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CTC hits back at "lycra lout" comments in Commons report

Cyclists' organisation puts casualty stats into perspective...

The CTC has swiftly hit back at comments condemning cyclists contained in a House of Commons response to a National Audit Office report on pedestrian and cyclist safety published today and reported earlier on

The comments, seized upon eagerly by the Daily Mail, were based on evidence - well, more of an anti-cyclist rant, in truth - given earlier this year by Tory MP David Curry to the Commons Public Accounts Committee, which published the response. 

Roger Geffen, the Campaigns & Policy Manager at the the national cyclists' organisation CTC has issued a brief statement in response, which we are happy to reproduce in full here:

"MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee have just published a short report on pedestrian and cyclist safety, in which they have rightly called for more 20mph speed limits, traffic calming and cameras, particularly in the most deprived areas where children are at greatest risk. Yet the Daily Mail has latched onto a paragraph in which the MPs urge the Government to tackle the “strongly held perception that, through the irresponsible behaviour of some cyclists, they are a hazard to themselves and other road users”. This was based on the tirade from Committee member David Curry MP during the evidence-session earlier this summer (scroll down to “MPs scrutinise cycle safety report”), where he talked about cyclists “going like bat out of hell… dressed like Darth Vadar, as they all do!”

The CTC response continues:

"So instead of perceptions, can we deal with reality? On average there are about 2 pedestrians killed by motor vehicles on our roads every day, compared with about 2 a year killed by bicycles. Even on pavements and verges, motor vehicles kill around 40 pedestrians every year, i.e. almost one a week, whereas there have been just 3 pedestrians killed by pavement cyclists in the whole of this decade. For more comparisons of the involvement of motor vehicles and cycles in injuring pedestrians, see this CTC briefing." 

"CTC in no way condones law-breaking cycling and we are strongly in favour of more and better traffic policing – indeed this is one of the key aims of our new Stop SMIDSY campaign. But let’s get this in perspective – cyclists are far more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of irresponsible behaviour on our roads. And cycles are far less of a threat to pedestrians, or any other road user for that matter."

The CTC concludes by saying:

"By the way, 2 days ago David Curry MP was voted on to chair the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee. So we can now rest assured that sleaze among MPs will be fiercely tackled thanks to his outstanding skills in Parliamentary scrutiny!"

Presumably Mr Curry will now suddenly find himself too busy in his new role to have time to consider the CTC's response, let alone answer the comments regarding his view of cyclists on this site and elsewhere - but we can always hope. And if you're lucky enough to live in his constituency, Skipton and Ripon, you could always write to him - his contact details are on his website.


Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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