Letter to cycling I sent to Cycling Scotland via their website recently, after noticing how many of the images there “dangerise” cycling. I wonder if their efforts, however well-intentioned, may actually be counter-productive.
In your “About Us” you state a number of goals for your organisation, including goal 4:
“Show that cycling is a safe, effective and economical transport option that’s better for the people of Scotland, and for their environment“
Every picture on your website appears to show cyclists wearing safety equipment. The section on “bikeability” training – targeted at children – has pictures of children in hi-viz vests along with helmets. Further, though I have not yet looked at your training materials, I assume from the visual message on your website that you also strongly promote safety equipment to any potential cyclists or parents.
I am curious how you reconcile goal 4 with the message you seem to have deliberately created that cycling is so dangerous that it requires safety equipment? A message which is course not grounded in reality, as cycling is little more dangerous than other normal, daily activities such as walking beside the road.
I note that in the Netherlands, which has the best cycling safety in the western world along with the highest cycling rates, there is almost no use of safety equipment. Thus, it is an undeniable fact that helmets and hi-viz are not a pre-requisite for safe cycling. Are you perhaps working against real safe cycling by helping promulgate a false sense of cycling danger, and thus perhaps turning off more people from cycling than you encourage?