A curious kind of safety

Recently I found myself digging for some statistics on the relative risks of modes of transport in Britain. It turns out that (according to Department for Transport statistics) cycling is approximately twice as ‘dangerous’ as walking, if we are looking at the casualty rate per distance travelled.

Table RAS30070, showing relative risks of different forms of transport, based on NTS data

I use ‘dangerous’ in inverted commas because neither walking or cycling are, by themselves, intrinsically dangerous modes of transport – the risk involved comes almost entirely from exposure to motor traffic, rather than from just walking or cycling about in isolation.

Of course, by this metric, cycling (and walking) are both considerably more ‘dangerous’ than being a car driver, but to a large extent that’s because – to illustrate – it takes a very long time to walk 100 miles, and relatively little time to drive that distance. In the time it takes you to walk 100 miles, you will be exposed to many, many more hazards and dangers than you would be in the time it takes you to drive it. So it’s probably better to express the casualty rate as a function of time, rather than of distance, because then it would show more how much risk you were exposed to over that fixed period. In doing so we would find that being a car driver is less obviously ‘safe’ relative to walking and cycling, if we were considering casualty rates by time spent travelling – but the DfT doesn’t measure casualties like this.

However, whichever measure we choose to use, these statistics are still a very misleading measure of actual safety.

Why? Because they fail to account for the fact that the vast majority of the population simply won’t be cycling anywhere near Britain’s roads. They are too intimidating, hostile and dangerous for most of the population to even consider using cycling as a mode of transport. The ‘safety’ of cycling in Britain is therefore of a particularly curious form; much of it simply results from the fact that our roads are simply too terrifying for most people to cycle on. Our cycling safety statistics don’t account for the fact that the most dangerous roads and streets – which will in many cases be useful routes for ordinary journeys – are complete no-go areas for cycling. Nor do they account for the fact that what cycling that is taking place in Britain is heavily skewed away from children and the elderly in particular, both groups that are more vulnerable in different ways. Children are inexperienced, less able to judge speeds and distances, more likely to make mistakes, while the elderly are less able to react and avoid collisions, and more prone to suffering injury when they occur.

If we had a ‘neutral’ distribution of cycling, across all age ranges, combined with all these people cycling on the most direct routes – be that busy urban roads, or fast intra-urban routes, then our cycling casualty statistics would be appalling.

What would our cycle safety statistics look like if young children, and elderly people, were cycling on our busiest roads, mixing with motor traffic?

We can frame this another way. Let’s imagine a town with a bus service. All the buses in this town are fitted with shiny wooden bench seats, so well polished that they’re extremely slippery, and hard to stay seated on as the bus goes around sharp corners. There aren’t any seatbelts. And while these buses do have roofs to keep the sun and rain off…

… they don’t have any sides.

Obviously a tricky prospect, what with those slippery bench seats with no seat belts, and the twisty roads in the town.

For some reason, it turns out that only a very small number of people are prepared to use the town’s buses as they zoom around, from stop to stop. Maybe that’s because at least once a year someone gets killed or seriously injured as they fly sideways off the bus as it negotiates a corner. In any case, the elderly – who find it hard to cling onto the bus seats, to balance their weight and brace themselves – simply don’t get the bus. They use other modes of transport.

Likewise children – who most likely aren’t very aware of the risks of these kinds of buses, and find it hard to concentrate and stay focused on staying on the bus at all times – are also a rarity on the buses. Sadly, despite all the town’s primary schools offering free Busability lessons – including Busability Level 3! – only a handful of parents are prepared to let their children take the bus.

If our public transport was like this – too dangerous a prospect for most people to even consider using – I doubt we would even begin to think it was ‘safe’, or even use language like ‘statistically safe’. We wouldn’t be convinced that buses are safe to use, even if statistics showed that bus passengers were only slightly more likely to die than car drivers. We would say that that is a ridiculous metric, because so many potential bus passengers are simply too scared to use that mode of transport in the first place.

