WITH cycling success in the Olympics and beyond, it seems pedal bikes are the new motorbikes.
But if even Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins can get knocked of his bike – as he was last month – can the rest of us feel safe on the roads?
Cycling-mad councillor Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirf) said the district had a lot to offer new cyclists, but that they must take precautions in winter.
He said: “Get your bike thoroughly checked over. Thicker tyres will offer better grip and less chance of slipping on the road.”
Gill Greaves from Streetbikes, a Kirklees community organisation which teaches people how to cycle and look after their bikes, added: “When the weather is bad it is essential to ride your bike properly. I recently saw four cyclists riding through Dewsbury wearing black with no lights.
“The more visible you are, the better. Sometimes I look a bit daft, but at least people see me!”
Wiggins’ success has seen an increase in two-wheeled wannabes trying to emulate their sideburned hero. “More people are buying good bikes, but often they don’t know how to use them,” said Ms Greaves. She teaches cyclists to be more confident on the road and be aware of lorries – a major killer of cyclists.
In 2011 there were 92 cyclists injured on the roads in Kirklees, 12 of which were seriously injured. A council spokeswoman said: “The increase in recent years is consistent with a current upward trend for the county as a whole, which is due to an increasing number of adult cyclists.”
Wearing a helmet may seem obvious, but experts argue over whether making them a legal requirement would discourage people from cycling. Coun Bolt said: “I know of people who might not be here now if it weren’t for one.”