Letter: Bicycles can never overtake cars as success symbols

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The Independent Online
SALES OF anti-perspirant would need to skyrocket in order to support Martin Wright's claim that a relatively sweat-free cruising speed of 15mph is achievable; 8mph would be a more realistic figure for new cyclists. The threat of vehicle fumes is worse for cyclists than for sedentary motorists because they breathe in a much larger quantity of air, which is often cold and damp. You should look beyond the propaganda put out by cycling pressure groups.

Cycles do not go free on trains in much of Europe. In Germany bikes are restricted to eight places in regional trains. These must be booked in advance at a cost of about pounds 3.50 a place. You won't even get your bike through the doors of a German or French express train. Germany is also endowed with the world's most extensive network of inadequate and dangerous cycle paths.

The UK lacks cycle-friendly employers; enough well- marked cross-town routes; and secure parking. Traffic calming such as humps, traffic lights, chicanes and other street furniture is as much of a nuisance for cyclists as drivers. In order to improve facilities to a usable point the Government will have to give the same sort of tax breaks to employers, local authorities and cycling commuters that they have given to company car drivers for so long.

David Harvey-George

London W2