Safe cycling

David Boardman writes:

If cycling looks and feels normal, more people will cycle (British Cycling research has shown that two thirds of people would cycle more if they felt safer). The more people cycle, the safer they are – the safety in numbers effect. The more people cycle, the more lives will be saved from amongst the 37,000 that die each year from obesity-related illnesses. Never mind the more than 27,000 that die annually from pollution-related illnesses.

In contrast, there are approximately 116 cyclists tragically killed in the UK each year, that’s one per every 1000 times around the planet. Cycling is statistically safer than gardening and yet it doesn’t feel like it when you’re cycling next to a lorry or car that gets too close at a busy junction.

People wear helmets and high vis as they feel it’s all they can do to keep themselves safe. It shows just how far away Britain is from embracing cycling as a normal and convenient form of transport.

For an insight into why I know helmets are not the answer to keeping people on bikes safe, I urge you to spend just two minutes (or even just 30 seconds) of your time watching this video People wear helmets and high vis as they feel it’s all they can do to keep themselves safe. It shows just how far away Britain is from embracing cycling as a normal and convenient form of transport.

For an insight into why I know helmets are not the answer to keeping people on bikes safe, I urge you to spend just two minutes (or even just 30 seconds) of your time watching this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-AbPav5E5M&noredirect=

This is Utrecht in the Netherlands, it’s just 250 miles from London where helmet use is less than 0.5% and there isn’t a stitch of high vis in sight. They have an incredible safety record and some of the lowest casualty rate of anywhere in the world.

I’m willing to bet that even those that swear by helmets and high vis would feel comfortable discarding their body armour in such an environment. And that’s the point; in Utrecht they have addressed the real dangers to cyclists.

Ted Liddle writes: Hexham isn’t Utrecht and that’s why I will continue wearing a helmet and high vis.

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