PH wrote:Admin, what persuades you to cycle?
Because I have cycled for local transport for all my adult life, and because we only have one car, so I have to cycle to take the children to and from school. I also cycle because it's environmentally responsible, efficient, clean, and provides regular exercise. I consciously suppress the anxiety of cycling amongst motor vehicles, as I've learnt to do as a regular cyclist.
PH wrote:A simple question, if you believe it's so dangerous why do it?
That's a question I often ask myself. Should we buy a second car, and stop running the gauntlet of motor traffic twice a day?
We keep cycling based on the statistics that say that being seriously injured or killed while cycling is very unlikely. But the reality of everyday experiences sometimes makes it hard to believe the statistics (e.g. when a white van comes so close you really think it's going to hit you).
PH wrote:And if you're persuaded why would you think it impossible to persuade others?
I started cycling in my teens, in Scotland, where there was almost no motor traffic. I was hooked on the pleasure, freedom, and general fun of cycling, and have cycled ever since. As far as touring in the French Alps and Colorado Rockies, as well as in northen France and extensively in West Sussex. I also gained my Audax Super Randonneur badge when I was younger and still single. I'm a cyclist.
Because of the reality of cycling is scary, if not downright frightening. And because cycling apparently needs protective equipment (helmet, high-vis, specialist clothing) and training (even for adults) according to almost everyone you talk to, including existing cyclists and cyclist organisations. The vast majority of the population are not keen cyclists.
A comparison: sky diving is statistically very safe, and you're very unlikely to be injured or killed jumping out of a plane with a parachute on. But, like cycling, if something does go wrong, there is the very very slight possibility that you could be killed through no fault or failing of your own. Persuading people to cycle for local transport is a similar thing to presuading people to go sky-diving. Their natural instincts, and combined wisdom of society, is that cycling is a dangerous activity. A few keen cyclists telling people that "cycling is safe, really" isn't ever going to change that (especially when many cyclists say "you must wear a helmet and high-viz, and ideally get some training too").
Remember, cycling isn't scary or dangerous, it's the motor traffic that's scary and dangerous. Where we have cycleways that are traffic free, ordinary people are quite happy to ride bicycles for transport and even for pleasure. Where motor traffic is becoming tamed, such as in inner London, the risks of being run over also appear lessened, and again ordinary people (who wouldn't consider themsleves to be "cyclists") are taking to their bicycles for local transport in their thousands.
And, of course, there are som enlightened countries closer to me here on the South Coast than Scotland is, where the ubiquitous cycleways mean that almost the entire population ride bicycles for transport on a regular basis. These are not "cyclists", but ordinary people who are happy to ride bicycles when the danger from motor vehicles is almost entirely removed. A side-effect is that cyclists also benefit, from Safety in Numbers, to having decent cycle-specific infrastructure like bridges, to the general understading of the population that cycling is safe and cycling is a Good Thing.