After Bradley Wiggins and Shane Sutton were both involved in crashes on the road this week, cycle safety made national UK media headlines. When a Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medallist is hit by a car, then it’s news as far as the general public are concerned.
Given the Olympic connection, the subject is close to the hearts of Team GB boss Dave Brailsford and recently retired track sprinter Victoria Pendleton, who were interviewed by the BBC today. Both realise the potential hazards of cycling on the roads and recognise that it’s a two way street (pardon the pun).
Brailsford said: “We’ve got to put safety first and I think we would encourage our riders to ride as safely as possible, but also from a British public point of view to recognise that we share the roads with them. To push forward the legacy of the Games could be a greater awareness and understanding of cycle safety and just how vulnerable they can be on the roads.”
Pendleton said that training on the roads is “something you have to do, you have no other option. I trained on the roads. And quite often I did feel quite vulnerable out there with a lot of near misses but fortunately nothing serious over my professional cycling career.”
While she thought that the two recent incidents were not indicative of the roads getting any more dangerous, she stressed that both cyclists and drivers have to be aware: “Something that I always talk about when I’m talking about safety on the roads is that there has to be a mutual respect from the cyclist and the other road users. The cyclist should stick to the rules and ride very safely wherever possible and then the vehicles should have a respect for the cyclists and do whatever they can to be as safe as possible and it’s a two way thing.
“I think if both parties were a bit more considerate it would be an even nicer place to cycle out there.”