One of the highest trending news stories today is that of the tragic...
Olympic gold medal winner, Bradley Wiggins has already spoken out on the issue suggesting that this country needs a law enforcing helmet use. I have blogged before about my views on helmets. I am very supportive of them. However, I think the issue here is actually a lot deeper.
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I'm a keen cyclist; I probably cycle around 100 miles a week on London roads, in and out of the City. Yes I wear a helmet, and yes I feel it makes me safer. But there is so much more to it than that. As a cyclist in London, you find yourself sharing the road with a lot of other people. You really have to think as if you are a car driver sometimes, but I'm not sure this realisation has really kicked in for many people. You have to be constantly on the ball, alert, and keeping a sensible road position whilst simultaneously watching for upcoming hazards. And unsurprisingly, the faster you cycle, the more attentive you need to be. Yet so many of the cyclists I see approach the whole thing with such a casual, haphazard attitude that it's often no real surprise that such tragedies occur. With the number of cyclists in London growing at such a rapid rate, one which will no doubt increase following the recent Olympic success, I think it's time for a real review of bicycle use on public roads.
The common psychological perception amongst care-free riders seems to be that whilst on a bike they are immune to harm perhaps because bicycles have such a small road footprint and are so manoeuvrable. Nevertheless, it is unarguably obvious that they are actually at their most vulnerable. You wouldn't try walking within a few centimetres of a moving HGV, so why risk it on a bike? Common sense can become somewhat blurred while the exercise-induced endorphins are circulating. But the stakes are really just too high to take unnecessary risks.
I think the key needs to be finding a way to take steps towards a more road-savvy cycling community. Whether this means introducing some kind of certification I don't know, but this may be the right general direction to aim for.
Of course car and other vehicle drivers are no angels themselves a lot of the time. But the big difference is, the certification is already in place for them. Only a fraction of the process of 'learning to drive' is actually concerned with the operation of the vehicle itself. The rest is about teaching safe and courteous use of the public road network. As a result, road law could be seen as more enforceable when it comes to car drivers since they 'should know better'.
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Posted in Business Post Date 10/02/2019