“I am desperately worried about you cycling in London. You are not a driver and don’t realise the hazards of cycling in such a busy area even with cycle paths. I was knocked off my bike when I was young and cars and lorries appear from nowhere.”
- A concerned mother of a cyclist in London.
Mothers worry and this London cyclist’s mom is definitely not alone. Especially as she has had her own personal bad experience.
But what is the best way to appease these worries?
Personally, I would show that I share her concern. I’d tell her that I know that it can be dangerous and therefore I’m taking action to make sure I’m as safe as I can be.
I’d tell her about a cycle training course I’ll be taking soon, provided by my local council.
I’d tell her about some of the typical mistakes many cyclists make that put them in a dangerous position and about how the course teaches you to avoid these.
Whilst these are excellent steps for anyone to take, we can’t predict or protect ourselves against everything.
It’s not much comfort to a concerned mom that statistically speaking you are far more likely to extend your life thanks to improved health from cycling, than you are to reduce it due to an accident.
My hope is that as effective cycle campaigning persuades our local councils, transport planning authorities and the mayor of London to build better infrastructure for cyclists, we’ll hear less and less tragic stories of cyclists being knocked off their bikes by drivers.
Until change comes, we have to take a small risk, like we do with all endeavours in life and keep pedalling.
How would you respond to this text message?
I’ve covered this topic previously:
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.