Common claims and canards

This page is an index and taxonomy for the common claims about cycling which continue to be made frequently despite having been rebutted many times. This section of the site allows us to gather those previous responses in the hope that we might be able to move beyond them in future discussions.

Disclaimer: these are wiki pages that many people can edit. They are not in their final form and you should not assume that they represent official Cycling Embassy policy.

Objections to cycling

  1. Cycling is dangerous
    1. Cycling is not safe for my children Not started
    2. I’m too scared to cycle Not started
    3. If you care about cycling safety, why don’t you wear helmets or protective clothing? Not started
  2. Cycling is not practical for the transportation or commuting needs of most people Tidy up
    1. I don’t want to get hot and sweaty Not started
    2. I don’t want to wear special cycling clothing Not started
    3. I’m too old, or too ill, to cycle Not started
    4. Cycling is too slow to get from A to B Not started
  3. It’s too hilly to cycle Not started
    1. People cycle in the Netherlands because it is flat
  4. The weather in Britain is just not suitable for cycling Tidy up
  5. Cycling is only for the young, fit, and able bodied Tidy up
  6. I don’t know how to look after bicycles Not started

Objections to cyclists

  1. Cyclists are lawless and dangerous Not started
    1. Cyclists need insurance/licensing/taxing Not started
    2. Cyclists ignore red lights Tidy up
    3. Cyclists ride on pavements
    4. Cyclists are a danger to pedestrians Tidy up
  2. When cycle lanes are provided cyclists don’t use them Not started
  3. Cyclists hog the road Not started
  4. Cyclists slow traffic, and create congestion Not started
    1. Cyclists are too slow, and shouldn’t be allowed on main roads Not started

General objections to cycling infrastructure

  1. We cannot afford to build cycle paths
  2. Our roads are too narrow for cycle paths
  3. Cycle paths won’t bring about increased cycling rates Not started
    1. Nobody uses the cycling infrastructure that exists already Not started
  4. Cyclists are already spoiled and specially treated Not started
  5. There are not enough cyclists to justify spending money on them Tidy up
    1. Nobody cycles – why should we build cycling infrastructure? Not started
  6. Cycling infrastructure is bad for pedestrians Not started
    1. Cycling infrastructure is bad for disabled groups Not started
    2. People will get mown down by cyclists on cycling infrastructure Not started
  7. Cycling infrastructure will disrupt bus services Not started
  8. Cycling does not contribute to the economy Not started
    1. Cycling infrastructure will ruin businesses Not started
    2. Businesses depend upon drivers Not started
    3. We need more free parking, not cycling infrastructure Not started
  9. Where will people park if we put in cycling infrastructure? Not started

Objections from cyclists to cycling infrastructure

  1. Cyclists prefer to use the road and do not want special infrastructure
  2. Cycle paths are poor quality
  3. Cycle paths are unsafe
    1. Cycle paths are dangerous where they cross junctions
    2. The Milton Keynes cycle network is more dangerous than the road network
    3. Dutch cyclists are not competent to cycle in the UK
  4. Cycle paths create conflicts with pedestrians Not started
  5. Cycle paths create the impression that cycling is dangerous and needs safety measures Not started
  6. If you build cycle paths we will be banned from cycling on the roads
    1. The Dutch are banned from cycling on the road Not started
  7. Cycle paths can not accommodate all kinds of cyclist Not started
  8. Dedicated cycle paths can not ever realistically be door-to-door for every journey
  9. If you build it they will come doesn’t work – just look at the Millennium Dome Not started

Alternatives to cycling infrastructure

  1. We should be concentrating on reducing speed and volume of motor traffic
    1. The Hierarchy Of Provision is a good idea in principle Not started
  2. We should be concentrating on educating drivers and changing driving culture Tidy up
    1. We should be educating drivers about passing distances Not started
    2. The Dutch cycle because strict liability made everybody drive safely and play nice
    3. Recent uptake in recycling is an example that shows it is possible to persuade people to change their behaviour
  3. We should be creating networks of cycle routes on quiet back streets
  4. We should be correcting the mistaken belief that cycling is unsafe Not started