Let's bust some common myths about cycling! You can play 'myth bingo' using the comments section of any online national news story about cycling!


Cycling is for hippies and harms the economy

An environment that's friendly to cycling can be economically successful: GDP per capita in the Netherlands is about 10% higher than the UK.


Cyclists are a big danger to pedestrians

For every pedestrian killed or injured by a cyclist, more than 100 are killed or injured by motor vehicles. Even on UK pavements, pedestrian deaths caused by vehicles are much more common than those caused by pedal cycles.


Cyclists should have insurance

Many cyclists already have third party insurance: it’s included in the membership of organisations like British Cycling and the Cycling UK at the cost of just a few pounds a year.


Cyclists should be forced by law to wear helmets and high-vis

Countries that have brought in compulsory helmet laws have seen a decline in people getting on their bikes. Analysis using the World Health Organisation’s tool shows that compulsory helmets in the UK would save about 12 lives a year through preventing head injuries. But an extra 250 lives would be lost through lack of exercise as people are put off cycling. All these points are summarised in an excellent video by  Peter Walker and his colleagues at The Guardian


Cyclists don't pay for the roads and have no right to road space

"Road tax" doesn't exist. It's vehicle excise duty (VED), with banded charges based on vehicle emissions. Cyclists pay exactly the same as any other zero-emissions vehicle, that is £0. Roads are paid for via general and local taxation such as council tax and income tax: cyclists pay these taxes and therefore have just as much right to use the roads as anyone else. The majority of cyclists are also drivers, and cyclists are actually more likely to drive a car and pay VED than the general population.

Taking into account the wider costs of motoring, such as air quality, the health costs arising from crashes and physical inactivity, noise, and carbon emissions, the overall costs imposed on society by motoring outweigh the revenues obtained from motorists, probably very substantially. The subsidy is even more exaggerated for HGVs.