A TAUNTON road user says he would feel little sympathy a cyclist dressed in dark clothes and with dim lights if they were hit by a car.

Nigel Albright, who describes himself as a cyclist and a car driver, was reacting to a Gazette report outlining calls for motorists to give sufficient space to cyclists when passing.

Mr Albright said there is often an implication that cyclists are faultless and "blame rests purely on drivers".

He added: "There seldom seems to be any emphasis on cyclists making themselves suitably conspicuous.

"There appears to be a sector, often among serious cyclists, who have what I would call a culture of black and any lights they show are, not infrequently, quite small and relatively inconspicuous until you get close to them.

"There is also a large number of cyclists who travel without any lights in dark conditions – often seen around town.

"The culture of black, or wearing low-visibility clothing, either by accident or design, in modern traffic conditions seems to me to be inviting trouble.

"Such cyclists are often lost in low light conditions which includes shadow areas, for example on open roads, where speeds are obviously much faster and in bright sunlight where the shadows can appear almost black underneath or, in an avenue of trees.

"And yet it seems road safety seldom addresses these important issues. I am also surprised to often find how little high-vis cycle wear is either seen or promoted in cycle shops.

"Perhaps I should not say this and it might appear somewhat insensitive, but if anyone with a culture of black, for example, gets involved in a crash I am sorry to say I would have little sympathy for them.

"It seems to me quite ridiculous and indeed very thoughtless towards other road users to be dressed in such a way when cyclists are known to be so vulnerable on the roads."

Taunton Area Cycling Campaign runs a number of schemes to improve cyclist safety including one-to-one confidence skills training and the distribution of hi vis vests and back pack covers with the safe pass message.

Chairman Pip Sheard said: "We campaign for better cycling infrastructure to enable more people to cycle.

"Most drivers are considerate and give ample space to cyclists.

"We are very concerned by the almost daily reports nationally of bad driving taking the lives of cyclists or inflicting serious injury."

Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: "It is important that everyone plays their part in helping reduce accidents on the road.

"In particular, drivers should exercise caution by reducing their speed when passing through built-up areas where vulnerable road users are likely to be about, allowing older people and children more time to cross the road and giving cyclists and motorcyclists plenty of space when overtaking."