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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 09:10 GMT
Time for rethink on cycle safety
Cyclist Malcolm Wardlaw was spurred to write after taking exception to Lothian and Borders Police's autumn safety campaign. Malcolm says a more positive approach to cycling will prompt more people to use their bikes and reduce accidents.

TIME TO GET ON YOUR BIKES

Cast your mind back to the autumn safety campaign for Edinburgh cyclists: "Campaign to reduce cyclist deaths" (BBC news website, 20 September).

Police data showed that rising cycle use in Edinburgh had led to an increase in deaths, from one during 1995-2000 to nine during 2000-2005. That was pretty shocking stuff. The wisdom of getting people on bikes at all was in question.

Well, let me put your fears to rest. The police got their facts wrong.

The recent Leader's Report of Edinburgh City Council stated there were four cyclist deaths in the city during 1995-99 and four deaths during 2000-04.

Malcolm Wardlaw
Malcolm said ordinary cycling is a low-risk mode of transport
So deaths (and serious injuries) in Edinburgh actually remained constant, while cycle use increased by at least 50%. More cyclists meant much safer cycling. But that was not the message the public got.

This kind of blundering contempt for the facts is poisoning the image of cycling.

Everyone is finding bad news because that is what they expect to find. Either they get their facts wrong, or else they read them in the worst possible way.

Even the belief that cycling is "dangerous" fails reality check; ordinary cycling is a low-risk mode of travel much like walking.

However, cycling is a minority pursuit. Look at what we are a minority in... panem et circenses spectaculaire. Can cyclists afford to take chances with their image?

There is nothing strange about more bikes making for safer cycling. On the contrary, it is the rule.

Since the Congestion Charge was introduced in London, there has been 40% more cycling, yet casualties have fallen.

The aim of the campaign was to highlight the measures that cyclists can take in order to reduce the risks to themselves
Chief Inspector Kenny Buchanan

The City of York has also got more folk on their bikes, with falling casualties. It is forgotten that after the Oil Crisis of the 1970s, cycle use in Britain grew by about 50% in 10 years, yet annual fatalities actually fell by 10%.

All cities and countries that have boosted cycling have enjoyed the power of the "safety in numbers" effect, along with better public health. The benefits of more cycling are a no-brainer.

Since the early 1980s, cycle use in Britain has been in chronic decline. I suspect this is one reason why cyclists have felt a sense of increasing danger.

Less cycling is dangerous. It is time to get that trend back to the upside. We must attract millions to get a bike and get some training and get out there. That's our pass to a better cycling future. So go bring them in!

We asked for your views on Mr Wardlaw and Chief Inspector Buchanan's articles. The following represents the balance of opinions we received.

Each person cycling to work, equals one less person driving to work, equals shorter traffic queues. Car drivers should be more appreciative of the efforts made by cycling commuters on their behalf rather than sitting on their backsides in their cars whining about cyclists not having lights.
Keith Westhead, Edinburgh

Please note the incident which I was involved in only last night. Not one driver stopped to enquire about whether I was ok. My normal cycle route home between Glasgow and Paisley takes me along Paisley Road West/Glasgow Road. I was returning home last night at approximately 7pm adjacent to the top of Barshaw Park Hill when I noticed a sliver Ford Fiesta parked in the inside lane. The passenger had got out the car and was proceeding slowly across the road, or so I thought. As I approached the guy, 17/18 years old, he proceeded to grab my left arm and punch me in the back! Fortunately I was carrying enough speed uphill to keep a steady line. Stopping at the side of the road in astonishment, the Fiesta then started speeding towards me as I jumped onto the pavement out of the way. Just thought I'd make other fellow cycling commuters aware of this very bizarre and out of the blue occurrence.
Paisley to Glasgow Commuter, Paisley

