How do we make our roads safer for cyclists?

‘Cyclists killed in Britain so far this year outnumber British soldiers killed in Afghanistan by more than two to one, while twice as many people per year die on their bikes in Britain as die from gun crime.’ From the Times

Quite a shocking statistic, would you not agree?

Stephen Hammond, road safety minister, said that £30m had been invested this year to tackle dangerous junctions for cyclists and that a THINK! cycle safety awareness campaign had been launched in September this year.

How effective is the THINK! Campaign? It is ‘advice to drivers and cyclists how to stay safe on the road’ says the government. Is that enough?


Have a read. The first one says a helmet. BUT WAIT! I thought helmets were not law in the UK?

The list of things a cyclist should do is lengthy compared to the few bullet points a car driver gets.

I had an online heated discussion with someone who was arguing about the LAW that says cyclists should have reflectors on their pedals. For a start, this discounts all clipless pedals, as those do not have reflectors. So, in turn that means the majority of serious cyclists with cycle shoes, etc are ‘breaking the law’? I would welcome your thoughts on that one, because in my experience, those cyclists with clip in shoes usually have better kit, better visibility, better protective clothing that those with pedals and trainers on.

According to the THINK! Campaign, the number of cyclists killed on the roads has been falling each year since 2010.

Research shows that a road safety publicity campaign, by itself, has only modest impact on attitudes and behaviour and no significant impact on crashes. Campaigns work best when combined with other interventions, such as enforcement of traffic laws and regulations, or provision of other safety services and products.

Some research suggests that helmet law would ‘violate a person’s freedom’. Indeed here is a paper that argues against compulsory cycle helmet law.

Here is a website that is worth a look, if you want to look into cycle law around the world.

The arguments include stats that show that helmet law discouraged cyclists from using bikes. The angle here is that the health benefits outweigh the stats that show a cyclist is injured or killed. IE more of us get fit from cycling that die while cycling.

It goes on to say in a different outlook that behaviour alterations caused by wearing a helmet account for increased safety of cyclists while wearing them. The placebo effect? Who cares, if wearing one makes people behave more responsibly, then let’s all wear one? It is said that road safety is more affective over cycling deaths. Well, naturally, there is more than one factor in play here!! It is a multi faceted approach, is it not?

Here is an ANTI helmet law campaign video:

And here is James Cracknell’s Helmet appeal message:

Earlier this week Brian Florey was killed while cycling in London. The Evening Standard reported on the story, saying London was not an inviting place for cyclists.

This is not a simple answer. But surely these factors need to be ALL accounted for?

  • Increased cyclist awareness re cycling safely
  • Increased driver awareness re other road users
  • Increased cycling facilities by way of cycle roads / lanes etc that are separate from traffic
  • Law and legislation review. How exactly will it be reinforced?

Here is one final view: a Guardian writer that does make a little bit of sense. Are we expecting too much for cyclists to share the road with the heavy volume of traffic in our cities these days? Is the key to the solution separation with proper cycle lanes?

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