British Cycling’s Chris Boardman talks road safety

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7 Sept 2012 | Boardman's (2h 45m)

Chris Boardman took to BBC TV and radio this morning to urge people to get behind British Cycling’s road safety campaign.

Highlighting that the key to making Britain’s roads safer is the government putting cycling at the heart of transport policy, Boardman told BBC Breakfast: “What we need to do is stop and say ‘where do we want to get to?’ It’s the environment that will make it safer. The government need to get more people riding bikes. 300 miles away in Denmark people are riding bikes in their suits on their way to work, for leisure, and everyone is happy. We need to change the philosophy around road design.”

Boardman also used the interview to emphasise that cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity: “Over 4 billion is spent each year by the health service on obesity related illnesses and there are over 35,000 deaths. With cyclists, there are just over 100 deaths. It’s tragic – but that’s with UK cyclists travelling 35 million miles or 800 times around the world...It is an incredibly safe form of transport.”

Boardman talked about how a cultural shift is needed in the UK to turn it into a cycling nation: “The emphasis shouldn’t be just on the cyclist. We’re creating a symptom without looking at the cause. If someone gets shot on the street, the answer isn’t that everyone should wear body armour. You say – ‘hang on a minute, maybe we need to look at the reasons behind this?’.”

Chris Boardman has also urged people to get behind British Cycling’s call for a review of the justice system. He said: “I asked you earlier this year to get your MP to attend the House of Commons debate on cycling and it got a record attendance. Now I’m asking you to write to your MP to get their support for our justice campaign. It’s easy, just use the British Cycling template letter and send it to your MP. We want a full review of how the system operates all the way from the investigation of incidents where people are hurt on the road through to prosecution and sentencing.”

British Cycling members have been supporting the move and so far 34 MPs have signed up to an early day motion calling for the justice system to be reviewed, a call led in Parliament by Julian Huppert MP.

Boardman's Five Live interview on i-player (2h 45m)