Troubling coverage of anti-recumbent sentiment...

A local paper in South Derbyshire reports on a public meeting in which a recumbent (or maybe velomobile) rider is told death would 'serve them right'...

Posted by Peter Eland on Monday 29 Oct 2012

As you'll see if you click the rather dispiriting link below, a local paper has published an account of a meeting where South Derbyshire residents and councillors discuss a local recumbent cyclist (or velomobile rider):

Story in the Burton Mail

Anti-cyclist sentiment is not uncommon in local papers across the UK, especially in the comments below cycling-related stories. But this is the first time I've seen recumbents as a specific target of the invective. Incidentally it would be wise not to believe uncritically any element at all of the story as given - it's a one-sided report of a meeting which clearly included at least one attendee who is, apparently, being sued by the rider in question and whose observations might, one might guess, be less than impartial.

It's been quite widely picked up on and discussed on cycling forums: on the CTC forum, on, on CycleChat and on Twitter.

As I post this, the latest post on the CTC forum suggests the nationals e.g. the Daily Telegraph are picking the story up, but I can't yet find any links. A poster on the Cyclechat link above also suggests that Councillor Stanton has just issued an apology.

Recumbent and velomobiles facts

For reference, a few facts about recumbents, velomobilkes and safety might be of interest. If anyone knows of pertinent research or other useful resources please let me know:

- Wikipedia on recumbents and velomobiles.

- Recumbents, velomobiles and such vehicles are all perfectly legal to use on UK roads (except of course motorways) assuming they comply with the usual rules about working brakes etc.

- As far as I'm aware there is no evidence that recumbent or velomobile riders are any more likely to be involved in crashes than any other cyclist. I'm not aware of any numerical analysis either way. Anecdotally, people who buy recumbents tend to be experienced cyclists who know how to ride competently and cautiously, so the accident rate may in fact be lower than for the general population.

- Velomobiles (recumbents with an aerodynamic shell around the rider) have, so far as there is data available, an excellent safety record. The bodyshell, which is usually brighly coloured, provides a large surface area for visibility, and its sheer unusual nature attracts much attention. Velomobiles tend to be at least as tall as a convertible sports car, and should be as easily seen as any other road user or even road markings. If a cautiously ridden velomobile has not been seen within the stopping distance of an approaching motor vehicle, it would be as well to suspect driver error instead of 'invisibility' of the cycle.

- Velomobiles provide considerable protection to the rider in the event of any crash: an example can be seen here from the Netherlands and more details including some of a UK incident can be found here on

Posted by seamus on Wednesday 31 Oct 2012
why do they paint road marking on the road since nobody can see them?

Well, there even lower than a recumbent bike/trike.

Posted by Geoff on Sunday 11 Nov 2012
Worrying coverage.

Just a thought but this may be an extreme example of what I and many other recumbent riders find every day.

That is that drivers tend to be cautious around us, probably due to our relative rarity on the roads. Certainly drivers tend to hang back and not squeeze past in the face of oncoming traffic as much with a bent as they do with an upright bike.

This idiot driver's reaction to not observing the road sufficiently is to demand a ban on the 'offending' recumbent, rather than a resolution to be more observant next time.

While we don't know what kind of recumbent it is, a lot of recumbents are no lower than some of the more radical sports cars, although admittedly shorter and narrower. I have looked down into a Ferrari from one of my trikes.

Posted by seamus on Tuesday 11 Dec 2012
" Issue 44 is here! Mailing now!"


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