As a teenager, I was introduced to road cycling by my father, joining a cycling club and eventually took part racing for my club. I don't feel it is safe nowadays to introduce my son to cycling in the same way. I observe drivers and recognise that many drive with no consideration for any other road users. On the other side, I see cyclists in many instances, putting themselves into dangerous situations. A road cycle test (done at school, as part of the driving test and a stand-alone test for existing drivers) covering both how to cycle and how to avoid hitting cyclists, may help to raise awareness on both sides.
Craig Sim, Aberdeen

Today I nearly got hit by a cyclist who decided to go through a red traffic light at a pedestrian crossing with the green man on outside Pret a Manger in St Vincent Street. He was cycling between a bus and van so there was no way I knew he was coming. This I find a total disgrace. I actually know his face as he is a courier and has previously delivered to my work building so I have a right mind to let the police or his place of work know how irresponsible he is.
CM, Glasgow

I live in London and cycle to work every day. What the drivers who complain about cyclists not being liable for road tax appear to forget is that the majority of cyclists outwith London also own (& pay tax on) cars: the fact that they make a proportion of their journeys by bike saves wear and tear on the roads, decreases pollution and congestion and is therefore to the benefit of all and should be encouraged. There has been a huge increase in cycling here since the congestion charge's introduction. Not only can those who need to drive now get to their destinations quicker, but cyclists are enjoying the benefit of safety in numbers, and the air that Londoners breathe is cleaner. All we need now is for drivers to realise that the nice green strips we have at the edge of a few of the city's roads aren't parking spaces and we'll be laughing.
Eilidh , London

I would love to live in a country where cycling is accepted and encouraged by all age groups and professions, however until we have the proper cycle lanes the cyclists will always be a nuisance and danger to themselves, road users and pedestrians.
Liz Alexander, Glasgow

As both a cyclist who commutes regularly into Edinburgh from Linlithgow and a motorist I see both sides of this problem. When it comes down to it we are all people and a proportion of us whether cyclists, motorists or pedestrians will behave irresponsibly. However the one argument that doesn't stand up is made by those motorists who mistakenly believe that paying road tax somehow gives them more rights to use the road than anyone else. Road tax doesn't begin to cover the cost to health and the environment of the pollution generated in exhaust emissions, noise, wear and tear on the roads, injuries to people and property through accidents and the cost of disposing of cars when they have reached the end of their useful life. Given the choice I would cycle every time
Neil Munro, Linlithgow

If the abuse I've received when cycling on the (obvious and green) designated cycle path along Cambridge Street and down past Cowcaddens Underground to "get off the pavement" is anything to go by, then maybe the ignorant commentators here might take a better look next time they decide to hurl insults before they make themselves look even more stupid.
Pamela, Glasgow

Interested by Diane's comments that she has to drive, as her place of work is 16 miles away. I regularly make my 17.5 mile commute by bike and I know others cycle a good deal further daily.
Paul, Aberdeen

As always in these debates, the car drivers who are not cyclists usually fail to see that they are part of the problem. Drivers flout the rules of the road at least as much as cyclists. I have a car and pay my road tax but I choose to cycle to work. Many drivers could do the same. This would improve their health, save them money, make the roads safer and make a positive contribution to the environment. Drivers please stop whinging and try and take a more balanced view. Ask yourselves what you can do to improve the situation on our roads and in our environment.
David Foggo, Edinburgh

Interesting selection of comments, which reflect the difficulties encountered by cyclists every day. The lady who has taken against cyclists in a big way since learning to drive (big deal) sums up the general view of cyclists in the UK - that of hatred. No other country in the world regards cyclists with quite as much venom as the UK. We go on the pavement - pedestrians shout at us (even those of us going very slowly, allowing pedestrians right of way, using a bell, etc.) and call the cops. We go on the road - we get shouted at and abused by motorists too (that is if they don't knock us over first). Cyclists in this country have simply nowhere to go - no council is willing to commit enough resources to proper cycle lanes etc., and so long as this attitude of contempt prevails, we'll continue to poison our cities with more and more cars.
Anne, Cardiff(ex-pat from Glasgow)

