Cyclo-therapy: 'You're at much greater risk if you drive or walk, than if you cycle'
Saturday 16 April 2011
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.
'Mini ice age' coming in next fifteen years, new model of the sun's cycle shows
Critically endangered species
African wildcat caught on camera riding on the back of rhino in rare footage
Pesticide experts silenced by UK Government as it looks to bring back bee-killing neonicotinoids
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
- 1 Cecil the lion: Dentist Walter Palmer blames local guides in Zimbabwe for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...
£25k plus Benefits: Guru Careers: A Carpenter and Maintenance Operator is need...
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This London based publishing co...