A SOUTH Tyneside cycling champion has made a call for more respect on the roads after a hard-hitting TV documentary highlighted the life-threatening dangers facing cyclists and motorists every day.
Joe Waugh, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 1982, who also represented Britain in the 1976 Montreal and 1984 Moscow Olympics, says he was “astounded” by BBC’s War on Britain’s Roads broadcast.
Mr Waugh, 60, of Patterdale Close, East Boldon, who has run M.Steel Cycles in Gosforth since 1984, has called for more safety measures to be put in place, as well as more careful commuting to produce highway harmony and potentially save lives.
The documentary utilised head camera footage, recorded by cyclists, to show collisions between cyclists and motorists, as well as heated rows after road incidents, demonstrating the uneasy relationships between those on two wheels and four.
The show caused a huge stir after being broadcast last week, with motorists and cyclists pinning the blame on each other for road rage rows and collisions.
The number of road accidents involving cyclists reached a new high in 2011, with 3,000 people seriously or fatally injured in collisions, with 75 per cent of those incidents occuring on, or near a junction.
Mr Waugh said: “I have been cycling for over 45 years and I am often astonished at how both motorists and cyclists use the roads.
“I know firsthand the consequences of a dangerous driving, as in 1983 I was nearly killed after a collision with a drunken motorist who hadn’t seen me.
“I think it is so important that the correct provisions are made by local governments, and that all road users have the same respect for each other whether they’re using a motorised vehicle or not. We’re all taught the Highway Code from a very early age, but it would seem that not all road users adhere to it, unless it is of benefit to them.
“I’m the first person to tell another cyclist that they’re riding dangerously, and I’m no stranger to witnessing the accidents that follow the decision to jump a red light.
“Cyclists have picked up a bad reputation over the past few years, thanks to those who don’t follow simple road safety rules; I’m often ashamed to be a cyclist when I see people making these mistakes.”