Cyclo-therapy: 'You're at much greater risk if you drive or walk, than if you cycle'

 

A A A

As I type this in an airless office, people in short sleeves and sunglasses are frolicking among daffodils and buying their first ice-creams as they enjoy weather that is, I'll be told in tomorrow's papers (alongside photos of young women on Brighton beach), "Hotter Than Marbella!".

The turning of the seasons also brings with it a new fleet of cyclists. But there are still would-be riders who believe taking to the city streets on two wheels is a shortcut to an early grave. The air of fear seems to be thicker this year. In London, a campaign is growing against the menace of lorries, which cause a disproportionate number of cyclist deaths. They'll become deadlier still if the Government passes new plans for longer trailers. Meanwhile, a spreading rash of potholes is throwing us off-course – or into a ditch.

It gets scarier still when people we know come a cropper. A colleague on the business desk has been in hospital for weeks after a horrendous encounter with an oil tanker.

It's enough to make anyone reach for the car keys or stick to the pavement but, what fear and statistics mask (the latest Government figures show a slight rise in deaths and injuries among cyclists) is that you're at much greater risk if you drive or walk. Several studies reveal that, per mile travelled, riding is safer. Injury rates are rising, but not as fast as the number of riders.

So cycling is safe and getting safer still, although that will hardly comfort my colleague or the families of the dozen or so cyclists who, for example, die in the capital each year. But while much needs to be done to bring that number down, there is a greater risk to the nation's health if fear pushes us off our bikes.

Meanwhile, there is a lot riders can do to avoid becoming the wrong kind of statistic. My top tip: show your face. Positioning on the road is crucial (the kerb is not your friend) and if a driver sees your face he or she is much more likely to take care around you. It's important to be able to look over your shoulder frequently without veering off-course. And always stay as far away from lorries as you can.

s.usborne@independent.co.uk; twitter.com/susborne

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future