One of the best essays
on the matter, written by Marjut Ollitervo, vice chair of the Finnish Cyclists' Federation. There is also a video
and even a nice poster
, but please take your time and read the article
first. It's worth it!
Some bits to whet your appetite:
Cycling is a solution to many things: health, pollution, noise, congestion, equality, accessibility and environmental issues. That’s why I want to promote cycling. But there is an issue that keeps coming in the way: Safety.
It seems to be very difficult to talk about safety. People are very emotional about it. People take it very personally. Everyone has an opinion on it. Someone had a personal tragedy, etc.
Concerns about safety is one of the reasons why more people are not cycling. That’s why I wanted to learn what safety is really about, and understand how people see it and why.
Cambridge university scientists estimated that 7,5% of all premature deaths in Europe are due to physical inactivity. In Finland this means 4000 people every year.
Air pollution kills another 4000 people. About 20 people die in cycling crashes. And about 2-3 people a year might be saved if all cyclists wore bicycle helmets.
We know that bicycle helmet laws deter people from cycling. Even just promoting bicycle helmets deter people from cycling, because it makes cycling seem a dangerous activity.
But more cycling is a solution to the physical inactivity problem. 4000 deaths a year just in one country. We really should get more people cycling, not frighten them from cycling.
Of course we should also address the cycling deaths. But not at the expense of the physical inactivity problem. There’s no point in paying for one life with many lives.
This article is an analysis of road safety, how we talk about and act on it. It uncovers hidden motives and questions the mainstream safety discourse.www.kaupunkifillari.fi