95% of the time I wear a helmet when cycling. But sometimes I just like the freedom of nothing on my head or simply forget! Last Wednesday was one of those mornings.
As I cycled into Middle Meadow Walk I encountered a police checkpoint where cyclists were being stopped. The very courteous and affable young lady noted with appreciation that I was wearing a fluorescent tabard and carrying a pretty robust D-lock to secure my bike. She remarked that I didn't have a helmet - without any tone of pressure or blame. But she did point out that reasons for the police activity included that in recent years two separate collisions only a few hundred yards from where we were having this discussion, had resulted in the deaths of two cyclists. She then gave me some leaflets about cycle security and we parted company.
I liked the way she had drawn attention to the safety issue but had not inferred it was anything other than my choice. And I appreciated the cycle security information on bike identification which I am following up. I especially appreciated that the police were active on a main cycle route at the beginning of student term, knowing as I do that the cycle theft rate in university Edinburgh is huge. I appreciated the deterrence and prevention factors in their action. And I appreciated the chat. End of story.
Almost. Some people ask whether the police should have been stopping law abiding cyclists. Like my fellow councillor who blogged the incident. And on a quiet news day (very, very quiet!!) the local paper chose to make that stop and check along with Cllr Burns comments one of its 'top stories'.
End of post and end of story.
Except to say that having noted some criticism recently about councillors not knowing what it is like to be a cyclist in Edinburgh, three of the four councillors representing Southside and Newington ward are cyclists. And since you ask, yes, I drive a car as well.
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