Check your facts, Petronella

It was another week of cycling bashing in the Daily Mail. After the recent outrage caused by James Martin, the C-list bike-hating celebrity chef, come the demented ramblings of Petronella Wyatt, who sees fit to blame us for pretty much everything that’s wrong in the world.

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, the big problem is that she’s got most of her facts totally wrong. Ms Wyatt wants a change in the law to force cyclists to take a test because of the increased number of accidents involving bike riders. Wrong.

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There has been a 107 per cent increase in cycling in London in the last decade yet the number of cycling casualties has actually fallen by 27 per cent.

She thinks there is a proposal to make motorists responsible for all accidents involving cyclists, irrespective of who was actually in the wrong. But Petronella is wrong again. The proposed Strict Liability legislation will always allow a driver the chance to prove a cyclist’s guilt.

And she says police have found that half the collisions between bicycles and cars are the fault of the cyclist. Not even close. In non-fatal collisions involving cyclists aged over 25 police solely blame the driver in about 70 per cent of cases and divide responsibility between both parties in 10 per cent more.

There’s already enough anti-bike hatred, without inventing nonsense statistics to support a deluded rant.

Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly

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