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On the Rates!!

February 8, 2011


Peebles, Scotland – Much pinging of bicycle clips and lycra rasp at the moment…

As the Mamils (middle-aged men in lycra) down at the Cycle Tour Club (CTC) attempt to explain away the three per cent rise in road casualties involving bicycles.

It’s easy to see why the cycle lobby is worried. Data released by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) shows that in the year September 2009 – 2010 cyclists were the only class of road user in which an increase in casualties was observed. The number of pedestrians and motorcyclists killed or seriously injured both fell by 8% over the same period, while that of car users dropped by 11%.

Hence the CTC’s policy officer, Chris Peck, has been manning the PR pumps providing us with pro cycling propaganda gems like: “While the increase in cycle casualties might look worrying, the risk to each individual may still be lower than before, when you consider the increase in the number of cyclists” and “The BBC is wrong to report death and injury rates as increasing. As we pointed out in our comment, cycling levels are increasing faster than injury rates”. Then there’s: “The concept of ‘Safety in Numbers’ suggests that injury rates rise at 0.4 of the growth in cycling. Rates are falling or holding steady, even if actual numbers of injuries may be rising”.

Bit confusing! Surely it would easier, more honest, and recognise that each casualty is actually a person to explain that there has been a large increase in cycle use, as much as 5 per cent. Add in that the  more people who take part in a hazardous activity i.e. cycling then the more likely it is that a larger number of people will crash and become casualties. Simples!

Of course honesty isn’t always the best policy, is it!

Notice the use of ‘rates’. Always a nice ploy to make things look better e.g. only x number of cyclists killed or seriously injured per 100,000 kilometres sounds better than xxx cyclists seriously injured or killed in the last 12 months. Which of course is also true for motorcycle casualties, hence for years the cycle lobby thwarted requests from the motorcyclists side for the DfT to release official rates for motorcycle casualties. After all we must show cycling in the best possible light mustn’t we!

And on the subject of light.

From yesterday all new designs of passenger cars and small delivery vans sold in the European Union will have to be equipped with Daytime Running Lights (DRL). Trucks and buses will follow suit in August 2012.

As motorcycles already have DRL’s, fitted since 2004, as a safety measure it always surprised me that arguments offered to the EU Commission that motorcycles would disappear in a sea of lights once all vehicles had DRL were dismissed.

See what you think:-

Mind you we are promised new DRL’s that will feature different colours or lighting configurations that will enable differentiate between vehicle types, except bicycles of course which won’t have anything at all.

Ride safe and be enlightened wherever you go!

© Back Roads Rider 2011

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Miss Longsocks permalink
    February 8, 2011 9:04 am

    … and pedestrians. So whadda reckon – lights everywhere except on pedestrians. So kiddies running across the road and old farts who can’t see past the peak of their flat cap or blue rinse, squashed like bugs.

    Now car drivers rule – they can not only kill relentlessly, they have an excuse. I had my lights on – as mandated by the European Union, so I will sue you for damaging the paintwork on my car with your blood.

    Of course now we’ll have 10 years of going through the parc (fleet), so we won’t really know if it works or not, but by that time according to the Mayans – we’ll all be dead anyway, because the world ends in 2012.

    Not to worry though, on this site you can find your survival supplies (which doesn’t seem to include diode lights!)

    • Back Roads Rider permalink*
      February 8, 2011 9:19 pm

      What’s the last date for deliveries from End of the World Survival Supplies?

      Do UPS and Fed Ex know something we don’t?

  2. February 12, 2011 7:00 pm

    What I love about the UK roads is the fogging drivers who seem to think its ok to use fog lights whenever possible, especially when there’s no fog.

    Daytime running lights? Whatever next. I’m blinded by other road users no matter what. I actually think its safer at night, because at least you can see the reflections of the lights your just about to be blinded by.

    Then there’s the nobs that use blue lights on their windscreen wipers, wtf, it looks crap and is totally pointless.

    Anyway, the saying goes, things have to get worse before they get better…

    Bollocks, ride safe.


  1. El Camino – The Road

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