Letter: Steps to make cycling safer

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The Independent Online
Sir: Christian Wolmar ('I'll break any law to stay alive in the saddle', 31 March) is correct in thinking that helmets are not the solution to the problem of safety for cyclists. The main uses of cycle helmets are in keeping off the rain and sun and in giving pretentious governments a cheap and easy way of appearing to be doing something.

But what should be done to increase cyclists' safety? Above all, there should be more cycle-friendly planning, such as traffic calming, which can moderate speed with little reduction of journey time or capacity. Cars should be prohibited from being painted grey or dark colours, which are involved in many more accidents than bright colours.

And it should also be made clear in legislation and to drivers that when a cyclist veers to the centre of the lane that means 'do not overtake here'. The overtaking of cyclists on blind corners should be specified as criminal recklessness.

Last, but by no means least, airbags should be prohibited from use in cars; the effect of airbags, crumple zones and the like is that the murderous minority of drivers can be confidently careless of the consequences even if they cannot be bothered to put on their seat belts. Indeed, it would be better to have external airbags (radar-activated) to protect the victims rather than the perpetrators.

Not the least means of adding to the life-expectancy of oneself and others is to go cycling on the road oneself, and thus increase the consciousness of cycling as a part of everyday motoring.

Yours faithfully,

ROBIN P. M. CLARKE

Birmingham

31 March

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