The celebrated hero of British cycling, Bradley Wiggins, was asked about the issue of cycling safety in the Olympics’ busy host city of London.
Wiggins, who earned his fourth gold medal this week just nine days after winning the Tour de France, was inadvertently drawn into the debate at a press conference following his win in the cycling time trial.The conference coincided with the news that a male cyclist died after colliding with an Olympic transportation bus in East London.
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When asked his opinion, Wiggins stressed that he hadn’t cycled in London for more than a decade but that the city was now busier than ever before and that something needed to be done to ensure the safety of the city’s cyclists. He advised cyclists to take responsibility for their own safety by taking as many precautions as possible.
"It's dangerous and London is a busy city and a lot of traffic. I think we have to help ourselves sometimes,” Wiggins said.
"Cycling is a dangerous sport. I know there are a lot of people out there who ride bikes who abide by everything, the laws the lights and things.
"But there are a lot of cyclists as well who don't help themselves, riding along with no helmets on, iPods on, this, that and the other on those Bojo things.
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"There's got to be laws that protect both parties. Things like legalising helmets, making them the law to wear. They shouldn't be riding along with phones and iPods on, shouldn't be riding without lights."
Though many of his suggestions are common sense, the debate surrounding mandatory cycling helmets is a murky one. Some reports have suggested Wiggins could infuriate other cyclists and cycling groups that claim there is no evidence to suggest helmet wearing makes riders safer, and may instead alienate would be bikers.
Enjoying a resurgence of late, the safety of cycling has been in the spotlight this year, after a high profile campaign by The Times newspaper called for more to be done to protect the nation’s cyclists on busy roads.
"I think things are improving to a degree: there are organisations out there who are attempting to make the roads safer for both parties,” added Wiggins.
"But at the end of the day we've all got to co-exist on the roads. Cyclists are not ever going to go away, as much as drivers moan, and as much as cyclists maybe moan about certain drivers they are never going to go away, so there's got to be a bit of give and take."