Is it too dangerous to cycle? | Comment is free | The Observer

September 23, 2012

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Is it too dangerous to cycle?

With 13 cyclists killed in September so far in Britain, Rob Penn and Gerhard Weiss debate whether our roads are too risky to brave on two wheels

Rob Penn and Gerhard Weiss

The Observer, Sunday 23 September 2012

A ghost bike, erected where a cyclist has been injured or killed in a road accident. Photograph: Katherine Rose for the Observer

Rob Penn, writer and author of It’s All About the Bike: the Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels

It depends, of course, on where we’re cycling and who’s pushing the pedals. Is it dangerous to ride along a disused railway line in the Peak District? No. Is it too dangerous to ride down the Euston Road at rush hour? Not for me, but I’ve ridden a bike most days of my adult life.

I found the report this week about the rise in “cycle deaths” in 2012 very upsetting. But the news emboldens me to cycle more, and encourage others to do the same, rather than lock my bikes away in the shed and drive a car.

Two years ago I was in Portland, Oregon, where a quiet cycling revolution is under way. There are now more transport journeys by bicycle per capita in Portland than in any other large American city. A journalist there told me that a turning point in the safety of cyclists on the roads comes when everyone who drives knows someone who cycles: it could be your neighbour’s daughter or a work colleague on that bike, which influences how you drive. We’re a long way from that point in the UK, but the more people that cycle, the closer we get, and the more legitimate the campaign for safer cycling becomes.

via Is it too dangerous to cycle? | Comment is free | The Observer.

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