Pavement cycling incident sparks anti-cycling commentary in the media

Pavement cyclist

Following an incident in Blackpool last week where a toddler was hit by a man cycling on the pavement, there has been a spate of 'anti-cycling' commentary in the media.

Tuesday's episode of You and Yours on Radio 4 asks callers “Have you ever been put at risk on the road by a cyclist?” The ‘At Risk from Cyclists’ episode of the consumer affairs programme is on from 12.15pm.

LCC has sent in the comment below. 

We at London Cycling Campaign were shocked to hear that a child had been hit by a cyclist on a pavement in Blackpool. Pavement cycling is often a direct result of a lack of dedicated infrastructure for cycling: cyclists may feel drawn to riding on the pavement because they perceive it as safer than sharing the road with fast moving motor traffic on busy roads.

This is not to excuse the individual concerned. Of course, cyclists should behave responsibly and within the law. However, it is important to recognise the conditions that influence people’s personal choices and behaviours.

Thankfully, incidents like this are rare. Few pedestrians are killed or injured by cyclists. Around 98% of serious or fatal pedestrian injuries in urban areas are due to collisions with motor vehicles. The primary source of road danger to pedestrians is motor traffic: the same conditions that lead a minority of cyclists to ride on the pavement rather than in the road.

The solution is not compulsory bike registration, which would be costly and act as a deterrent to cycling. There is no evidence that cycle licensing schemes help in reducing accidents and tragic deaths. In places like Los Angeles and Switzerland they have been abolished a short time after being introduced. The solution must be to address the issue at source. Providing safe space for cycling on our streets, and reducing the danger from motor vehicles towards all road users, will not only enable more people to choose to cycle but will, in quantifiable terms, reduce collisions, and the fear of collisions.

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Police are due to speak to the cyclist responsible for hitting the child in Blackpool, who could face a jail sentence if he is charged with causing bodily harm by wanton and furious cycling. This charge carries a possible jail sentence and must go to a crown court to be heard by judge and jury. If the toddler had been hit by a motorist, and the same injuries had been sustained, the likely charge of causing injury by careless driving would not carry a jail sentence.