It doesn’t even have to be public transport. We could imagine a different town, one where all the pedestrian crossings only gave people walking a couple of seconds to cross the road, before motor traffic started speeding through again. Footways are also intermittent, giving up at random, forcing people to walk out into streams of heavy motor traffic.

Once again, as with the bus example, it turns out that in this town, only a small, fit and able minority are actually able to walk anywhere, those people who can sprint across the road in the short amount of time allocated to them, and are prepared to negotiate with motor traffic. Everyone else – again, most likely the elderly, people with disabilities, children – will either stay at home, or get ferried around by other modes of transport. Walking is simply too dangerous an option for them.

Under these circumstances, would we say that walking in the town is ‘safe’?

But I think the situation with cycling in Britain is almost directly analogous. We have a mode of transport that simply isn’t viable for most people – not for any intrinsic reason, but because of hostile conditions. Cycling in Britain is the equivalent of the bus that you’ll slide off of if you don’t keep paying attention, or have the strength and ability to cling onto. It’s the pedestrian crossing that only the fastest and the fittest are able to use (and even then with some degree of risk). And because these hostile conditions have existed for a very long time now – since the advent of mass motoring – we’ve grown extraordinarily complacent about them. Danger and risk are seen as almost innate elements of making journeys by bike. Yet if we introduced the level of hazard and risk involved in cycling for ordinary journeys in Britain onto public transport – the kind of hazard and risk that simply prevented most people from even using public transport in the first place – there would be a justifiable outcry.

This outcry is almost entirely absent when it comes to cycling because we’ve become completely accustomed to our road network being totally unfit for ordinary people to use. We even acknowledge this when we boast about a mere eight miles of ‘family-friendly’ cycling conditions, for just one day. 

By direct implication, the other 364 days of the year, and the near totality of the capital’s road network, is entirely family-hostile.

Perhaps cycling is ‘safe’, but it’s certainly a very curious kind of safety.

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34 Responses to A curious kind of safety

  1. I like the slippery bus seats analogy. The one I thought of, and considered making the basis of a similar blogpost, was a train service that doesn’t actually stop, but requires the passengers to leap on board (and off again) as it it runs through stations, making it highly efficient, but totally exclusive to the fit, well-coordinated and brave. (And despite offering free leaping lessons to all comers, the authorities could never seem to change that much.) That was one (of many) that never got written, but in ‘Cycling is dangerous’ (2011), I did the (grim) thought experiment where a million children and pensioners suddenly appear on the road on bikes in a instant.

  2. rdrf says:

    You missed out that “dangerous” is meant in the intransitive, rather than transitive sense. Walking and cycling (despite what the Daily mail may say) are not significantly dangerous TO OTHERS.

    Once you start talking in terms of the danger posed to others rather than to oneself, then driving (particulalrly lorries) is dangerous, and walking and cycling far less so.

    Starting off from that posiiton focuses on the ened to reduce danger from motorised vehicular traffic.

    • meltdblog says:

      Weighting the risk by distance travelled has its merits when comparing/considering mode choice for defined trips, you go to the shops or travel to work and the distance will remain similar despite a change in transport mode. Changing to walking might encourage shorter trips due to the personal effort and time expenditure but thats equally possible with discouraging travel of any kind (distance taxing/pricing etc).

      You say that walking and cycling are not significantly dangerous to others, but having pulled apart the Australian numbers for transport accidents both walking and cycling present measurable and surprisingly large risks to other pedestrians and even cyclists. Around 0.5% of all pedestrian transport deaths were attributed to bicycles despite their tiny mode share (but then proportionally larger interaction with pedestrians through shared paths). Another 1% or so of pedestrian fatalities are through pedestrian-pedestrian interactions variously described such as death by “Striking against or bumped into by another person” or “Other fall on same level due to collision with, or pushing by, another person” where assaults have already been removed from the figures and reported separately.

