A Letter To The BMA

Earlier this month Ken Ruiz MB ChB FRCA wrote to the BMA News.

Recently we learned that motorists could face on-the-spot fines if they were caught smoking in cars carrying children (“Spot fines for smoking with kids”, September 20, 2014, page 2).

Could I ask why it is permitted that children can legally be carried in seats on bicycle handlebars or crossbars, or even towed behind a bicycle at exhaust-pipe level and well out of sight of most motorists?

It appears to me that cycling zealots may be blind to the harm they expose their children to. Surely this too is worthy of fines and bans.

Bespoke’s chair, Mrs Scarlett McNally, wrote the following response, which was published in the BMA News, 18 October 2014.

Get On Your Bike‎

I wonder if Ken Ruiz (“protect kids on bikes” Oct 4 2014, page 8) could just look at the bigger picture of risk and cycling? And could we perhaps all picture ourselves as part of the solution? A few scary journeys with a baby helps keep the family cycling for their future life.

So many diseases are caused by inactivity. Less than half the UK‎ population gets 30 minutes of exercise five times a week… sufficient to reduce the risk of dementia, breast cancer and depression by 30 per cent and type 2 diabetes by 80 per cent.

Physical activity for transport is the best way of fitting it into your schedule.

As a parent‎ unless you can get the kids into a child seat on the bike, you won’t get the toddler to come with you.

All my children cycled to school. I was terrified every day they were on a flimsy bike carrier, but now they are strong and independent on their own bikes.

The BMA is pushing for action on climate change. Let’s be part of the solution. Let’s just do it. Let’s bring in 20mph zones. Let’s give every human being on a bike an extra 20cm and an extra 20 seconds of our time (like we might do for a horse-rider).

Let’s give 2 per cent of the transport budget for building a network of suitable safe cycle lanes. This page on the website got it right. Don’t castigate the “bike zealots” without thinking that the alternative of a lifetime of car travel contributes to an unsustainable burden of ill health.

Scarlett McNally MB BChir FRCS(Orth)