British Cycling policy adviser Chris Boardman highlights issues of road safety relating to lack of cycling infrastructure

Former world champion, Olympic champion and current British Cycling policy adviser Chris Boardman has said that he won’t let his eight-year-old daughter ride on his local roads for fear that she will be injured.

Writing for the BBC website, Boardman called for better cycling infrastructure to help encourage riders of every age to use their bikes as a mode of transport without fears over their safety due to mixing with other road users.

“Bikes have always been a part of my life and, like all parents, I’d love them to be part of my children’s lives too, but I have a problem. I won’t let my daughter ride the 300m it takes to get to our local cycling path,” said Boardman.

“Even though I know that she is statistically more likely to have an accident in our bathroom at home rather than on the road, cycling just doesn’t feel safe,” Boardman continued. “It’s a purely emotional response rather than a logical one – and that’s what most parents base their decisions on.”

Boardman then compares the one per cent of British children who cycle to school with the 50 per cent of those in the Netherlands, where there is a far more comprehensive cycling infrastructure in place.

“It’s not rocket science,” concluded Boardman. “Like any mode of transport, if you invest in it and make it an attractive alternative, people will use it. We did this with motorways in the 1960s, with airports in the 1970s, and rail in the 1990s – we can do the same with bikes.”

  • ANTONIO MARTIN

    I have been cycling for the last few years and I consider my cycling as a responsible one, I do think nowadays there is a boom period in the world of cycling and It has to be taken seriously as there are lots of lives risked out there on the roads.Passion is fine but also education should be better known by cyclists to avoiding accidents.Investing in infrastructure should be considered but also at the same time education in cycling

  • David chadderton

    “Lack of cycling infrastructure”
    I grew up and lived as a cyclist in North London and Hampshire during 1950-1993 where there was absolutely no cycling infrastucture. No bike lanes, paths or trails, just public roads. Oh, I did use the Redbridge concrete bike path alongside the dual carriageway west of Southampton. Will there ever be enough cycling infrastructure to make cycling for all ages safe and risk-free? No of course there cannot be. Cyclists will fall off anywhere, on roads, velodromes, trails, paths and grass.
    More infrastructure is of course welcomed. Political campaigns are fine. But, there will have to be an enormous number of tunnel underpasses, cyclists bridges, bike paths, bike-controlled traffic lights (and much wider roads in the UK, especially in the New Forest) to be able to say it is safe to cycle.
    Realistically, we cycle in a hazardous world. We take precaustions and ride safely, sometimes fast, hoping other road users also act responsibly, which the vast majority do.

  • David chadderton

    I wear cycling shoes with a hard sole to take the cleat and protect my feet from metal pedals. I wear cycling nicks to be comfortable in the saddle area. I wear leather mitts to protect my hands from abrasion, sunburn and skin damage if in contact with the road. I wear a jersey with rollable long sleeves to protect my skin from the weather and sunburn. I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from glare. I wear sunscreen to protectmy skin from sunburn. I ride on the left side of the road, on bike paths, trails and on the velodrome to minimise motor traffic interference with my fitness and health.
    I have worn helmets since they became available in the 80’s, to protect my head from hard objects, glare and sunburn. Yes, I do fall off my bike occassionally on road, trail and velodrome. Yes, on two occassions that I remember, I have hit my helmet on to the ground and not sustained any personal damage.
    Call me an unfashionable old coward if you wish, but I prefer to be a live ‘older’ Masters 9 ‘coward’ rather than a dead or brain damaged hero. Please wear a helmet. We only get one brain and one chance to look after it.