      Heavy vehicles present disproportionate risks ahead of cars, and are the complementary extreme to pedestrians in internal/external risk comparison:
      Pedestrian safety has been improving across Australia but walking remains disproportionately dangerous and desperately needs more attention.

      • Steve says:

        “both walking and cycling present measurable and surprisingly large risks”
        Only if you call 0.5% “surprisingly large”. I tend to view that as “negligible”.

        • meltdblog says:

          If you compare them with their mode share, a bicycle is somewhere less than half as dangerous as to pedestrians as a car is, not 100 times less dangerous, not even 10 times less dangerous!

          0.5% of all pedestrian deaths for a mode share that has only 1-2% says that bicycles are a significant danger (in Australia). The small numbers of deaths makes it hard to get very accurate statistics, but it appears that bicycles are much more dangerous to pedestrians than commonly thought.

          • dr2chase says:

            US stats seem to have a bicycle as 10x less dangerous than a car to pedestrians. Most years, 1 pedestrian death due to a bicycle crash, usually a young man riding fast hitting a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Drivers killed almost 6000 pedestrians last year. US cycling trip share is about 0.6%, or was last I checked. (That gives 36x.)

            Distance is only slightly relevant. In the US, drivers use interstate highways and other limited-access roads to pile on safe mileage fast. You can see this looking at trip stats — trips of 5 miles or less account for half of all trips, but only 1/8 of all mileage.


            • meltdblog says:

              Australia has measured roughly equal vehicle distance travelled in the metropolitan and rural/remote areas, which matches the roughly equal split of transport fatalities between the two so our travel by distance has similar risks in both cases. Pedestrians however a) are not a plausible alternative in rural/remote areas due to the long trip distances and b) are not being killed in remote/rural areas in large numbers because they have such a small exposure (very limited mode share). Cherry picking the most highly engineered roads to make long distance driving appear safer is an easy hole to fall into:
              But those roads do not extend from door to door and most real journeys require travelling along a range of different roads each with differing levels of risk. The dream of conflict free driving to your destination on highways that go exactly where you need them to go has disappeared in induced demand.

              Even if we settle on bicycles being 10 times less dangerous than a car to pedestrians, that is still very dangerous and higher than most people would believe.

              • dr2chase says:

                I am not sure 10x is the actual number, so I’d prefer not to “settle” on it, and certainly not use it for extrapolation. The composition/behavior of cyclists and drivers matters quite a lot — any new trip share that bikes obtain in the US will tend to be slower (hence safer) cyclists, and drivers have been getting worse at pedestrian safety in recent years (in excess of increases in vehicle-miles-traveled). Bicycles are just barely deadly, and the risk is presented by the fastest few.

                At least in the US, I am not at all sure that 10x less dangerous is a greater difference than most people would believe, and from what UK press leaks across the ocean, I think the same holds true there as well.

          • pm says:

            But you can’t just compare with modal share, that’s a completely invalid thing to do! Because the relationship between cars and pedestrians and bikes and pedestrians is different. You aren’t comparing like-with-like, so it’s a meaningless comparison.

            Cyclists end up sharing space with pedestrians far more than do cars. True, some of this is due to rule-breaking by cyclists, illegally cycling on pavements – but that itself is a concequence of there being no safe route for the cyclist, so again is something that is itself a concequence of the infrastructure, and doesn’t have an analog with motor vehicles and shouldn’t really be included.

            To get any sort of comparison you’d have to only consider deaths in comparible situations, so excluding any shared-use paths or illegal pavement-cycling. Only cases of collisions with a ped crossing the road, plus any of riders ‘losing control’ and ‘mounting the pavement’ unintentionally. Or crashing through the walls of a building and killing someone inside, or getting stuck across railway lines causing a train to derail (I suspect the score for cyclists would be zero for those, not so for motorists of course).

