Answering Google's cycling questions

Kieran Howells
Answering Google's cycling questions

Google is one of the largest companies on the planet. The US-based internet giants stormed onto the emerging internet platform in 1998 with a vision of becoming the world’s number one search engine and a team of determined tech gurus to back it up. In 2017, the company is a powerhouse of knowledge, whose routes now spread far and wide. In 2016, the company turned over 89.6 billion dollars in revenue with a massive 80 per cent share of search engine usage. Currently, over 40,000 searches are conducted per second – which equates to a massive 3.6 billion searches a day. It’s an extremely efficient tool, and one that almost every industry on earth can benefit from utilising.

So how can the cycling industry benefit from Google? For one thing, it’s a great way to discover all of the latest and greatest products being released every day – of course, we’d suggest our very own BikeBiz site for this. It’s also a great way of getting into the minds of not only your local cycling community via groups and forums, but also the cycling community as a whole. With the help of Google, we dug up four of the most frequently asked questions cyclists had about getting on a bike, and set out to answer them in the hopes that when a customer walks through your doors with a myriad of questions, the perfect retort will be on the tip of your tongue.

How dangerous is cycling?
It’s a hot-button issue in the media, and one that may well be the largest perceived barrier to getting people on bikes – especially those who are older and not confident on two wheels. The truth is that in 2017, cycling is a very safe means of transport. In fact, a widely accredited study on the benefits of cycling claims that in terms of positive impact, it is cycling is twenty times more likely to benefit your health, than pose any serious risks to it. According to Cycling UK, one cyclist is killed on Britain’s roads for every 29 million miles travelled by bike. That equates to one cyclist for every 1,000 trips cycled around the world.

Should cyclists stick to cycle paths and off road riding?
In reality, cyclists have as much right to be on the roads as cars. Even more so, if you count the increasingly worrying levels of pollution being pumped into the atmosphere by petrol-fuelled vehicles every day. Bikes have been legally classified as carriages since the late 19th centaury, giving them complete legal usage over Britain’s roads. Cycling is on average four to five times faster than walking in the city, meaning that in terms of speed, they are better suited to the flow of cars than pavements.

Are cyclists soon going to need insurance and road tax?
It is very unlikely that bicycle riders would ever be subjected to the same legal requirements as motor vehicles. Due to cycling’s long history in Britain, regulatory bodies would need to justify potentially stopping thousands of cyclists who rely on bikes as a primary mode of transport. Legally, it is not possible to register bicycles under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act of 1994, as the law specifically cites mechanically propelled vehicles as its subject. Vehicle Excise Duty does currently apply to motor vehicles in the UK but as the cost is based on fuel type and CO2 emissions, bicycles will always remain exempt.

Are cyclists legally required to wear helmets?
Whereas helmets are generally considered to be a necessary level of protection whilst riding in the public eye, they are in no way required by law. Many health organisations strongly recommend helmet usage, including the British Medical Association but this is not the case for cycling groups, many of whom including, Cycling UK, actively oppose the introduction of a mandatory helmet law and all forms of helmet promotion. In countries such as Australia, the introduction of helmet laws have been linked to a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in regular cycle usage, whereas head injuries for which people are admitted to British hospitals accounts for around seven to eight per cent of injury cases. Cycling UK said: ”Evidence shows that the health benefits of cycling are so much greater than the relatively low risks involved, that even if these measures caused only a very small reduction in cycle use, this would still almost certainly mean far more lives being lost through physical inactivity than helmets could possibly save, however effective.”

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Tags: bikebiz , helmets , google , opinion , analysis , products , cycling uk , news , cycling industry news , bikebizz

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