From the relative dangers of cycling to the legal reasons behind cyclists not paying taxes, here is the answer to some of the most frequently asked questions about cycling
Those of us who cycle are often interrogated - and in occasions even accused - by non-cyclists about many different things. A lot of the time we don't have the right answers, and on others, it may be incorrect as we, too, believe in some cycling myths:
1. Cycling is the most hazardous mode of transportation
To start with, pedestrians and motorcyclists are injured and killed on the roads at a bigger rate than cyclists. According to Department for Traffic's data system STATS19, cyclists represent 6% of injured on the roads, compared to 9 and 10% respectively for walkers and bikers - car drivers are 69% of those victims.
On the downside, cyclists are ten times more likely to be killed on the roads than car drivers. Also, in 2010 the number of fatalities among all types of road users fell for most users but for cyclists, whose number rose by 7%.
Conclusion: cycling is definitely not the most dangerous transport, although it is not totally safe either.
2. Cyclists should pay road tax, otherwise they don't have any right to be on the roads
This bitter comment was made not long ago by Addison Lee's boss John Griffin in a ranting letter published in his in-house magazine. But, as he should know, this is something completely ridiculous. Firstly, because there is no such thing as road tax, but a fee related to emissions called Vehicle Excise Duty or VED. Obviously, cyclists are exempt from this tax.
Secondly, if we take this argument to a moral ground, it doesn't stand a chance either - cyclists help to make less congested roads, which ultimately leads car drivers to save money.
Certainly we can't charge cyclists either for the wear and tear of the roads.
Conclusion: it is an absolutely nonsensical claim.
3. Bicycles are expensive
If you browse around high street shops, you may be put off by the astronomical price of many models, and it's difficult to spot any on display below £400 or so. However, according to specialists Bikebiz, the average price for a bicycle in the UK is £242.
That's still a sum to consider, but clearly the story doesn't end here: add up service (Halfords recommends an annual service at £49.99), initial accessories (lock, lights, helmet, jacket (an average of £100 all together), plus £150 a year on maintenance and accessories.
But if we think of a three year lifespan average (something that clearly depends on use frequency, storage and it not getting stolen), we'll end up spending around £300 a year.
In London for instance the cheapest way of travelling on public transport, is using an annual travelcard between two zones, and you'll spend £1,168.
For more information on how much money and time cycling saves you, visit the popular site "Cycle to Work Calculator" by Steve Morgan, an "all-weather commuting cyclist living and working in London," as he puts it.
Conclusion: get on your bike!
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