African Women Voices
“Get the hell out of my way!” Almost every frustrated Italian driver has shout or at least thought this when a cyclist materialised in front of him / her. Because in Italy, let’s say Rome, cyclist just stand on the street. Yes they do cycle, they are not still. But they
often move in groups as a herd on two wheels – like the Tour de France, cycling at an unbearable speed if you are on the four wheels.
This is a scenario I’m very familiar with. A scenario I almost forgot in the UK, where I don’t drive, I cycled, and mostly walk. However, sometimes I have a deja vu, which has something wrong. Because the situation that makes me re-living the past is actually quite different from the original one.
I am walking on the pavement, along the park. It’s a wonderful day, the river under the bridge creates a suggestive reflection of the trees and the sky. Then I feel a presence, incumbent, behind me. As I glance behind, I can see the cycling pathway on the street with the corner of my left eye, no one is there. Instead a cycling figure on two wheels comes toward me. I wouldn’t have seen him if I haven’t turn – I still miss the back eyes skill. I’m forced to give him the way to avoid him to slow down and the traffic on the pavement to stop. But inside me a sentence urges: “You, get out of my way!”
Eventually I’ve forgiven Italian cyclists who have no rights and no place to ride safely in many towns. But in a country where the public transport webpage comprehends a cycling section, in a country where cycling pathways are clearly signed on the road and among the news there are things like “Two new routes into central London open summer 2011”, well in this country I don’t accept it.