My friend was knocked off her bike Yesterday and ended up in A&E. It was a classic car/bike accident where a car turning right down a side street cuts through static traffic but doesn’t anticipate the cyclists still riding up the inside. Car/bicycle meet at 90 degrees.
Or was it the cyclist not anticipating a car turning right down a side street cutting through static traffic. It’s rarely clear cut. I’d put the onus on the cyclist to anticipate – they’re the most at risk – and they can’t rely on anyone else to look out for them.
The London Mayor is going to drop £770 million on cycling over the next 5 years to make cycling a “safe and obvious choice for Londoners or all ages and backgrounds”. That’s £17 per Londoner (whether they want £17 to get them cycling or not!)
This will buy new segregated cycle superhighways, extensions to existing cycle superhighways and mini-Holland schemes in the suburbs.
Car drivers and the Daily Mail are no doubt in outrage – why are cyclists so indulged? But put this in context: its only 5.5% of total TFL budget. Cars, Trains, Buses, Underground are still hoovering up the lions share.
What’s the solution? Segregation is great (of bikes and vehicles) until the segregation ends, then chaos breaks out. Cyclists become complacent, forget that the risk factor has just turned up. Cars have forgotten that they’re sharing the road with cyclists and have a duty of care (NB. a cyclist is a real live person (just on a bike)).
The solution: cyclists need to be controlled and drivers need to be educated – the best way is to get drivers on a bike. Which will only happen if they are incentivised to do so. How? Penalise them? That won’t help. Make it safe? We’ve tried that. Make it easy? Easier said than done.
What about paying them?
Smartphone technology could make a carbon offset scheme work. What about £10 of your road tax for every 100 city miles cycled? (Paid for by: VAT on bike sales, decreased NHS costs from a fitter, healthier population and reduction in pollution/respiratory related illnesses).
Surely it’s worth a try.