Mr. Olliffe of the British Motorcyclists Federation (Letters 26th May) is correct to say that I work as Cycling Officer for a London Borough - I am proud to do so and only wish that more Borough Cycling Officers had the resources and commitment to properly support cycling that I have. The Road Danger Reduction Forum sees cycling as a key mode of transport which is inadequately supported. We see private motorised transport (including motorcycling) as getting too much support, with the modes having a more beneficial effect on health and the environment, particularly cycling and also walking, as getting too little.
The relative problems caused by motorcycling and cycling were described in my letter of 12th May, and Mr. Olliffe has answered none of the main points made there. His comment that despite my “reservations on safety (of motorcycles)” large numbers of people are taking up motorcycling speaks volumes. They may indeed not have high regard for the safety of other road users, particularly pedestrians, or (less importantly) themselves – but that does not mean that practitioners or society as a whole should accept the dangers of motorcycling.
An equitable and sustainable transport system needs to be based on a full appreciation of the benefits and disbenefits of all forms of transport to society and the environment. Not only is cycling disadvantaged in this respect with regard to motorcycling, but any measure of external costs shows cycling costing far less than private motor transport (including motorcycling). This deficit is not by any means met by allocation of Government funds to support cycling - which Mr. Olliffee laughably refers to as “run(ning) at a high level”.
Even if funding for cycle schemes was massively increased and always allocated to genuinely useful and necessary schemes – which it is not – the financial and other costs of motorcycling would be greater. On top of this, as explained in my letter, a large part of the provision for cycling (such as Advanced Stop Lines) seems to be used against its purpose for the benefit of motorcycling. We are now told in addition that scarce resources should be spent on promoting motorcycling: those of us concerned with meeting the challenges of climate change, public health, road danger, and an inequitable transport system do not find this acceptable.