FOR more than a year now the Guardian has promoted cycling on these very pages with its weekly Pedal Power campaign.

It has championed all of the benefits cycling can bring.

However, a report in my local paper highlighted a thorny subject for me.

Apparently, the body responsible for transport and road safety in my area is installing so-called Trixi safety mirrors at key road junctions as part of a scheme which will also include more advance stop lines for cyclists at junctions.

Some of this junction improvement work will see large, convex ‘Trixi’ mirrors fitted to traffic signals to give drivers of large vehicles better visibility of cyclists, who can be caught in a blind spot.

The secondary effect of these mirrors, apparently, is to raise awareness of cyclists on the road and the need to share space respectfully.

So lorry drivers stopped at the lights will see the mirrors and think ‘ah yes, must look out for cyclists’.

The advance stop lines for cyclists are also being marked at some junctions, allowing cyclists to position themselves ahead of and in full view of other traffic, away from exhaust fumes.

Apparently, according to a spokesman for the body responsible for the scheme, the mirrors and advanced stop zones ‘will only help if everyone shares our roads in a respectful, caring way’.

The spokesman went on to add there were plans to invest in traffic-free cycle routes, reduced speed zones and developing other measures at junctions to help cyclists.

I am given to understand the scheme will cost in the region of £650,000 of Government money and will in part be administered by the charity Sustrans.

Sustrans’ regional director for the north west, Eleanor Roaf, is reported as saying: “By increasing the visibility of cyclists while also giving them priority at junctions the chance of an incident occurring between a cyclist and motorist is significantly reduced.”

All well and good. Brilliant news, some may say.

But let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

Now I fully understand that in a collision between a motor vehicle and a bike, the bike – and its rider – is likely to come off second best.

And I also know that the now received wisdom is that all cyclists are good and all drivers are bad but the recent evidence of my own personal experience is somewhat different.

I have a fairly arduous commute, partly motorway and partly on busy, urban roads.

And it’s on those urban roads where I have witnessed some sights that really should never have happened.

One night, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a cyclist pull up in the smallest of gaps next to a lorry which was clearly indicating it was turning left.

As the lights changed, the cyclist tried to dart away in front of the lorry but was too slow. As the lorry started its turn, the cyclist was increasingly squeezed against the kerb and only avoided being crushed by mounting the pavement.

That was bad enough but the stream of abuse, complete with hand gestures, directed at the lorry driver was totally unacceptable.

Surely the first step in ensuring safety for cyclists is for cyclists to start putting their own safety first.

That was a pretty dramatic incident but on my commute I regularly have to deal with cyclists riding in the middle of a main road, forcing traffic behind him (it’s always a him) to either crawl along at cycling speed or take their life into their hands and try to get past by going into the oncoming traffic lane.

Then we have the idiots who think it’s OK to ride without lights.

Or how about those cyclists who think it’s within their right to ‘jump’ traffic lights, just because they can or who also see pavements as part of their fiefdom?

I understand that drivers don’t own the road.

But then again, neither do cyclists and if we want everyone to ‘share our roads in a respectful, caring way’, there are some cyclists out there who really need to look at their own behaviour first.

In an island as crowded and busy as ours, perhaps the only real answer is to provide a road system where bikes and cars are kept completely separate. I welcome that day.

n Quick update on last week’s column.

After all the anguish about holes being dug in my drive, those nice people from the Gas Alliance have now agreed to dig up the somewhat botched reinstatement work and do it again to match the existing surface as best they can.

We live in hope.