Last year was a really positive year for cycling with more and more people taking to the road by bike. But sadly it ended with a series of terrible accidents, mainly in London, but a couple in Bristol that resulted in the tragic death of cyclists. Inevitably, these incidents lead to questions being raised about the safety of all cyclists; and the challenge for Life Cycle and everyone who is passionate about cycle promotion, is how to persuade the public that cycling isn’t dangerous?
People often tell us they would only consider cycling if there was a dedicated network of traffic free routes, such as they have in Holland. Whether they really would cycle if presented with such a network is debatable. It reminds me of the man who told me that he would cycle if they provided freshly laundered towels at his workplace, so he could shower on arrival.
I’m not saying that a dedicated network of cycle routes wouldn’t be good, by the way, it’s just that such a network is a long way off and in the meantime the question remains: how can we persuade non-cyclists that cycling isn’t dangerous and that the risks are really minor in comparison to the benefits of being on two wheels. It is a real challenge, but the good news is, it’s a challenge with many solutions that are clearly working - as demonstrated by the growth in cycling.
Life Cycle’s approach is to offer very practical support to individuals that helps them develop the confidence to cycle, and to feel safe, secure, skilful and knowledgeable when out on a bike. We know this works because of the feedback we get from the people we have supported. Whether it be cycle training, access to low cost bikes, help learning how to fix a puncture, supported rides to beautiful places, bike swaps, Dr Bike services, time and again people tell us that the personalised support is what helped them gain the confidence to get on a bike and cycle.
In the words of one of our Silver Cyclists:
“Although I could ride a bike, I’d never have gone on the road on my own … It (the training) gave me confidence.”
Being able to support people of all ages and backgrounds to cycle with confidence is what makes us tick at Life Cycle. It gives us huge satisfaction to know that there are more people out and about enjoying their bikes, reducing congestion, feeling healthier and happier because of us. It is this knowledge that will continue to drive us in the future so we can help even more people get cycling enjoy the many benefits it offers.