Yesterday in the Sydney Morning Herald there was an article highlighting the increase in middle-aged men taking up cycling and also a corresponding increase in their injuries. The article can be found here. I wasn’t too impressed as it ignores the teething problems you always get with new infrastructure and increasing driver awareness.
Today in the Letters to the Editor there was these great responses to the article:
Cyclists can rely on safety in numbers
What good news that middle-aged men are taking up cycling (”Revealed: middle-aged men at most risk on two wheels”, April 1). Collectively we’ll save a lot more in the health budget than we’ll spend on injuries. RTA data on three major cycleway entries to the city – at the Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge and Anzac Parade – show growth of cycling into the city grew by 10 per cent a year from 2000 to 2008, and by 20 per cent in 2009. The City of Sydney commissioned counts early and late last year intersections that found more than 30 per cent growth in just six months.
The well-known theory of ”safety in numbers” predicts more people cycling makes it safer for all cyclists, and we’re seeing this in Sydney.
Chris Rissel Sydney School of public health, University of Sydney
The issue is whether the increase in injuries is a reflection of more cycling or inadequate road safety measures for cyclists. I suspect it is largely the latter because experience overseas shows that as the number of cyclists increases, injury rates generally decline, with the rate of decline being greatest in those nations having better conditions for cyclists. Sydney is embarking on an important and ambitious program of providing cycling infrastructure in selected areas but this must be accompanied by policies that treat cycling as a legitimate form of transport, including lowering urban speed limits, education for both drivers and cyclists, and imposing stricter levels of liability for drivers involved in bike collisions. We have done a lot to improve car occupant safety, but the trends shown your report suggests there may be a ”cycling blind spot” in road safety in NSW.
Stephen Greaves Associate Professor in transport management, University of Sydney
I also loved this article yesterday which was really an April Fools joke but I found it made helmets look just as ridiculous too.