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Cyclists In High Vis: A Matter Of Perspective

The clocks have gone back and the shorter days pose new dangers for cyclists riding home from work in the evening rush hour.

Quite a lot has been written about road safety in the dark, now British Summer Time has ended, and the messages often place the burden on cyclists to take precautions by wearing bright clothing, ensuring their reflectors are working and so on.

Of course they do have to take responsibility for their own safety, but it is not solely down to the cyclist.

There is no obligation for them to wear high-visibility clothing or a helmet and, in some cases, such impositions will actually deter them from cycling.

We all need to accept responsibility for everyone’s safety, and we need a change of culture when it comes to sharing the space on our roads so motorists are more respectful of cyclists.

We need to move away from the archaic notion that the car is king.

As more people opt to commute by bicycle, their critical mass should act as a constant reminder to drivers that they are likely to encounter cyclists on their journeys.

Getting people out of their cars and on to bicycles means they lead more active lifestyles and enjoy a greater sense of freedom and fun, which in turn should help society tackle health issues while reducing pollution and improving air quality and the public realm.

Fewer cars being driven creates more space on our roads, which then become safer. Also, this often cuts commuting times, especially for shorter journeys.

Yes, cyclists do need to take sensible precautions but we must ensure there are no barriers which prevent people swapping four wheels for two.

If you'd like to discuss this further, you can contact me direct on Nadia.Kerr@jmw.co.uk