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Gold medal winner Wiggins puts road safety in spotlight

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Following Wiggins's flawless ride to gold at the Individual Time Trial, his response to the tragic death of a cyclist outside the Olympic Park has highlighted yet again the need for road safety changes to protect cyclists.
Bradley Wiggins celebrating his victory at Hampton Court
Bradley Wiggins celebrating his victory at Hampton Court

Wiggins's gold and Froome's bronze were both fantastic results and reflect a season of total domination of road cycling by British cyclists.

Unfortunately, a few hours later tragic news broke that a 28-year-old cyclist had been killed in collision with a bus carrying journalists from the Olympic Park to the ExCel centre.

Asked about the incident, Wiggins seemed to be suggesting that making helmets compulsory and passing laws restricting cyclists from listening to music would enable cyclists to say that they had done as much as they could and therefore the responsibility must rest with motorists.

CTC believes, however, that the most effective ways of encouraging more and safer cycling are tackling traffic volume, speed, bad driving, poor road layout and the risks that heavy vehicles pose to cyclists. Strong, effective traffic policing and law enforcement are crucial too.

Chris Peck, CTC's Policy Coordinator, said:

""We welcome Bradley Wiggins's clarification that he is not calling for helmets to be 'made the law', as CTC believes that making cycle helmets compulsory would be likely to have an overall damaging effect on public health.

"This is because the health benefits of cycling massively outweigh the risks and we know that where enforced, helmet laws tend to lead to an immediate reduction in cycling.

"Two thirds of collisions between adult cyclists and motor vehicles are deemed by police to be the responsibility of the motorist. Any legislation should put the onus on those who cause the harm, not the victims."

Two thirds of collisions between adult cyclists and motor vehicles are deemed by police to be the responsibility of the motorist. Any legislation should put the onus on those who cause the harm, not the victims."

Chris Peck, CTC's Policy Coordinator

Furthermore a first hand account suggests that it was the sort of collision that occurs in half the deaths of cyclists in London - a heavy vehicle turning left across the path of a cyclist. In these cases helmets would make no difference. 

Wiggins's ride both in the Olympics and the Tour de France will no doubt inspire more people to take up cycling. To ensure their safety, CTC believes that the priority should be on improving the road network and the criminal justice system, not laws that impose restrictions on cyclists.

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