The Catch 22 of Cycling in London

The Boris Bike scheme in London

The irony in the death of cyclist Dan Harris is clear for all to see. He was run over by a shuttle bus near the Olympic park earlier this week and his death has sparked debate over the safety of cyclists in London.

Let’s look at one side of the debate. There is a group of people like Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins who claim that cyclists are not to blame for accidents between motor vehicles and their pedalling road sharers. He has called for helmets to be made compulsory for cyclists so that cyclists are protected both physically and legally. Mayor of London Boris Johnson has dismissed any notion of this happening.

There is another group, admittedly mainly made up of motorists, who blame the cyclists and their dangerous methods of cycling. Many critics have called for cyclists to be made to obtain licenses, have number plates on their bikes and pay road tax.

It is hard to assess who is to blame in the 10 fatal cycling accidents in the capital this year, but what is certain is that there is no easy solution.

Cycling is a cheap form of transport that is environmentally friendly and is a way for us to achieve our daily cardiovascular exercise targets. These are incentives that make the bike seem like the perfect means of transport around the city.

With Britain’s recent cycling success at major tournaments, notably the Tour de France and the Olympic Games, riding a

Bradley Wiggins – Winner of the Tour de France

bike around has become quite popular. Boris Bikes make access to bicycles much easier for Londoners.

But if stringent measures such as road tax and licensing becomes law, there is no doubt that many people will be put of cycling.

Here we have the catch 22 of the cycling problem – any move to make cycling laws more stringent will cause a decline in cyclists around the City and destroy the aim of making London cleaner, healthier and cheaper.

There is no saying which way is right, but something undoubtedly needs to be done to make cycling safer in London.

Do you cycle in London? What are your experiences of cycling in the capital? What do you think is the solution to safer cycling in London?


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