Just as you're never more than 6ft away from a rat in London, you're never more than 6 clicks away from an argument on Twitter. 

In this miserable online age, everyone is right and everyone else is wrong. And there is no better example than cyclists vs motorists. It's all I ever seem to see whenever I log on.

The endless Jeremy Vine vs white van men conflict makes The Wars of the Roses look like an afternoon of dressage and it really needs to stop.

Vine is a proud and passionate cyclist who propagates the idea of shaming drivers online in a bid to educate them. This, strangely enough, has the complete opposite effect.

Whether the 59-year-old television and radio presenter is right or wrong, he is subjected to a barrage of hate on either occasion. People openly wish for Vine to be "splattered like a pancake" or otherwise killed. 

Latest official statistics reveal that 83 cyclists lost their lives on UK roads in the year to end-June 2023. There is zero excuse for wishing death on anyone.

Motorists, on the other hand, are often targeted by cyclists. I turn your attention to Cycling Mikey.

Michael van Erp, better known as CyclingMikey, is a London-based YouTuber who films drivers using their mobile phones as well as committing other traffic offences, footage of which he reports to the police, and later uploads online.

Mikey claims to have caught over 2,000 offenders since first strapping on his 'helmet-cam' back in 2006 - with his motoring victims including Frank Lampard, Guy Ritchie and Chris Eubank.

However, most of these 'offenders', have been at a standstill in traffic.

Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson once said of Mikey: "So what’s my beef? Well, first of all, most of the people he catches using the phone are stuck in a traffic jam.

"And while it’s technically illegal to use a hand-held communication device while stationary, we all know using a phone in a car that’s not moving is as dangerous as knitting. And then there are the people who briefly pop on to the wrong side of the road to turn right. It’s not exactly Waco, is it? Even shoplifting is a worse crime. Dropping litter definitely is."

A problem no one is talking about

I'm a cyclist myself and have had two serious accidents over the past few years. And do you know what? Neither involved a driver. 

The first accident occurred when I was living in Kent. I was on a downhill whilst cycling to Chatham when a pothole came out of nowhere. The angle of the downhill somewhat hid the approaching danger from me and before I knew it, I was hurtling through the air.

This being my first time, I landed horribly on my head and shoulder, popping the latter out completely. A half-hour later, I was in the hospital having my dislocated shoulder put in a sling (yes, a sling, not back in place) and my cuts and bruises cleaned.
My clavicle now acts as a sort of skeletal parrot poking up through whatever top I wear.My clavicle now acts as a sort of skeletal parrot poking up through whatever top I wear. (Image: Newsquest) Because the doctors decided not to sort the shoulder out, it naturally got worse over time. My clavicle now resembles a sort of skeletal parrot poking up through whatever top I wear and I need surgery - again - on it. God knows when that’ll happen. 

The second accident happened just recently, at the start of this month in fact. I was cycling to Brighton with a friend, planning on staying there for a night before exploring the south coast of England.

In a village just outside of Brighton, I hit the mother of all potholes. Once again it was tough to spot due to it being placed awkwardly on a steep downhill. This time, however, was not my first rodeo. A piked 2.5 somersault with 2.5 backward twists later, I was on my feet and assessing the damage. Just cuts and bruises for me this time, but my bike was beyond repair.

I was tremendously lucky on both occasions all things considered.

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Potholes are the bane of both drivers and cyclists and I don't think they are taken seriously enough. In the period between 2018 and 2022, some 451 people were severely injured or killed due to pothole-related incidents across England, Scotland, and Wales.

According to Cycling UK, one cyclist is either killed or seriously injured every week due to pothole-related incidents. 

Mark Morrell has been Britain's leading pothole campaigner for the last decade and predicts the number of deaths will be the tip of the iceberg.

He told the Mirror: "I've met families whose relatives have been killed by potholes, it's devastating. The dangers are huge - possible deaths and life-changing injuries. It might look like an innocent puddle but you don't know what is below. Cyclists are very vulnerable.

"Our network is failing. We are going to have more deaths, injuries and damage to vehicles."

In January 2022, retired teacher Harry Colledge of Winmarleigh, Lancashire, suffered a fatal brain injury after his bicycle got lodged in a decade-old crack in the road, described as a 6in-deep 'trench'.

On March 29, 2021, Jennifer Dyer was cycling along the B2188 near Groombridge, Sussex, when her bike struck a pothole, which had been camouflaged by 'dappled sunlight and tree branch shadows'. Jennifer was then 'catapulted' from her bicycle, before colliding with a van. She tragically died from her injuries.

For drivers, there is a lesser chance of fatal injuries when it comes to potholes, but that doesn't mean they should be taken lightly.

Do you know how expensive potholes can be? The most common types of damage are loss of a hubcap, a damaged tyre, a bent or broken wheel, wheels knocked out of alignment, damaged suspension components, bent steering parts, and damaged shock absorbers.

Pothole damage to vehicles hit a five-year high in 2023, according to new figures from the AA, costing drivers a huge £474 million.

The cyclist vs motorist war is so tedious when you consider the bigger problems at hand.

Instead of trying to stoke tensions, try and work together to help tackle the serious issues that affect you both. Drink drivers, dangerous drivers, dangerous cyclists, and, potholes.

Complain to your council, complain to your MP, make British roads safe again and stop point-scoring on Twitter.