When you cycle on the road, the general advice in the UK is for you to wear hi-visibility clothing, a helmet, and to take lots of care.
And I got to thinking: that’s the advice for a cyclist who is on the road. But what advice do we give to pedestrians using shared facilities – such as where the cycle lane is in the same place as the pavement, or where it’s ‘proper’ shared use, as in the new Exhibition Road?
The nearest I’ve seen is the extensive TfL documentation sent to my children to tell them to be ‘safe on the roads’. We don’t tell pedestrians – when they’re around cyclists – that they need to dress differently, or behave differently. Although they’re theoretically the vulnerable partners in the relationship – just like cyclists are, when on the road – we don’t expect them to do something special to use space they’re entitled to.
But in the UK cyclists are different. Here, you need to dress specially and behave specially just to use a bike. And as long as our councils and cycling bodies and Government departments think that, mass cycling will be a twinkle in the eyes of a few bloggers.