangerous. The irrational calls one hears to insure cyclists and limit them to 3mph must in part be due to the lack of testing conceptual space as well as of the physical space in which testing occurs.

Norman Armstrong,

Free Wheel North,

47 Braeside Street,



Just as drivers have a responsibility towards cyclists, those cyclists who use footpaths need to look out more for pedestrians. Too many cyclists ride recklessly and at high speed on pavements, with scant regard for those on foot. The other day I was clipped at the shoulder by one.

I reported this to the police, making clear that I was less interested in the individual incident and more in making sure that the police took this danger more seriously. I was offered the deal that they would patrol the stretch of Alexandra Parade and talk to reckless cyclists, if I did not insist on filing a crime report. I would be kept up to date by phone. Well, that phone call never materialised. It is time the police gave some of their time to educating, and where needed cautioning, these cyclists, particularly near a school and bus stop.

Gerhard Mors,

255 Onslow Drive,