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Friday, 28 March 2014

Ministry of Health's Dame Sally forgets being dead ain't very healthy

In this report medical-officer-annual-report-surveillance-volume-2012 Just published, The Government's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Dame Sally Davies, without a lot of imagination or thought, recommends road cycling as a good alternative to obesity.

My followers won't be surprised at my response to this nonsense but I am sure that the DoH ministers, to whom I have now written, will now have some food for thought. Here's my letter.  

Dear Mr Hunt,

I am very concerned about Dame Sally's recommendation that road cycling is a good alternative to obesity and health issues.
For a start obesity is more about diet, lack of school sports, outside play, sedentary computer games and so on but although, on the face of it, road cycling for children is a good answer, especially to get to school, in reality, it is very ill conceived and highly dangerous. There are much safer ways of getting good all round exercise.

Let's actually look at what road cycling entails. It is placing one's unprotected body, on a slender metal frame on two flimsy wheels amongst and mingling with many large pieces of fast moving essential machinery, operated by complete strangers, of varying ability and mental capacity. Would humans normally wish to do that if it weren't cycling? How on earth can such a concept be healthy?

Perhaps the ongoing claims and demands for massive changes on our roads and to vehicles as well as more driver prosecution and liability is, in itself, a confirmation that not only is the concept dangerous, but that we are failing to acknowledge that it is by impossibly addressing the wrong answers too.

I have compiled two web pages where you can see for yourselves how dangerous and unhealthy road cycling actually is. The first (I update these continuously) and in one example one head teacher lost two students in two entirely separate road accidents. I ask 'Could that head teacher seriously recommend road cycling for kiddies now?' Can you in all seriousness?

On this page I focus on the road accidents injuries and deaths of top cyclists to show that, the more one does it, the more chance of being maimed and killed.How can the DoH ignore the concept, deaths and injuries of cyclists in recommending road cycling?
I don't suppose Dame Sally will now alter her advice, unless of course she accepts some culpability for death and injury of those who act on it.
WishesKeith Peat.

Our ref: DE00000852680
Dear Mr Peat,

Thank you for your correspondence of 28 March to Jeremy Hunt, copied to Dan Poulter and Jane Ellison about the safety of cycling for children. I have been asked to reply.
I note your concerns about the dangers of cycling and the importance of children having a safe environment in which to exercise.

Public Health England (PHE) is the national organisation responsible for improving public health outcomes and recently launched a consultation called, ‘Developing a national physical activity approach’ which you may wish to contribute to directly. Details of how to do so can be found at the following link: Public Health Consultation.

If you have any further concerns you may wish to contact PHE directly. Contact details can be found on PHE’s website  PHE

I hope this reply is helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Tim Marshall
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health

Please do not reply to this email. To contact the Department of Health, please visit the 'Contact DH' section on the GOV.UK website.


  1. Very good argument! I agree totally that if the regulation of british drivers were tightened up, the roads would be a lot safer. What are you thinking of? Tougher driving tests? Re-test every 5 , 10 years. Increased regulation of professional drivers?

    1. On that basis let's stop drivers altogether then have road safety Nirvana except we all die from the lack of basics like water, food, heat & light, no NHS, no emergency services etc. There is a massive cost to over regulating an essential infrastructure, especially when there are several accident causes being completely ignored because there's no profit to be made.

      We have long passed the cost/benefit bottom line of regulating drivers, mostly because of an ideological anti driver and green lobby that need to be curtailed.

      One thing is to remove all unnecessary hazards that are bound to cause casualties on the roads.