            And then you’d have to allow for the different demographic of the riders/drivers, as the cyclists are of course more likely to be risk-embracing, young, and male, for the reasons outlined in the article.

            In short, your stats are flawed!

            • pm says:

              Maybe one could look at the Netherlands and compare ‘pedestrians killed crossing dedicated cycle paths’ with ‘pedestrians killed crossing the road’? That might be a more valid comparison. No idea what the numbers are, mind.

              • jeldering says:

                I tried to look up some Dutch statistics on pedestrians safety and causes of death. On this page (in English!) https://www.swov.nl/en/facts-figures/factsheet/pedestrian-safety it says that “cars were the most frequent crash opponents of pedestrians, namely for almost 67% of the in-patients. For approximately 11% of the in-patients a delivery van or lorry was the crash opponent; for 8% it was a moped rider and for 8% a light moped rider or cyclist.”
                Note that the 8% share for bikes includes light mopeds. These are mopeds for which no helmet is required and for which a speed limit of 25km/u applies. Thus it seems that in The Netherlands there’s approximately a factor of 10 difference between bicycles’ and cars’ danger to pedestrians.
                There is the document https://www.swov.nl/en/publication/crossing-facilities-cyclists-and-pedestrians listing crossing safety for pedestrians and cyclists, but it only lists statistics with the other party being motorised traffic.

            • meltdblog says:

              Modal share includes all the complications of how vehicles (and pedestrians) share space currently, its possible to find example trips that wouldn’t match the overall average exposure such as if a person could walk on segregated infrastructure directly from their house to the shops without any interaction with cars or bicycles. But if you want to shift mode share without doing anything else then the models provide a guide to what could be expected to happen with small changes: https://meltdblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/unbundling-for-walking/
              Taking the accepted percentage of pedestrian deaths caused by cycling is very instructive and then you can weight that however you feel appropriate to compare it to other modes, it still returns the result that bicycles are significantly dangerous to others.

              There is a balance to getting accurate statistics, so you need large samples to extract these small effects and can’t narrow down the sample so much that these relatively rare events disappear or become over represented through their Poisson distribution. Measuring the public impact of vehicles by the number of external deaths they cause per distance travelled allows us to consider how they are actually performing in the current built/regulatory environment and what might need to change in the future whether that be more or less use of particular modes, or changes to how they are used, or changes to infrastructure.

              • pm says:

                “it still returns the result that bicycles are significantly dangerous to others.”
                But as far as I can see, it doesn’t, for the reasons I just gave.

                Besides you say ‘if you want to shift mode share without doing anything else’ – but I don’t want to do that, and I don’t believe that can be done anyway, so what’s the relevance?

      • Ed Jones says:

        Meltedblog wrote ”Even if we settle on bicycles being 10 times less dangerous than a car to pedestrians, that is still very dangerous and higher than most people would believe.”
        Definitely higher than I would want to believe – live in Melbourne where your blog is based so read article with added interest. Especially since the recent death of an elderly gent following a collision with a cyclist on a crossing in St Kilda had journalists listing deaths of pedestrians involving cyclists like it was a serious problem, but actually was less than a handful over many years.
        This set me thinking why don’t we see daily or weekly reports of pedestrian deaths in areas where the modal share of cycling is relatively high?– for Melbourne this would be the flat inner areas like Moreland and Yarra and into the CBD with the share of commute trips by bicycle above or near 10% in 2011

        Click to access Cycling%20to%20work_in_Melbourne%201976%20to%202011.pdf

        ( page15 ) and probably increased since.

