Laura Trott claims that cyclists riding recklessly have only themselves to blame should they get hit by a vehicle. “It’s not always the car’s fault” she said. She also echoed calls by Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish in recent days for cycle helmets to be made compulsory.
Trott, winner of two gold medals at London 2012, was speaking in her role as one of Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s cycling ambassadors, says the Evening Standard.
While the mayor has expressed concerns about a minority of cyclists who disobey the rules of the road, Trott’s comments appear far more sweeping and, some may say, poorly thought through.
“Cyclists wonder why they get a bad name,” she told the newspaper. “I see cyclists jumping in and out of the buses and people wonder why they get hit.
“It’s not always the car’s fault,” she added, although of course substituting “motorist” for “car” would be more accurate.
“Cyclists need to help themselves and should not jump red lights.
“I would ride in London but I certainly wouldn’t ride like that, you just have to be careful.
“I can understand going down the outside of traffic but you should obey the rules of the road because we’re all road users.”
The Standard points out that 14 cyclists lost their lives on the city’s roads last year, and that six more have died so far in 2013.
What neither it – nor Trott – acknowledge is that in the vast majority of cases, the cyclist has done nothing wrong.
And far from cars, it is lorries that present the greatest danger to cyclists on London’s streets.
According to the London Cycling Campaign, HGVs account for just 5 per cent of the city’s traffic, but are responsible for around half of cyclist fatalities.
Many of those deaths occur at junctions, where the cyclist – all too often, a female in her 20s or 30s – is obeying the law, stopped at a traffic light, but on the inside of a lorry that then turns left and not seen by the driver.
Trott, aged 21, has also called for more segregated bike lanes, such as the one planned to run along the Embankment.
“It shows show we’re becoming a cycling nation and the scheme is needed now. If you don’t do it then London’s roads are going to be filled with cyclists. We need more bike lanes in central London.”
TfL’s video animations showing new infrastructure being out in place on the Stratford extension of Barclays Cycle Superhighway CS2 have been widely criticised, including here on road.cc, as over-complicated and counter-intuitive, however.
Trott added that helmets should be made compulsory for cyclists, something that the mayor’s own cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, opposes.
Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have also supported calls for mandatory helmets for cyclists in recent days.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.