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Paul Fretwell’s cycling blog May 2016

19th May 2016

Despite the ‘Wiggo effect’ and the large increase in cycling over the last 5 years or so, pedal power accounts for only 2% of trips, compared with 27% in the Netherlands. Our spending on cycling outside London is a little over £1 per person annually, compared with £24 in the Netherlands.

Cycling not only limits harmful emissions, it contributes to a healthy lifestyle which in turn reduces the burden on the NHS. The Department for Transport has announced it’s ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’ which commits £60 million per year to cycling and walking, although British Cycling would, perhaps inevitably, like to have seen a figure closer to £450 million a year.

Cycling legend Chris Boardman is fearful that, “Cycling will be put at the bottom of most councils’ to-do lists” and, therefore, we will lose out on potential positive health and environmental benefits.

Many people have recently resumed their seasonal cycle commute, braving fast and busy traffic, diesel fumes and other pollution, poor or absent cycle lanes and potholes. Some motorists, however, will not be so pleased to see this due to the small number of cyclists who refuse to follow the Highway Code Rules for Cyclists (59-82): www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82

It is sobering to remind ourselves of the number of cyclist casualties in reported collisions on our roads. In 2014, according to minimum figures collated by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), there were 21,287 injuries including 3,514 deaths and serious injuries on our roads. Little wonder that an increasing number of our personal injury clients are cyclists.

Hopefully, therefore, the Government’s consultation period will lead to a change of heart and a substantial spending increase on dedicated cycle routes, keeping cyclists away from traffic and pedestrians as much as possible (for the good of all). Then, as sure as night follows day, the casualty figures will decrease.

Paul Fretwell, solicitor. Partner, personal injury department.

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