The Bicycle in the U.K.

Image by Sherrinford — The Noun Project

I have been cycling from a very young age whilst growing up in The Netherlands, the whole infrastructure there means that the cyclist has a higher priority over motorised vehicles, which everyone respects because everyone is a cyclist, yes indeed without exception. There are more bicycles than people in The Netherlands, some might even say it’s a problem with so many discarded cycles all over. This would be a nice problem to have here in the U.K.

When I moved to the U.K. in 1977, I cycled with fear and today 44 years later I still cycle on U.K. roads mostly in the countryside where I live, but still with fear, huge fear.

The issues with cycling on U.K. roads can be summarised as follows:

  1. Most U.K. citizens are not cyclists, most don’t own a bicycle and some have never cycled in their lives.

Since COVID-19 and lockdown a huge effort was made to advise the U.K. people to cycle to work, we were even given vouchers to get our bicycles fixed. In all my cycling outings since those announcements I see no more bicycles on the road, in fact I am lucky if I see even one other road cyclist. Maybe they are many mountain bikers cycling in the forest, which would be great, but somehow I doubt it.

I am also very doubtful that I will ever see a U.K. that is friendlier towards bicycles and I definitely will never witness a situation where bicycles will have priority over motorised vehicles. That will never happen here.

I am very curious how Britain will perform in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. Being a gold medal nation in cycling I am very surprised not more has been done to encourage mass take up of cycling and build the infrastructure for adults and children to jump on their bikes.

Whiteboard Animations Producer, Storyteller and Podcast Host at Staying Alive UK Storytelling Productions | www.stayingaliveuk.com