        I’m just an interested person who doesn’t really understand why it is so hard to cycle or walk somewhere without being in fear of your life so I don’t have ready access to piles of statistics or a real understanding of more complex statistical analysis. Having failed in the past to readily find fatality or KSI data easily for cyclist related collisions in Victoria I turned to other countries and being not that long from England I thought of York and Cambridge as cities with a lot of cyclists – no luck on hard data for UK but googling York took to me New York! Where with political will the modal share of cycling has probably doubled over the last few years (from a very low level) but data is being published:
        Number of cyclist/pedestrian collisions (NY citywide)

        Resulting in death to a pedestrian:
        2012 – 0 2013 – 1 2014 – 3 2015 – 0

        Resulting in injury to a pedestrian:
        2012 – 244 2013 – 316 2014 – 305 2015 – 361

        Daily cycling trips:
        2012 – 320, 000 2015 – 450,000

        (Hopefully reproduced the data so works on a wordpress blog), source is here:


        Conclusions? As might expect the fatality data is too low (thank goodness) and over too short a period to make out a trend but the pedestrian injury from collisions with cyclists seem to show an alarming trend…cycling trips up 40%, injuries to pedestrians from collisions with cyclists up 50%.

        If I was being deliberately dumb could leave at this and say go extrapolate but how about looking at the numeric changes…adding 130,000 cycling trips per day adds about 120 additional cyclist pedestrian collisions that result in pedestrian injury per year.

        In 2015 there were around 10,500 pedestrian injuries resulting from collisions with motor vehicles in NYC – to get to that number from cycling trips you’d need to add around 11million cycling trips per day and my best guesstimate based on 450,000 cycling trips probably being a 2% modal share is that would be a cycling share approaching 50%!

        So how many cycling trips would be needed to kill the 137 NYC pedestrians that died in motor vehicles collisions in 2015? The answer of course is an awfully big number and that has nothing to do with the low current number of deaths and the current low modal share of cycling but is simple physics: speed, mass, energy….here we go full circle and back to the article that prompted this post and the data presented: pedestrian deaths at varying speed limits from Victoria.


        The writer comments on the low number of deaths in 40km/hr zones but doesn’t really explore the issue or acknowledge that local councils have vigorously pursued VicRoads to allow more shopping and residential areas to have blanket 40km/hr speed limits to improve safety for both pedestrians and cyclists.
        40km/hr limits in urban areas aren’t quite the sweet spot, 30km/hr makes more sense but 40km/hr limits are low enough to significantly impact pedestrian and cyclist safety. 30km/hr limits change potentially fatal collisions in to near misses or into collisions that result in injuries that hopefully aren’t life changing.

        Click to access speed_en.pdf

        Moving to finish – when I lived in the UK was discussing a potential route for a local access trail to link to a national cycling route with a resident and got a very prompt and surprising “…ooh cyclists, they kill people all the time!” comment. That is plain wrong…but maybe now if someone says “but…I know someone who was knocked down by a cyclist and injured” then I’ll just have to remind myself that cyclists and pedestrians don’t mix that well and that when politicians aren’t brave enough to insist on reallocating road space or act to reduce speed limits in urban areas then cyclists shouldn’t be the fall guy.
        I’m not too worried that cyclists are more dangerous than I thought…I’m just worried that people might be persuaded that they are as dangerous as motor vehicles travelling at 60km/hr.

        • meltdblog says:

          The ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) release a detailed report “Underlying Causes of Death” which has a time series on transport fatalities, its nationally aggregated statistics but that makes it big enough to capture the unusual events. People identified as pedestrians killed in transport accidents by collision with a bicycle made up 0.6% of all pedestrian transport deaths over the period I have to hand. Considerations of mode share and exposure are needed to compare that result and you’ve seen my estimates above.

          We don’t see weekly news reports about it because the events are so rare, typically just one or two such deaths annually across Australia.

          I’m just trying to avoid the assumptions that bicycles present little or no threat of injury or death to pedestrians, because we have multiple sources of data to show that bicycle use is causing negative effects to pedestrians up to and including excess deaths. Increasing mixing of pedestrians and bicycles appears to have higher overall fatality rates than keeping pedestrians segregated and mixing bicycles with traffic in low speed areas, thats the kind of difficult planning/legislative decision that should be guided by clear statistics and real world results.

