The Times website has just updated with half a dozen very good pro-cycling articles http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/ Tomorrow s editorial isMessage 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2012View SourceThe Times website has just updated with half a dozen very good pro-cycling articles http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/Tomorrow's editorial is very impressive:
Mary Bowers is a reporter at The Times and, among her colleagues, a popular one. For the past year, however, while many of them have spoken to her, she has not spoken to them. For, a year ago yesterday, Mary was knocked from her bike at a junction in front of the offices in which she worked. Crushed and horrifically injured, she has not yet regained full consciousness.
This newspaper makes no apology for having begun a campaign on such a personal basis, only an apology for not having begun one earlier. Since Mary’s accident, more than 100 cyclists have died on Britain’s roads. The youngest was eight years old; the oldest was 80. So far in 2012, eleven have died in London, three in Edinburgh, and two on the same stretch of the A1 outside Nottingham. Those who survived injury in 2011 — of whom Mary was one — number a startling 19,108, with more than 3,000 seriously injured. To point out that roughly twice as many Britons die on bicycles each year as die serving in Afghanistan is not, of course, to compare like with like. But they do.
This time last year, The Times began to advocate cities fit for cycling. The response has been overwhelming. Thirty-six thousand members of the public have pledged their support, as have all three major political parties. Winning Best Media Campaign award at the National Transport Awards, this newspaper’s campaign was described as “relentless, informed and passionate”.
Government, Parliament and the Mayor of London all deserve praise for the seriousness with which they have responded. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has endorsed our campaign. News International, which publishes The Times, is to fund a report by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group into why more people do not cycle, and how they might do so.
The campaign has also prompted behavioural changes, encouraging drivers of heavy vehicles to fit suitable mirrors and turning alarms. While cyclists too can always benefit from taking greater care, statistics show clearly that the vast majority of incidents between motor vehicles and bikes are caused by driver, rather than cyclist, error. But the stated aim of this campaign has never been to change drivers or cyclists. Rather, it has been to change the cities in which they cycle and drive.
It can be done. In Copenhagen, where 90 per cent of people own a bicycle and over a third of them ride weekly, the introduction of separated cycle lanes has seen fatalities plummet. It is not enough to daub a few roads with streaks of blue. The change must be structural and geographical.
Cycling is no special interest. Even before Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins made cycling a strong contender to be Britain’s national sport, it was becoming clear that something was happening on British streets. One report last year, by the pressure group Sustrans, claimed an 18 per cent increase in the numbers of trips taken on bikes between 2010 and 2012.
This is not merely the result of rising fuel costs. Other studies have shown marked declines in car use among city dwellers, with British people now using their cars less than they did a decade ago, and only slightly more than they did in the 1970s. The bike is the future and the task for British cities now be must be to adapt to the bike.
The next stage of our Cities Fit For Cycling campaign will focus on how. This newspaper will be investigating how Britons travel, whether by public transport, private transport or pedal power. We aim to recommend how more people can be encouraged to get on their bikes. We will speak to designers who can make cities that work as they should, and the Government and local officials with the power to turn their ideas into reality. This has never been a modest campaign. It is about nothing less than building a different kind of urban realm. And it has only just begun.