13 Reasons Why You Need To Start Cycling To Work
It literally saves lives.
1. There are a lot of stories about the risks of cycling in the news, and people are scared to get on their bikes.
Recent deaths in London have brought cyclists out in protest on to the streets of the capital.
But nationwide, people are worried about the risks of cycling. According to the 2013 British Social Attitudes survey, 61% of people say that it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads. That figure rises to 69% among women.
2. But while the deaths are tragic, the fear is misplaced. Cycling is getting safer in Britain, and has been for years.
3. Even in London, where most people think it's the most dangerous, the number of people killed or seriously injured has fallen significantly.
4. The actual number of deaths in the capital has dropped by more than half.
5. Despite the number of people actually cycling in London roughly tripling in the last 15 years.
6. Cycling in Britain is so safe, in fact, that according to one estimate you'd have to cycle 100 times around the world before you'd be odds-on to die.
7. And while you're cycling, you're making yourself healthier and longer-lived.
8. It also might make you happier.
9. More than that, if you cycle, you save lives. Partly because you won't run anyone down in your car.
10. But also because, simply, the more cyclists there are, the safer cycling gets.
11. Of course, there are things that can be done. For instance, a disproportionate number of the deaths in London are women crushed by lorries.
While women only make up a quarter of the cyclists in London, 33 out of the city's 84 cycling deaths since 2009 – that's 39% – have been women. An even starker statistic is that 27 out of those 33 were hit by lorries.
That may be related to the fact that women are more afraid of cycling, and less likely to take what appear to be risks. Hugging the kerb, cycling slowly, and being unwilling to overtake large vehicles are all believed to increase your odds of being in a collision with an HGV. Also, a leaked 2007 TFL report said "Women may be over-represented in (collisions with goods vehicles) because they are less likely than men to disobey red lights," and so are caught in traffic as it moves away.
12. Something that could help fix that is to follow Paris's example, where there were no deaths at all in 2011.
Paris banned all heavy vehicles driving in the city centre between 7am and 10pm. London bans them from driving at night, so they are forced to share the road with commuters, including bikes.