|Believe it or not, this is a bike lane.|
No wonder most people drive.
In Great Britain, in 2010:
• 3 billion vehicle miles were travelled on pedal cycles, 1% of all vehicle miles taken on the roads
• 111 cyclists were killed on the roads; the second lowest number in the last 61 years
• Four-fifths of cyclists killed or seriously injured were male
The note is a decent summary of the bare facts, but is rather lacking when it comes to explaining them. And there's a risk that some MPs might draw completely the wrong conclusions. For example, at first glance it looks great that 2010 saw the lowest number of cyclist deaths in 61 years. On that basis, you might be forgiven for asking what the problem is supposed to be.
I think there are three crucial points which the Commons briefing note doesn't capture, and which MPs need to be aware of.
First, the low cycling rate (1% of traffic) and the low number of casualties are both due to the same phenomenon: most people don't cycle because most people don't think cycling is safe, so it has become the preserve of a small of minority of people on a small minority of roads. (Even the Daily Mail agrees with this point, for more see here). The disparity in serious injury rates between cycling and driving is huge, 553 per billion km for cycling versus 15 for driving. And as The Times has pointed out, the cyclist fatality rate in Britain is three times higher than in the Netherlands.
|New York bike lane. Clear space to cycle in|
(Note, this piece is written by a contributor but one whose voice I agree with 100%)
You can see the two Early Day Motions that are up for discussion by clicking here and here. You can also see how MPs have been responding to their constituents in London, Scotland, Wales and elsewhere in England by clicking here.
It's not to late to write to your MP before Thursday's debate asking them to attend by clicking here and sending an email directly to them.Alternatively, attend the Flashride to Parliament on Wednesday night to remind MPs why we feel this is important.