But cycling isn't actually that dangerous? Shouldn't we just be training people to ride bikes safely on the road instead?

While training is a useful thing to do, and – in the 'vehicular cycling' techniques for cycling in traffic – helpful for those who cycle on Britain’s current bike-hostile roads, we don’t think it’s the route to mass cycling in this country.

For a start, each person has to be individually trained, which is cost- and time-intensive. Secondly, if you look at the advanced cycling techniques needed to handle the most challenging situations, such as multi-lane roundabouts or fast A roads, not everyone can actually muster the acceleration (let alone the nerve) to safely negotiate them.

For example, to quote from Cyclecraft,11 the recommended course book for the national Bikeability training standard, here is the description of turning right on a large, multi-lane roundabout:

It needs great care, confidence and, preferably, the ability to attain a sprint speed of about 32 km/h (20 mph). Approach the roundabout in the middle of the right hand lane... it can be advantageous to position yourself just to [the] left [of other vehicles] and to use the shelter of those vehicles for making the turn ... During any roundabout manoeuvre, you must keep your eyes and ears alert, monitoring other traffic all the time. Be ready to respond... to the slightest threat to your course

We have no problem with Cyclecraft and cycle training as a survival guide for hazards such as these, but as the passage above makes crystal clear, even with training, such conditions will never be suitable for mass cycling. Even with all the training in the world, would you want your ten year old handling a roundabout like that? Would you even want to do it yourself?