When the Calderdale road safety officer blamed child cyclists for being hit by vehicles, BikeBiz.com thought Peter Shepherdson may have been selectively misquoted by his local newspaper. It turns out the story was based on an official press release entitled "Killer bikes"...

UPDATE: TSO’s shock comments were “official”

"Every Christmas it seems that there are stories of dangerous and defective toys, but can there be any bigger killer and crippler of children than the humble bicycle?" asks the release.

Er, yes. Motor cars hitting them.

The release starts badly and gets worse as it goes on. According to Calderdale metropolitan borough council, when children put bicycles on their Christmas wish lists, this creates a "terrible burden of responsibility for their parents".

RSO Peter Shepherdson plays the scare card: "Too often parents say, ‘Go and play on your bike.’ not thinking that their child will race out onto the road and could be killed or seriously injured. It can and does happen all too frequently here in Calderdale."

Incredibly, the stand-out quotes from the newspaper story, carried on BikeBiz.com earlier in the day, are from the official press release:

In the last five years 74 Calderdale children have been hit by other vehicles and injured, thankfully none fatally, but 9 seriously. Many more bumps and scrapes go unreported. It is impossible to think of anything else we give our children which has this unenviable safety record.

Council Road Safety Officer, Peter Shepherdson is emphatic ‘Pre teenagers, bicycles and roads are a cocktail for disaster.’ He added, ‘We warn young children away from knives and fire, yet we give them bikes knowing that in most cases they will be ridden on the road without supervision or any regard for the Highway Code.

The rest of the release contains some basic, common sense advice but that will be lost on those parents who may now be convinced that bicycles are death-traps, a message that local bicycle retailers are incensed about.


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