          • pm says:

            ” Increasing mixing of pedestrians and bicycles appears to have higher overall fatality rates than keeping pedestrians segregated and mixing bicycles with traffic in low speed areas, ”

            Um, but who is advocating mixing pedestrians and bicycles? Nobody likes shared-use paths, nobody wants them (other than car-centric councils who have no real interest in increasing cycling), so is this not a straw-main argument?

            Plus ‘mixing bicycles with traffic’ leads to people not cycling unless you also greatly reduce the speed and volume of traffic. That’s the ‘real world result’.

          • pm says:

            Also your concern with ‘real world results’ seems a bit odd. We can see the ‘real world results’ in countries that provide dedicated cycle routes vs those that don’t. We already have these results and they demonstrate what the best solution is.

            • Ed Jones says:

              “pm says:
              August 5, 2017 at 4:40 pm
              ” Increasing mixing of pedestrians and bicycles appears to have higher overall fatality rates than keeping pedestrians segregated and mixing bicycles with traffic in low speed areas, ”

              Um, but who is advocating mixing pedestrians and bicycles? Nobody likes shared-use paths, nobody wants them…………………..”

              bit of a down under issue, there is a sort of live campaign in Victoria, Aus to increase the age that children can ride cycles on pavements – some other states allow all cyclists to ride on pavements:
              Riders take to WA footpaths
              5 May 2016. The pressure is on Victoria to raise the footpath riding age after changes to the rules in West Australia.

              In Victoria only children up to the age of 12 are permitted to ride on the footpath.

              This was the case in WA, but the law was recently changed to allow riders of all ages on the footpaths.

              Bicycle Network has been campaigning for the age limit to the raised to 16. This would enable secondary school students to ride safely to school.

              The WA changes have had a mixed response.

              Bicycling WA chief executive, Jeremey Murray, said Western Australia was one of the last jurisdictions to change the law, and it was long overdue.

              “The change in the regulations is really a common sense approach that allows people such as parents riding with their kids or people that are less confident, rather than having to ride on a road, choosing a safer route such as a footpath,” he said………..
              full text and some other comments here:

              I say “sort of live campaign” because this still features on bicyclenetwork’s campaign list though I was under the impression that a review of road rules in Victoria earlier this year had ruled out any change in this area

  3. Pingback: A curious kind of safety | As Easy As Riding A Bike

  4. Steve says:

    Do you not fancy doing some maths as a kind of side-project. Deaths per time, based on the statistics to hand but with some rough factors in there for speed (eg 37mph average for cars (that’s what my daily commute averages at) , 12 for cycles, 2.5 for walking)?

  5. Dave says:

    To me, basing risk on distance travelled is more intuitive because when I am going somewhere, I have a choice of modes but the distance is constant.

    What might be fairer is to factor in sedentary disease to each mode. For me, that’s the justification for accepting a higher risk while riding to work.

    • Maufe says:

      As an adult, car driving male, you may have “a choice of modes”.
      Children, non-drivers, and disabled people do not have the same array of options.
      50% of kids want to cycle to school in the UK, 2% do so. Given the right road environments such as those found in the Netherlands, women cycle more than men. In the UK, the majority are too afraid because ‘the choice’ to walk or cycle (especially if you are accompanying children) is simply not there. Highways design which predominates in the UK privileges the adult in the car: this means most people do not have so many choices.

  6. For cycling, casualties per distance travelled is reasonable comparative purposes for short trips to shops, library (are there any left?), school, etc., but casualties per time travelled is more appropriate when cycle journey lengths start to exceed those which lots of people would regularly walk. Mayer Hillman produced some figures on this but dated from 1994 which showed that almost three-quarters of bike journeys were over 1km in distance, while less than one-quarter of walking journeys were over 1 km. And while plenty of cyclists cycle over 2km, only about 3percent of walkers stride that far.
    I will tweet the table from Mayer’s paper under #time-travel.

