Friday, 3 August 2012

Cycling Safety

Bradley Wiggins comments on cycle safety following the latest cycling fatality have prompted some discussions. I agree with him that helmets should be compulsory on roads (well maybe just A roads), lights used when dark, mobiles and iPods etc banned when cycling. I also think that cyclists should be encouraged to wear high vis or brightly coloured clothing and have loud bells or horns (if only to warn pedestrians). However the main issue is with drivers driving too fast and not being aware of cyclists. These days most drivers seem to drive over the speed limits and only slow down for speed cameras. Why are we in such a rush? I accept that some are late for meetings and work and frustrated by jams etc, but I think many just like driving fast, fuelled by too much caffeine and loud music. Somehow we need to encourage a more laid back approach, but I'm not sure how. Segregating bike traffic is a good way forward too, as long as the surfaces are as good as or better than roads, and you are not forced to give way to roads at junctions. Often cyclists seem to be relegated to share bumpy footpaths with pedestrians, then to cross dual carriageways at roundabouts etc.

Some argue that the wearing of cycle helmets should be down to the individual and being forced to wear one is an infringment of human rights. The same arguements were said about wearing seat belts I remember. However consider the costs of a severe head injury in terms of air ambulance, intensive care and recovery in terms of National Health costs for the public and trauma for the victim's family. The wearing of high-vis clothing and loud horns is a bit different as they can protect the cyclist by avoiding accidents, which will reduce harm and costs to both parties. I can't ever see high-vis/bright clothing as being compulsory though - and wouldn't want to, but it does annoy me when I see road cyclists kitted in plain black on a gloomy day.


  1. I agree with all your views posted here Pete....
    I often find that using the 'bumpy' cycle path can be more dangerous than using the road...the lack of attention in their design re: leaving and rejoining roads and junctions as well as crossing roads makes it all seem like an after thought.
    As for the speed that motorists travel...well what can you just seems like lunacy...I feel that stricter enforcement is what is needed, but how is that possible with police numbers being cut back....

  2. I agree we need more enforcement on speeding motorists. Speed cameras certainly have helped, but the trouble is Satnavs tell you where they are! As you say the police are too stretched to do many spot checks. Speed bumps etc help a bit I suppose. It's a pity we can't somehow make it normal or even cool to stick to speed limits. I enjoy cruising along at or below the speed limits, although we usually don't venture far. Holding up a speed freak can be an added bonus, as long as it doesn't wind you up!