If you’re a cyclist, you probably end up in a lot of frustrating arguments with folks who seem to hate your chosen method of transport, a method which not only benefits you, but also makes the city streets safer for everyone.
The U.K. now has a website designed solely to help you combat such ignorance. It’s called Cycling Fallacies, and it provides smart arguments against 30 misconceptions about cycling and cycling infrastructure, from "cycling makes you sweaty," through "shops won’t get deliveries if bike lanes are installed" to "cyclists would be safe enough if only drivers were educated. It even tackles the dreaded helmet argument:
Wearing a helmet makes little difference to overall cycling safety. Countries with mandatory helmet laws show no reduction in head injuries (or injuries overall) compared to countries or other areas without these laws.
Requiring helmet use, especially through legislation, is proven to have a negative impact: it discourages people from cycling, thus reducing the societal benefit accruing from a healthier, more active population.
Even if you’re familiar with the usual counter-arguments against people who complain that cyclists run red lights or that we don’t pay for the upkeep of roads, the site is worth checking out, even if its only to bookmark the link to send to your most ignorant friends. And each point is not only well argued, but comes with a list of links for further reading. This isn’t just an opinion-led, pro-cycling rant.
Perhaps the most useful points on the site are those concerning infrastructure. Car drivers, fearful that they will lose parts of "their" roads to bike lanes or that "their" taxes will be wasted on making our cities safer and more pleasant, can grasp at all kinds of crazy arguments against building out infrastructure.
So if you find yourself with an opportunity to attend a town planning meeting, you could do a lot worse than to prepare yourself with Cycling Fallacies’ own arguments, and especially with the list of reference material accompanying each one. And if nothing else, it’ll help you win the next time you’re in the pub and somebody decides to go on an anti-cycling rant.