  7. Bmblbzzz says:

    “We could imagine a different town, one where all the pedestrian crossings only gave people walking a couple of seconds to cross the road, before motor traffic started speeding through again. Footways are also intermittent, giving up at random, forcing people to walk out into streams of heavy motor traffic.”
    We don’t need to imagine such a town, it’s the norm over much of the world. Usually it goes hand in hand with lax attitudes to road traffic laws from both drivers and police, horrendous air pollution, high pedestrian casualty rates, lots of drink driving, etc.

  8. tfoxglove says:

    I enjoy the thrill of riding the open sided bus and if I ‘take the seat’ and brace my legs for the bus cornering at a speed of 20mph, find I can travel quite safely.

    Buses with sides are actually more dangerous as you can’t see the corner coming up to brace yourself in time.

    Anyway buy my book Buscraft and I’ll teach you how to get about safely.

    • Spot on; I saw some Dutch people get off the ferry at Harwich & they just couldn’t cope with our open-sided buses – they don’t have them there as they are mollycoddled with enclosed buses and just don’t get the opportunity to learn how to cope with bus danger. We don’t won’t to go down the same de-skilling route as she Dutch, do we? Just teach people to use the braced primary position and all will be perfect.

      • Jitensha Oni says:

        You might have found that some buses are slipperier and take more twisty routes than others, and you find the lurching makes you travel sick to the extent you want to give up. Don’t use those, plan your journey on alternative services, though they might take more roundabout courses. Some highway authorities are building just such networks for those with more delicate stomachs, and novices.

      • Mark Williams says:

        I see that erstwhile DFT minister Norman Baker, of ‘cycling in UK is safer than NL because fewer deaths attributed to it per 100‍ ‍000 of population’ infamy, has recently been ‘appointed’ as managing director of a bus company. Is he going to make bussing merely as safe as cycling by the means described in this post or full-on infinitely safe by reducing passenger numbers to zero? Much as he seemed to be trying to do with cycling 😬.

  9. Sheridan says:

    I’d be interested on what the opinion is on whether closing central London to traffic for about six hours on one day of the year and inviting people who wouldn’t normally cycle helps or hinders those who cycle at other times. i.e. it could help by opening more people’s eyes to the benefits of cycling or could hinder by letter the Mayor avoid doing anything for the rest of the year.

    • Mark Williams says:

      My opinion is that I don’t really understand your question or recognise the terms in which you frame it. It’s only a small subset of [mainly private motor] traffic in a tiny part of central London, at the weekend—as happens pretty much every week to some extent for one event or another. You can virtually always get through any of these by walking, cycling and public transport in any case—even the new year’s eve fireworks, which are much more disruptive.

      Those of us who cycle the rest of the time in the existing atrocious conditions are possibly indifferent, sceptical or critical of anything the London mayors claims to be doing for cycling. Personally; I’m unconvinced that anything recent ones have taken credit for, including the handful of dedicated cycle tracks, have been for ‘the benefit of cycling’ per se but rather attempts at on-the-cheap ‘legacy’ masqueraded as plausibly deniable motor traffic calming and doubt the current mayor needs much hindering in that regard. He seems to be ‘avoid[ing] doing anything’ (not counting PR spin) just fine on his own.

  10. Tim says:

    “pedestrian crossings only gave people walking a couple of seconds”

    No no no. At least those timings would be predictable. The younger and fitter pedestrians could cater for it by running across. How about traffic lights with random timings, so you have no idea how long you’ve got? 🙂

    One great thing about cycling is the consistency and predictability of journey times. But not so the danger. Sometimes I’ll have a quiet safe bike commute with no scares and get to work smiling. Other days I have multiple near misses. No warnings. Perhaps an altercation with a driver. And my nerves are shot long before I walk into my office. I hate that. 😦

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