Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy manager for national cyclists' organisation CTC, dispels the myths of the dangers cyclists pose to pedestrians...

The CTC puts the record straight…

BikeBiz recently posted a story about the Commons Public Accounts Committee’s short report on pedestrian and cyclist safety.

It is worth nothing perhaps that the Committee rightly called for more 20mph speed limits, traffic calming and cameras, particularly in the most deprived areas where children are at greatest risk.

Yet the Daily Mail has ignored all this, and instead latched onto a paragraph in which the MPs urge the Government to tackle the “strongly held perception that, through the irresponsible behaviour of some cyclists, they are a hazard to themselves and other road users”. This was based on the tirade from Committee member David Curry MP during the evidence-session earlier this summer (scroll down to “MPs scrutinise cycle safety report”). Curry talked about cyclists “going like bat[s] out of hell… dressed like Darth Vadar, as they all do!”

So instead of "perceptions", can I put the record straight and deal with reality? On average there are about two pedestrians killed by motor vehicles on our roads every day, compared with about two a year killed by bicycles.

Even on pavements and verges, motor vehicles kill around 40 pedestrians every year, i.e. almost one a week, whereas there have been just three pedestrians killed by pavement cyclists in the whole of this decade.

For further information comparing the involvement rates of motor vehicles and cycles in injuring pedestrians, see CTC briefing.

The CTC in no way condones law-breaking cycling and we are strongly in favour of more and better traffic policing. Indeed this is one of the key aims of our new Stop SMIDSY campaign to tackle bad driving (SMIDSY = "Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You!)
However the figures clearly show that cyclists are far more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of irresponsible behaviour on our roads. They also pose far less of a threat to pedestrians, or to any other road user for that matter.

Finally, I note that David Curry MP was voted on to chair the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee. Cyclists will doubtless be greatly reassured that MPs’ sleaze will now be tackled with the utmost ferocity thanks to Curry’s forensic talent for Parliamentary scrutiny!

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