Recently, I was asked by a cycling enthusiast in Canada what he thought were the benefits of cycling. He went on to state that firstly, it is really a great exercise and a very good way to get healthy. It also allows the individual to be independent, which is important because there are so many people steering clear of careers nowadays due to insecurity and lack of job security. Secondly, if you ride your bike to work then you will not get all the stress that you might have if you had to use public transport, and who wants to do that?
The second benefit, he was able to think of was the social aspect of cycling. Cycling is a social experience rather than a means to simply get from A to B, hence the name ‘bicycle’. There are people all around the world that ride their bicycles for the sheer experience and social pleasure. That being said, we also need to make sure that there is a ‘change’ in sight and that our streets are protected by properly fitted cycle signage. Many cities around the world have been sadly lacking in this area and that needs to change.
This leads me onto my next point, which was that in countries where cycle signs are not properly fitted, there has been an increase in cycling accidents. Of course, this does not always correlate with the number of cycle riders, as in the case of countries like Japan, there has been an increase in cycling even though there are more motor vehicles on the roads there too, yet there have been fewer bicycle accidents. In fact, when I talked to him, he actually seemed a little disappointed that we were not making more progress in this area, and that the level of accident was still too high.
On a final note before I finish, I wanted to make the point that the lack of cycle sign visibility could actually cause more problems than it solved. If the cycle routes were not clear, then drivers could simply take alternative routes and this could in turn have knock on effects for people on foot and public transport. Indeed, it could also cause a problem with local businesses as they would have less of a chance of making a profit if customers were not aware of their cycle route. In conclusion, I hoped that the above article had shown that how bike citizens can work together to promote safer cycle routing and helped us to identify the gaps that exist within some areas of the UK. It is clear to see that there is a lack of cycle infrastructure in some parts of the country, which needs to be addressed. I believe that using citizenry as a block group will be the most effective way of ensuring that the space for cycling improves.