The Guardian - Letters - 2 March 2012
Your editorial (On your bikes, 27 Feb 2012) rightly notes that cycling is not as dangerous as most people imagine. You are about as unlikely to be killed in a mile of cycling as a mile of walking. Meanwhile, with rising levels of obesity and physical inactivity, there is overwhelming evidence that health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks involved – in other words, "not cycling" is far more likely to kill you than cycling is.
Cycle use in Britain grew by 20% during the last decade, while cycling casualties fell by 17%. With some even more impressive figures from London and other cities, it is clear more and safer cycling can, and should, go hand in hand.
Yet despite this, safety for Britain's cyclists has not kept pace with improvements for other road users. Meanwhile people in Denmark and the Netherlands cycle more than 10 times as much as we do, while the risk of cycling there is less than half that on Britain's roads.
CTC, the national cyclists' organisation, strongly welcomes transport minister Norman Baker's announcement of a safety sub-group as part of the cycling forum he launched last autumn. In order to maximise the full range of cycling's benefits, the forum needs to develop a cross-departmental action plan to promote cycling for people of all ages and backgrounds, while tackling the major deterrents to increased cycle use: traffic speeds, major roads and junctions, irresponsible driving, and lorries. Its aim must be to encourage more as well as safer cycling.
Campaigns and policy director, CTC