Published: 8 October 2012
Report: Eddie Allen
“The more people who cycle, the more road users are going to think, ‘I know what it’s like so I’ll give more space and respect.'” Sir Chris Hoy, speaking to the Sunday Herald on 7 October following the opening of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow.
Hoy was honoured by having the stunning new cycling facility named in his honour at the weekend, the latest accolade for the 36-year-old Scot who has become a household name due to his on-track exploits in Athens, Beijing and London.
However Hoy was keen to point out that essentially, he’s a normal cyclist when off the track, subject to the same road conditions as everyone else. “Fundamentally, I’m a cyclist,” said Hoy. “Yes I race on the track, but I still use my bike to get about, for fun and other normal reasons.
“It is important to see the environment we cycle in improved,” continued the multiple Olympic champion, “Whether it’s the road surfaces, bike lanes or attitudes from other road users.”
Mutual respect between all road users is the overarching ethos of British Cycling Road Safety Manifesto, a point which Hoy was keen to emphasise. “There is a car advert which says, ‘At the end of the day, we are all just people trying to get somewhere’, and that’s very true.
“Ultimately, cyclists have responsibility too. They have to obey the rules and treat the road with the same respect. That’s the frustrating thing. You don’t remember the cyclists who are law abiding – you remember the one that jumped a red light or who was riding on the pavement. It’s about everyone having a bit more respect for other road users across the board.”
Hoy’s comments coincide with the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) writing to the Prime Minister on 5 October, urging him “to use his speech at the Conservative Party Conference to make clear that Britain’s cyclists can count on his personal leadership …to get more people cycling.” The Prime Minister is due to close the conference on Wednesday.
The letter went on to call on the new Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin to “tell the Conference precisely what measures the Department for Transport will implement to encourage more cyclists and to make it safer for them.” In his speech today, Mr Mcloughlin went some way to addressing this when he said “We’ve got to build safety into our roads for everyone. That means better design and better education too.”
Signed by over 40 MPs from across the political spectrum, the letter continued, stating that “the economic and social benefits of cycling in improving health, tackling obesity and reducing congestion and pollution are being lost through inaction.
“Leadership, commitment and investment across government in new policies and infrastructure are all that can reverse this trend of innocent lives lost and encourage more people to ride their bikes on Britain’s streets”.