I have been an active cyclist for approximately 35 years. Within that period I have had two major accidents. In the first I was hit by an overtaking car (hit-and-run) on a blind bend. The result was a broken leg and collar bone. In the second I rode into a farm gate in the dark. Stupid. The result was a broken and now steel-plated, right forearm. The point I am trying to make is this. In an accident, if the cyclist is at fault, he or she gets hurt. If the cyclist is not at fault, he or she gets hurt. All cyclists therefore need to both protect themselves adequately both in terms of physical protection, increased visibility and to ride defensively. Additionally, all motorists need to be aware that their car, when travelling at even low speeds, is a lethal battering-ram that can smash the most robust of human bodies if there is a collision. Let's please all be more aware of the possible consequences of an accident, not bicker on about bike lanes, red light jumping et al, and act accordingly.
Derek Angelis, Stow

Separate cycling lanes - go lobby for it. Twenty per cent of children get to creche/school on the back of their parents' bikes, 15% of people cycle to work and home every day. Introduce on-the-spot fines for not having lights on your bike, skipping red lights, carrying furniture, walking your dog while sitting on your bike... that'll generate money to finance the separate lanes. Bikes are cleaner and safer for the long-term environment but people's circumstances often require using the car so push your councils for safer roads for everyone.
Debbie Benslimane, Amsterdam

I cycle most of the year but drive through the depth of winter because I can see how easy it is not to notice cyclists on a cold dark Friday night when it's raining and the salt from the road smears your windscreen - my assessment of the risk puts me in my car from November to March. However, I still see cyclists in dark clothing with little or no lighting. I also regularly see the police drive right past these cyclists - unless the police start taking positive action little will change. On the other side of the fence I see motorists parking in cycle lanes [which is not illegal in most cases - but should be - they are there for a reason - to give cyclists some room - please paint double yellows on all cycle lanes]. I see drivers pay no regard to the advanced stop lines [how many drivers know what they are for?]. I see drivers pass cyclists and then instantly forget that they are there and cut back towards the kerb.
Brian, Edinburgh

First of all helmets are not a legal requirement for a good reason - they're a waste of time. People don't die in collisions because of broken skulls, they die because the momentum change in the collision causes the brain to bounce around, leading to fatal trauma. Next, please understand that the cycling community condemns those who ride without lights, on the pavement, and those who routinely jump reds. The people that do these things are 'blokes on bikes', not 'cyclists', we like to say. Would you be happy if I disrespected you in your Volvo because a boy racer in an uninsured Nova hit me a month ago? No, you'd scream about how different you are from him. Well, I'm different from the guy that jumps reds. Don't tar us all with the same brush. Cyclists have if anything more right to use the roads. Road tax is not ring-fenced to the highways, it is a small levy designed to reimburse the Treasury for the damage motors cause to the roads. Motors are licensed, and as such are tolerated on the roads, with restrictions. Anyone is allowed to ride any bike on any road (bar motorways) without restriction. Bikes have a right to use the roads, motors are merely permitted to.
Jon, Oxford

I cycle to work on a daily basis through the centre of Edinburgh and at least once a week end up in a near collision with a pedestrian who crosses the road when the pedestrian lights are red. As for the red boxes, I consider myself lucky to get into one, as they are normally filled with motor vehicles, or it is impossible to get through the traffic to reach them. The bike lanes which exist are good - except when people park (legally or not) in them. In that situation the cyclist has to pull out into the car lane anyway. I don't condone cyclists who break the rules, but I think if motorists were more considerate, fewer cyclists would feel that there was an advantage to do so.
Fiona, Edinburgh

I agree with all of the comments made about taxing cyclists and making them more responsible for their own actions on the road. I have to drive to work as my place of employment is 16 miles away. I invested a lot of time and money in learning to drive, whereas it takes a fraction of this and no official training course to get on a bike and cause a great deal of trouble to other road users. Tax cyclists and make them sit official tests - then I may sympathise with them!
Diane, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

