Helping cyclists

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In Alastair Dalton’s Inside Transport comment (1 May) he reflects on the introduction of new cycling infrastructure for better cycle safety.

From his own experience he found that dedicated cycling lanes don’t necessarily work, as cyclists “don’t fit” very well with other vehicles and pedestrians. He suggests that what is needed is a cultural shift if everyone is going to respect each other’s right to the road.

While improvements to road infrastructure are important, on their own they will never be enough to make Scotland a cycle-friendly nation.

To achieve a change in culture, we need to be far more innovative and open minded, and look at what has happened in 
neighbouring European countries. On the Continent, a system of presumed liability has made a difference to attitudes on the road because those in charge of the more powerful vehicle have to take responsibility for the safety and protection of the more vulnerable.

It acts as an incentive to exercise care. Similarly, where more women take to bikes to get to work, to go to school with the kids, or to get to the shops, 
cycling is normalised – accepted as an everyday mode of transport.

To keep cyclists safe, we have to look at a balanced package of measures that embrace legislative, lifestyle and infrastructure changes.

Brenda Mitchell

Cycle Law Scotland

Castle Street

Edinburgh