i Editor's Letter: Bike safety


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The Independent Online


Bring back the ghost bikes - those frames painted ghoulish white and chained to the railings by notorious cycling death spots. Raise the kerbs in danger zones, properly separating bike from bus and HGV - not one of these meaningless blue cycle lanes which heavy traffic drives straight over. Cyclists: wear high-vis and don’t undertake large vehicles! Transform your steed into the mobile Blackpool illuminations if you must.

How many more people must bury their lovers, children,  parents? How many more must carry the burden of killing a  fellow human being?

Every time cycling safety is in the news, i’s inbox fills with heated and polarised correspondence, much of it cogently argued. I’m grateful to reader Stephanie  Richardson, from Audlem, Cheshire, for her note yesterday: “Distressing as it is to read about the number of cycling fatalities in and around London, please don’t forget the rest of the country.” On Tuesday afternoon, near Nantwich, 65-year-old Stewart Gandy died on the way to visit his uncle in a suspected collision with a lorry – making it at least six fatalities on our roads in the past nine days (page 6).

I took up cycling in our crowded capital this summer, finally  finding the courage. A Transit van pulled out on me the other day  – the driver just didn’t look, he admitted, and we exchanged words, before pleasantries. But mostly it’s liberating, energising, with driver and biker peacefully co-existing. And as an occasional white van man myself, I know what it’s like to sit behind the steering wheel with poor sight lines.

My colleague Simon Usborne points out that, in 2011, 16  journeys out of 180 million ended in death, highlighting the need for some perspective. But with such  obvious remedies at hand, that is 16 deaths too many.


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