I have had several close calls with impatient drivers who like to drive just two feet away from your back wheel. Overtaking by cars on residential streets is a very scary experience. I've had cars overtake me on blind corners. As I pull out to overtake a parked car on the street they just flash past in the small gap, speeding up suddenly as they drive past you, or getting far too close to me as they are overtaking within at least a foot of me. The green lanes in Edinburgh are not too bad in my experience, most bus drivers or lorry drivers give you a lot of room and respect but taxi drivers are the worst. Several times I've been clipped by a taxi wing mirror as they've overtaken me at great speed, I have the bumps and bruises to prove it. I follow the rules of the road and I know that some fellow cyclists who break rules only do so to ensure their own safety on the road. Drivers need to be educated to be more respectful of cyclists on the road, otherwise we will continue to flaunt the rules of the road to ensure our own safety. For cyclists the best thing to do is carry a mobile-camera-phone and photograph any offending cars if you can and take it to the police.
Gordon Lyons, Edinburgh

I can understand some of what Alan Green says, but I choose to dismount my bicycle and cross the road on foot when I arrive at roundabouts, simply because drivers have very little courtesy towards cyclists at the best of times, and roundabouts are notorious for near misses and accidents. Does he consider such behaviour to be worthy of police intervention, or is it not just common sense?
Mark McDonald, Aberdeen

I got heckled by a pedestrian once for choosing to cycle on a wide, empty pavement rather than a busy road. He swore, telling me to "use a cycle path", despite the fact that, well, there wasn't one.
Chris Walker, Aberdeen

I agree with many people here frustrated by the minority of cyclists that jump red lights etc. but it really is a minor annoyance. I was hit twice by cars last year, once by a very apologetic cabby and once by someone that looked like a lawyer who saw the gap in stationary traffic on the Mound and drove through without looking, he then drove off. We need protection as well as persecution. I am an experienced cyclist and I worry a lot more for those starting being killed than for the minority damaging a car.
Craig Thomson, Edinburgh

Cycling will remain dangerous while the roads are full of potholes causing cyclists to swerve unpredictably or cycle in the middle of the carriageway. The latter reduces car speed to 20mph or less, frustrates drivers and stimulates risky behaviour to overtake. Cycle lanes painted down the side of the road only work if accompanied by double yellow lines. One vehicle parked across the lane on a busy road and the cyclist is faced with a problem - an even bigger one if the vehicle blocks the pavement as well. Sharing pavements can work on rural roads but is lethal on pavements where pedestrians walk - many bikes these days do not have bells and they come up behind you very quietly. Teenagers quite often cycle in pairs and expect you to move - difficult if you are an OAP with Parkinsons like my mum. So the situation is not straightforward.
Rosemary Wilkinson, Renfrewshire

The so-called "facilities" for cyclists in Glasgow take some believing. Look at Lancefield Quay for instance: cyclists routed along a pavement shared with pedestrians which isn't wide enough for two cycles to pass. Paths are strewn with debris and constantly interrupted by street furniture; another cycle "route" in Pollok is sent along a pavement right in front of shop entrances and through the middle of a cashpoint queue; and so on ad-nauseam. So much for encouraging cycle use: these facilities are a danger in their own right.
Martin Bucknall, Glasgow

I would love to cycle around town, however my attempt at a simple commute of 10 minutes would leave me so frustrated and scared by the number of drivers who were totally unaware of cyclists or would just assume they could try to hit me or cut me up, that I would soon have to stop. Also, does it seem strange to anyone else that the one mode of transport that doesn't always come with suspension is made to travel on the worst part of the road, the bit that once the buses have torn up they even avoid. I agree that there are a lot of cyclists out there who cycle badly and don't follow simple common sense but it doesn't excuse people trying to hit them with something that could kill them. My husband was recently hit by a bus and when he pointed out to the driver what had happened the driver told him he shouldn't be on the road anyway. The driver was lucky because if it had been me he had hit I would have fallen off and been under the wheels of his bus! Maybe it's time the government concentrated on educating drivers about cyclists too rather than putting all the blame on cyclists.
Jennie, Edinburgh

