I try and avoid reading the ‘Another point of view’ column written by Philip Circus as it rarely offers any insight for enquiring minds. His complaints about dangerous cyclists did catch my attention however as I’m a regular pedestrian, cyclist and motorist and the cycling debate often receives contributions that overlook the basic facts in favour of emotional reactions to tragic events.
Mr Circus asserts that ten pedestrians have been killed by cyclists between 2005 and 2009 in the UK, forgetting to add that this is out of a total of over 14,000 road deaths in the same period according to the Dept for Transport. Of these deaths, over 3,000 were pedestrians, so cyclists caused 0.3 per cent of these deaths if you erroneously assume that the pedestrian was never at fault.
Some 650 cyclists were killed in the same period and in the absence of data it’s safe to suggest that very few of these were by pedestrians or other cyclists; it’s most likely that cars, buses and trucks caused most of these deaths along with the 3,000 pedestrians they killed.
This leaves me asking myself what the councillor’s point is. He seems to be suggesting that the Government should focus on reducing pedestrian deaths at the hands of cyclists and that the Government is failing in its duty. Every road death is a tragedy and it’s foolish and dangerous to vilify one group of road users such as cyclists by peddling (ahem!) misleading statistics; this does not help to solve the problem of road deaths at all.
Perhaps the councillor could use his privileged position to improve road safety in Horsham; promoting cycling proficiency lessons in schools would be well within his realm of influence and this hasn’t been discussed by the council since 2006 according to published papers. I could be wrong, but it’s just another point of view.
Cromwell Road, Hove