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The bicycle is a wonderfully accessible tool for transport

My transcript of Chris Boardman, Olympic Cycling Gold Medallist 1992 on BBC Newsnight 2nd August 2012 @ 10:53pm

Interviewer refers to cycling being very close to the British character and we see it in ourselves.

I think it [using a bicycle] is just a wonderfully accessible tool for transport, isn’t it?
It’s something you can do from 8 to 80 and either side of that as well.
Unlike running you can free-wheel riding a bike; you can choose your speed so it’s massively accessible.
I hope what we’re going to see here is a massive advert for the sport and we’ll see that ripple out and we’ll start to see it used more as a tool for transport.
So, the implications of success here could be huge.

Interviewer refers to Wiggins comment* yesterday about wanting to see laws for helmet wearing…

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman, MBE is an English former racing cyclist who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. He was interviewed on BBC Newsnight on 2 August 2012.

I’m not sure about that actually, no.
Statistics don’t necessarily support it either.
It’s a tool for transport and helmets are tool that are used when they are required.
I think really the question is why do we need helmets now and we didn’t 10 years ago?
I think they can detract from for me what is the real argument is why don’t we make an environment that let’s this activity take place?
It solves so many problems with pollution, with health, with congestion – why don’t we invest in it?

Interviewer asks him to elaborate…

There is a finite amount of road space and we’re at the junction now where you have to make a choice and politically that is very difficult because somebody has to pay, and at the moment road design is very much, for cyclists, ‘get the cyclist out of the way of the car safely’ rather than ‘let’s move the car out of the way of the cyclist’ and that is a big call for a politician to make.

Interviewer asks if he doubts that will happen…

Well, I think things like what we’re seeing right now at the Olympics is the kind of focus on this sport along with the upswell the amount of people cycling in London in what is, let’s say, a challenging environment, now is a good time to make a call like that.


The programme is available in the UK to watch on iPlayer until August 9th HERE.

* Note: Bradley Wiggins has clarified his remarks about laws for wearing helmets when on a bicycle:

  • @bradwiggins (about 2pm on 2 Aug 2012 via Twitter): Just to confirm I haven’t called for helmets to be made the law as reports suggest … I suggested it may be the way to go to give cyclists more protection legally [if] involved In an accident

3 comments to The bicycle is a wonderfully accessible tool for transport

  • Devon Earlington

    Bicycle is not only a great tool of transportation, it is also a great way to exercise. I don’t know how to bike and that is something I am currently working on. I am so looking forward to the day when I can finally ride my bike.

  • I live in New Zealand where wearing a bike helmet has been a legal requirement since 1994. I know that research and option on the efficacy of helment wearing is variable but my son was knocked off his bike by a motorist on a roundabout and his head remained intact because he was wearing a helmet. His leg was smashed into all number of pieces and he still he has one leg shorter than the other but his brain remained intact and he retained his mental capacity. I personally hate wearing bike helments but, because of this, I support their use.

    • I am sorry to hear of that accident to your son. Bicycle helmets, though are meant only to protect a person falling off of a bicycle at slow speed, not from any other crash – and certainly not with a motor vehicle. Your comment raises many issues about the dangers that people in cars present to other people who share the road with them. Thankfully, more is slowly being done to remove the conflict and educate everyone on the issues involved.

      Did the person who hit your son get charged with dangerous or reckless driving? If not, why not?

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