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

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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test