A plea to 'heads down, I’m not slowing down' road cyclists. Please bring back the bicycle bell or modern day equivalent - and keep your distance. Rule 66 in the Highway Code states: “Be considerate of other road users…Let them know you are there when necessary, for example, by ringing your bell if you have one. It is recommended that a bell be fitted.”

As a 70-year-old trying to achieve a minimum fitness level and lose a few pounds during the lockdown I must have cycled several hundred miles on our local roads during the past few months and for the most part it’s been very enjoyable.

However, having been overtaken by hundreds of other road cyclists there’s only one problem - not once has a 'proper road cyclist' rung a bell or shouted 'passing', or 'get out the way'. A few have nodded or said 'Hi' as they pass me, which is ok but too late really to give me time to pull off the road.

It may not be cool to have bell on a lightweight road bike (electronic ones are available for less than tenner). Pedestrians have commented to me about the same issue.

I do have a bell and use it to let walkers know that I am approaching them as a matter of courtesy. To avoid neck ache I have now fitted a rear view mirror, to avoid having to keep turning round.

It used to be a legal requirement for bike sellers to make sure they had a bell at the point of sale, but the buyer could take it off and that was legal.

Since 1999 bike shops no longer have to fit bells, which is odd, given that many road cyclists will often be doing 30 to 40 miles an hour (sometimes more going downhill). The other issue at the moment is the need to allow at least one metre when passing, (currently two metres at time of writing).

It’s also noticeable that even at the peak of the pandemic many cyclists have often been close to each other. I’m not referring to those who are couples or family groups.

The ultimate was on Saturday June 27 on the road between Barden and Bolton Abbey when suddenly a peloton of at least eight riders, the first I’ve seen for three months, were suddenly alongside me, all bunched up, two abreast, no social distancing, (what pandemic?), and all close to me. A great way to spread the virus around.

If the government and the county council are to invest more in cycling schemes and designating more of our highways for cyclists, which I am in favour of, perhaps they are also to give some priority to educating adult cyclists to show a bit more consideration.

In the meantime if you are going to overtake me please shout 'passing' or something else to let me know you are coming and respect the social distancing requirements. You might think you are indestructible but the rest of us may not be.

If anyone is interested in forming the 'Bring Back the Bicycle Bell Party' before the next election do let me know.

David Allison

Brackenley Close