As a long-term cycling enthusiast, I naturally welcome the Blazing Saddles article by Emma O Kelly (DW 19 September).
Although there is a resurgence of interest in cycling, the claim of seven million riders in the UK is rather optimistic. Research indicates that there are around one million regular commuters and up to four million occasional users.
This means we still have much work to encourage further usage in the UK, where only 2.3 per cent of journeys are by bike, compared to 18 per cent in Denmark and 27 per cent in the Netherlands.
As Emma correctly states, we have a high accident rate in the UK which certainly deters use. Designers, architects and engineers can have a direct influence on this. Where local authorities develop schemes to separate vulnerable cyclists from other traffic, there are many immediate benefits. In Kingston-upon-Thames, such initiatives have resulted in a reduction in cycling casualties of over 25 per cent in the last year.
The UK cycle trade has spent years promoting the slow, heavy and ugly mountain bike as a kind of fashion item. As an experienced cyclist and a designer, it’s frustrating to see this. It has little relevance to the superb ability of the conventional bicycle.
Britain excels at the manufacture of quality bikes. There are at least 200 specialist companies who design and make bicycles which are bought by knowledgeable customers around the world.
Perhaps we should form a new kind of DBA – the Designers Bicycle Association – and anyone interested can contact!
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