I think car drivers should be made to take a cycling test. As a walker, a cyclist and a driver, when I am in my car I am much more aware of cyclists - and other road users, too - since I started cycling. If cycling became part of the driving test, I am sure safety for cyclists would improve immeasurably.
Patrick Hadfield, Edinburgh

If cycling is to be encouraged the cyclist needs to be treated with much more tolerance. Here in Strasbourg every pedestrian area is open to cyclists with no apparent problems and even the DfT advises that cycling should be allowed in pedestrian areas. Unfortunately anti-cycling prejudice seems a greater determinant of policy in the UK than simple facts. For example, there are only 60 or so recorded injuries to pedestrians involving a cyclist on a footway, shared path or similar each year in the whole of the UK and fatalities are exceedingly rare. However, each year around 3,400 people are injured, many very seriously, and 40 or so actually killed as a result of being hit by a motor vehicle as they walk on a footway. Despite this the press frequently whip up hysteria about the supposed 'danger' of pavement cyclists whilst ignoring the vastly greater danger posed to pedestrians by the users of motor vehicles.
Howard, Strasbourg

I have to go through red lights on my cycle ride home. Why? Because at a particularly busy junction in Edinburgh, as one set of lights goes red, the other set goes green at precisely the same second. Any vehicle (bike or car) that hasn't yet made it across the junction risks being hit from the side. Cyclists are most at risk as they tend to go slower. This junction is clearly not designed for cyclists, so I go through the red lights during the pedestrian crossing phase. At another junction I know, the lights are activated by the weight of a car on the pad under the road. If there are no cars, cyclists have to wait ages for one to come along - or go through the red light. So until traffic engineers start designing the streets for cyclists and not just cars, the police should focus on speeding motorists and bad parking, not victimising cyclists
Andy, Edinburgh

I have been cycling in and around Glasgow almost every day for years. It is my preferred mode of transport for work and play. I almost always use a network of off-road cycle trails which cover the city. There are many advantages. Cycling is safe and pollution-free and the health benefits obviously far outweigh any perceived risks. I have yet to witness an incident of 'cycle rage' though I do know that many cyclists behave badly on the roads - cycling up on pavements, running red lights etc. Many do not wear a helmet or use lights or a bell. All of these should be mandatory. This is an education issue for both cyclists and motorists. I think that the Scottish Executive and local authorities in Scotland should continue to develop off-road cycling facilities and promote safe cycling. Additionally, I would like to see councils enforcing parking bans on roadside cycle lanes. In Glasgow many motorists continue to park on these lanes forcing cyclists into the main traffic stream. It seems that the council departments who manage the roads are simply not speaking to the likes of Sustrans and other agencies involved in developing and maintaining these cycle lanes.
Thomas Marsden, Glasgow

Cyclists don't kill people - it's cars, lorries, etc. that have the power, weight and speed to do damage. Drivers flout the law (speeding, jumping lights, parking on pavements) yet write as if only cyclists act illegally. We need to drive with care and cycle with care. Cycling is great fun, good exercise and good for the environment. But most cyclists also use cars when appropriate so let's drive and cycle with care for each other.
Mike Whitehead, Tayport

I currently take the bus to work as I do not drive. I would like to travel by bike but I do not have the confidence to cycle on the busy roads between my home and work. Other road users seem to have no patience or tolerance for cyclists and I'm amazed that people are prepared to use their bikes in rush hour traffic. If there were dedicated cycle lanes I would be more likely to give it a go. Cycling is healthy and environmentally friendly and I think more should be done to encourage people to abandon their cars, and get on their bikes for the daily commute.
Katrina, Edinburgh

