Thursday 16 August 2012

Am I too Negative?

I had quite an interesting debate on Twitter recently. Unlike the 'discussions' that occur on my Youtube videos (the ones where people wish me dead) this was an interesting and well informed discussion. Both sides made a reasonable argument (ok....I hope I did!) and whilst we chose to disagree we did so on good terms.

The poster was suggesting that my approach to campaigning is too negative. To be fair I can see why people can think I am too negative, as quite a few of my more recent posts have been about the safety aspect of cycling.

Let me though dispel one misunderstanding. I do not think cycling is dangerous. If I did, I wouldn't do it. I have three wonderful young kids, and I would love to be around for them for a long time to come. I unfortunately lost my father at an early age, and I am determined to be along as long as possible for them. In fact part of the reason I cycle is to keep as healthy as possible.

However, what I do think is that cycling is significantly more dangerous than it should be here in the UK. To ride on many of the roads I ride on you need skills and confidence that very few new cyclists would ever have and many people would never attain.

For example, can you imagine a cross section of the population cycling on roads like this?

Would this road be safe for an 8 year old to cycle on? Be honest.

The road above could with a bit of thought and money be made safe for everyone. It just needs to be DESIGNED, CONNECTED, and FUNDED.

There are those that suggest that increasing numbers will lead to increasing safety. Will it though? Today the Department for Transport released it's latest figures on Britain's road casualties.

I'd normally post some statistics. If you want to see those you can look at the DfT report. All I ask is you look at the graph above. Look at what is happening to cycling casualties, rising significantly. Pedestrians don't fair great either.

What is important to mention here is that we are missing the denominator. We don't have the figures for the increase in cycling. There are probably more cyclists, thus leading to more deaths and injuries. It makes sense.

Is it inevitable though? If cycling numbers increase will deaths increase? Yes. If we do nothing. If we think that letting people cycle on our roads as they are is acceptable then we will have to accept more cyclist dying.

....Or we could do something. Do something before this gets out of hand. We could spend the money now to make our streets safe for everyone. It has been done, it can be done and with the right political will, it will be done. Are willing to watch that graph of cyclist KSI continue to rise next year, the year after that, and the year after that?

Am I being negative? Or am I being realistic? What do you think?


  1. You will notice on the chart that rate of pedestrian and motorcyclist KSI are closely tracking each other. This is the pattern for cyclist and pedestrian, which makes me suspect that they have wrongly labeled the data sets. The fact that pedestrian casualties are increasing is also a worry as walking as a means of transport is in decline, which suggest that there is another factor at play here.

  2. I have just reproduced the chart fro a reputable source. I will of course endeavor to back check it.