Road safety British Cycling members call for mutual respect
Published 7 February 2012
Greater mutual respect between motorists and cyclists will make the road a safer place to ride a bike. That’s the clear message from British Cycling, in a new report which canvassed members' views on road safety matters.
Among the potential solutions highlighted to make mutual respect a reality were including greater cycle awareness in the driving test and Highway Code, ensuring better enforcement of the law on mobile phone use while driving, and improving poorly laid out roads and junctions which pose a danger particularly to inexperienced cyclists.
Ian Drake, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said: 'As more people take to their bikes, we take seriously our responsibility to ensure they are able to do so in a safe environment. The reality is that the number of cycling deaths and injuries on the roads is decreasing and evidence suggests that the more people who cycle, the safer it becomes. However, for us, even one death is one too many and by listening to our members we can better understand what needs to be done to help create the necessary mutual respect required between motorists and cyclists to ensure both can use the roads in a safe manner.
“It’s essential that we get away from this sense of ‘them and us’ between motorists and cyclists. Most people who ride a bike also drive a car which suggests there should already be some mutual understanding. Now more needs to be done to build on this and create culture in which all road users can better respect each other. And it’s important to stress that cyclists have as much of a role to play in this as motorists, by ensuring they adhere to the rules of the road with regards to things like stopping at red traffic lights and signalling correctly.'
Working closely with its personal injury solicitors, Leigh Day, and other key stakeholders, British Cycling will now take forward the views of its members to influence politicians and policy makers to make cycling safer. This has already begun with engagement with the Transport Minister and all the London Mayoral candidates on the key issues.
Nicole Cooke, Olympic Road Race Champion, said: 'We know that personal safety, and the perceived risks associated with cycling, can be a barrier to getting on a bike, especially amongst women. If we want to continue to see participation grow we need to address this and make tangible changes to ensure the roads are safer for cyclists. Through greater respect we can ensure more people can enjoy riding a bike which has got to be a good thing to strive towards particularly in the year of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games.'