I live in Dundee but work in St Andrews and commute back and forth by car. I wish I lived close enough to my work so that I could cycle to my work and admire those who brave the elements and busy roads on these dark winter days. However what does annoy me about cyclists are those who ride on the car part of the road when there has been a cycle path provided for them. Between St Andrews and Leuchars station there is a great tarmac cycle path away from the road but people still have to queue behind cyclists who feel that they should stick to the main road. For a start it would be safer for the cyclists and less frustrating for the car drivers. We all want better cycle lanes and better public transport links but if we don't use what we've got how can we hope to improve the situation?
Adam Rucklidge, Dundee, UK

I'm sick, fed-up of cyclists claiming equal rights to the use of the roads and indeed demanding money be spent on extra provision for them. By law, motorists pay good money each year for the privilege of using the roads and have to shell out for insurance to pay for any damage they cause to others. As far as I can see, the majority of cyclists do not even invest in proper lights these days. Set up a level playing field, and maybe I'll take cycling in this country seriously.
Martin Butler, Markinch

In response to Ms Chapman's post, why do cyclists have as much right to roads as cars? Do they pay road tax? Do they obey the Highway Code? Do they concern themselves with their own safety? I'm sure most cyclists would claim that they do and it's a small minority that flaunt the rules. As a former motorcyclist I make sure that I look carefully for two-wheeled transport but am constantly amazed at the lack of care and attention they have on the road. If I drove my car without lights and without care and attention to other drivers then I would, quite rightly, be held to account. Many cyclists feel that they have a given right to do what they want, when they want and cars have to make way. A cyclist the other day crashed into my car, parked legally at the side of the road and then shouted at me when I challenged him. Why is it that no matter the state of repair of a bike that it is allowed onto the road? Take my advice, make sure your bike is roadworthy, get lights on, get a helmet, get insurance so that if you are in an accident you can pay for the damage and remember car drivers pay for the roads so we are not just an annoyance getting in your way.
Paul McCallum, Paisley

Glasgow's cycle lane network is terrible! Constant stop-start and often only the sort with dashed lines where cars can park in. And I've never seen the police stopping the chancers who like to drive up the bus lanes. So, we have to share the roads with cars most of the way. Of course cyclists have to follow the Highway Code and dress sensibly, but there are a lot of pushy motorists out there who need re-education about respect for other road users (on 2 wheels or more!)
Ian MacLaren, Glasgow

David Brown - I take it you don't work in Glasgow? As I haven't seen any cycle lanes whatsoever in the city of Glasgow. I am glad though when I get back to Edinburgh and see the cycle lanes, even though most people park their cars on them!
Duncan Turner, Edinburgh

I can't believe that other article from the police who are targeting the cyclists as the problem area. Sure there are some, but I commute to work and every day there's at least one incident that's very dangerous and in the last few months of cycling to my new work I've had one case of being driven off the road and into a wall. Not that the police care about that, a crime number raised on 14/11/2005 for this very incident remains open with no answer from the police. Presumably they are too busy teaching us cyclists how to protect ourselves from vehicles running us off the road. I am not the problem, the vehicles are. I wear everything I should and travel as any other road user, yet I'm cut up, pushed over the road, shouted at, have horns blasted at me, the list goes on.
Richard Brunton, Edinburgh

I cycle, I drive, I can see both sides of argument. However, as a cyclist, can I ask if pedestrians with dogs have a duty to both their own and my safety (when cycling) to keep their dogs on leads whilst using the disused railway cycle paths? The most dangerous part of my cycle to work is on these cycle paths, judged by the number of collisions I have witnessed. In my experience avoiding accidents on the road is related to riding sensibly and following the basic rules of the road. These rules do not exist on the cycle paths.
Duncan, Edinburgh

It is about time the police started stopping cyclist's who flout the basic traffic laws. The number who have no lights, cycle on pavements, go through traffic lights on red or get off their bike and walk through the lights on red are numerous. It is also about time cyclist should have to have insurance so that they can pay for damage they do to other vehicles and pedestrians.
Alan Green, Edinburgh

