Leading article: Cycling ahead

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The warm weather this Easter will have tempted many Britons to get on their bikes – a good thing all round but, alas, still an activity that is more dangerous than it ought to be. That is why we welcome the support that the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, is lending to The Independent's campaign to make cycling safer – and his pledge to take action to tighten the rules for lorry drivers, in particular on installing improved mirrors on lorries' passenger sides, so as to minimise the blind spots that result in so many tragic and unnecessary cyclists' deaths.

As we reported when launching this campaign, about 28 cyclists die each year as a consequence of collisions with HGVs and the combined number of deaths and injuries, after falling for some years, shows signs of creeping back up as the boom in cycling increases the number of bicycles on the road.

Mr Hammond points out that Britain cannot unilaterally alter the rules for hauliers, forcing them to adopt bicycle-sensitive technology that will tell drivers when a cyclist has drawn up alongside. This must be agreed at European level. But obtaining ministerial support for such changes is an important start. At a time when more people want to get on to bicycle, it is a shame that justified fears about road safety are holding some back.