Sir Chris Hoy says drivers and cyclists need to be less tribal, and accept that “we’re just people trying to get around.”
The former Olympian, a six-time gold medallist, has shared his thoughts on how to make the UK more cycling friendly, including removing the labels often put on different road users.
In an interview with The Herald, Hoy said he hopes the country can become more like Holland, Germany or Denmark, where cycling is simply a mode of transport.
He said: “The positive spin-offs from cycling….reduced congestion, reduced pollution, the general health of the nation, work-forces arriving at the start of the day alert and ready to go…the politicians are starting to understand that.
“People need to be less tribal about it. People see themselves as cyclists or drivers when in my opinion we are just people trying to get around.”
Hoy says a driving factor for the boom in cycling in the UK is the Tour de France and cycling for sport, which means people often associate cycling with racing bikes and lycra kit.
But instead he said he would like to see cycling become a go-to choice for travel, with people able to cycle in segregated lanes at lower speeds, without the need for high-vis clothing or feeling they need to wear helmets, like in Holland.
The biggest barrier for people cycling to work or school is safety, Hoy said.
Cycling levels in the UK have increased during 2020, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic as people have tried to avoid public transport and stay active.
The government has also introduced new measures in the hopes of ushering in a “golden age of cycling,” including the popular bike repair voucher scheme and freeing up funds for new cycling infrastructure.
Hoy added: “If you are absolutely determined never to ride a bike and all you want to do is drive a car then fair enough but if there are more people on bikes then there are less cars and drivers are going to benefit too.”