Whilst the police are right to target cyclists every so often, just as they do other road users, I have to question their campaign. Chief Inspector Buchanan once more proselytises helmet use. However, he fails to mention that it is not illegal to not wear a helmet and if I was stopped by a policeman and told to wear a helmet he would be getting a letter of complaint. He also fails to mention that a cyclist being hit by a car is not going to be saved by a helmet. Take last week's tragedy in Wales. Nor does he explain why cyclists disobey many road rules; many are plain dangerous. Cyclists jump red lights because it is safer than fighting with the cars they are competing with at that junction. Personally I don't condone law breaking. It gives drivers justification for taking pot shots at cyclists. But in the greater scheme of things it is irrelevant. Indeed, I commute by car down the A7 to Galashiels. I feel safer when I am on my bike than when I am facing constant attempts on my life by other drivers on that road. I'm sure many across Scotland would echo that sentiment.
Tony Romain, Midlothian

Getting drivers used to cyclists is essential to their greater safety, as is curbing the enthusiastic excesses of some mountain bike riders who tent to ignore simple things like red lights and one way streets. As a mountain bike rider, one time cycle tourer, motorcyclist and car driver I do feel that some cyclists need to be stopped by the police for a quiet word on safety. The number of bikes at the moment being ridden in the city illuminated only by LED flashing lights is incredible. These LED beacons are very good at attracting momentary attention but they are not always effective at allowing drivers to judge distance in the dark, particularly on the A71 out of town for example. Safety works both ways, awareness and prosecutions for dozy drivers of trucks, buses and cars as well as the same for suicidal cyclists. As an aside, am I the only person that thinks putting buses, taxis and cycles on the same narrow green bit of road is a recipe for disaster?
Douglas Kinloch, Livingston

The cycle lanes in Aberdeen were introduced as a traffic calming measure....nothing to do with promoting cycling or a healthier way to get to work. They are useless because people park in them and the cyclist has to weave in and out along the road. If dedicated cycle lanes were created nationwide and goods transportation returned to the rail network, then far more people would use their cycles. It's too dangerous otherwise. We have to think big and long term.
Gordon Henderson, Aberdeen

I agree that cycling is a great way to get around a town. What really annoys me are cyclists who do not have proper lights, reflective clothing and helmets. Coming to work this morning, I saw at least 10 people not wearing helmets. The UK should be taking a lead from other countries by making it illegal to cycle anywhere without a helmet. I am also shocked at the number of dangerous things that cyclists think they can do, such as just riding on a pavement when there are cycle lanes and riding on the inside of cars when the cars have their indicators on to turn left. We need laws for cyclists so that everyone knows what they should be doing because at the moment they just do what they please, especially teenagers who I never see wearing a helmet. The government needs to sort out the laws to protect the cyclists as well as the drivers and pedestrians.
Caroline, Edinburgh

Let's start with getting cyclists off the pavements and on to the roads. It is ridiculous the number of cyclists I have to dodge when walking from the railway station to my place of work. There are cycle tracks clearly marked on the roads, but they do not use them. Cyclists are subject to the rules of the Highway Code just the same as motorists and pedestrians.
David Brown, Glasgow

Cycling is my primary and preferred mode of transport and it has been since 1998. In the last eight years, however, conditions for cyclists in Edinburgh appear to have worsened. Motorists seem to think that they have some divine right to use the road however they wish, with complete disregard for the inequality between a metal box on four wheels and a flimsy metal frame on two. I have frequently been sideswiped by motor cars, whose drivers obviously cannot bear to be behind someone who dares to use an alternative form of transport. Until motorists realise that cyclists have as much right to use the road as they, fewer people will be encouraged to use the most efficient, clean and energy neutral form of transport.
Maggie Chapman, Edinburgh, UK




SEE ALSO:
Campaign to reduce cyclist deaths
20 Sep 05 |  Scotland


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