On 7-Feb-2003, "Michael MacClancy" <[email protected]
> "In GB the number of accidents per 1000 inhabitants is similar to Germany or the Netherlands
> although the proportion of cyclists is between 2 and 4%.
> Until 1995 the basic rule was that cyclists are high risk participants in traffic and, in order to
> reduce the rate of accidents, it was thought advantageous to have as few cyclists as possible.
> Since then it is an official government target to have 15% of the population on bikes by 2012."
Well the part about trying to reduce the number of cyclists in order to reduce accidents seems to
still be policy up here in Aberdeenshire. The following is taken from
Government has set a national target of doubling cycle use by the year 2002 and a further doubling
by the year 2012. Aberdeenshire's Cycling Strategy document and the Local Transport Strategy set out
the Council's strategies for achieving these targets. However, cyclists are one of our more
vulnerable groups of road user, being particularly susceptible to inconsiderate drivers. The small
visual target area presented by cyclists also makes them particularly vulnerable at junctions. We
must therefore be very careful when trying to encourage cycle use and so increasing the exposure to
danger, that we do not increase the number of casualties. The establishment of off-road cycle routes
such as the recently opened Formartine and Buchan Way is an excellent means of creating a safe
healthy route for commuter and recreational cycling. The risk of such routes is that they will
encourage more and more people to take up regular cycling but such cyclists will not restrict
themselves to off-road routes. The consequence, therefore, is an increase in cyclists on our roads
and an increased exposure to risks." For reference the Formartine and Buchan Way is a converted
ralway line that goes from Dyce (on the outskirts of Aberdeen) out to the back of beyond. The
surface is (only just) OK but there are barriers and dismount signs whenever it crosses a road and
it doesn't actually go anywhere that you'd (or at least I'd) want to go. So fine for little Jenny to
make her first faltering revolutions of the pedal but pretty darn useless if you actually want to
use your bike as a means of transport. As for the "danger" that users of this route will have the
temerity to actually venture out on the roads where the don't belong. Well words fail me. OK words
clearly don't fail me but I'm still trying to find a suitable set of them to send to the council.
Somehow nothing I can think of to say quite captures my full horror when I read this. Cheers, Andy