Photo from Local Transport Today 644 (4th April 2014)
Below is the text of a letter published in Local Transport Today 644 in response to a long letter from Professor Oliver Carsten in the previous issue showing how the UK’s “road safety record” is presented in an undeservedly “sunny” light. I state that the way he points this out is welcome, but needs to go a lot further… Continue reading
Photos: AA Charitable Trust
One million wing-mirror stickers are being sent out by the AA to remind drivers to watch out for two-wheelers on the road. The campaign is based on a poll for the AA showing that nine out of ten motorists admit that when driving, “it is sometimes hard to see cyclists”, with 55 percent of motorists claiming that they are often “surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere.” It’s nice to see AA president Edmund King say that: “The AA Think Bikes campaign is definitely needed when half of drivers are often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’. Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere (our emphasis) so as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users and this is where our stickers act as a daily reminder”.
So is this an unequivocal step forward? The main feature of this, as with so many other similar campaigns, is what it tells us about the beliefs underlying what passes for “road safety” – beliefs which we have to challenge.
So let’s take a look at the campaign and what underlies it in some detail: Continue reading
Along with others such as the CTC we made a submission in January 2013. Here it is: Continue reading
My last post argues in favour of the potential benefits from traffic policing, but that – unlike the apparent bias underlying Operation Safeway – it needs to be done differently. The key point is to prioritise law and rule breaking done by those with greater potential to endanger other road users. Otherwise the bias, which is not so much against law breaking cyclists as in favour of law and rule breaking motorists, will continue. So here are some ideas: Continue reading
Harry Venning of the Guardian’s take on the “blitz” in “Clare in the Community”
After a spate of cyclist deaths in London, cyclist safety is on the national agenda. For some, getting cyclist safety in the public eye is inherently good – we’re not so sure. The key issue is, after all, to do the right things for the safety of cyclists. Last week we were told that there is a “new zero-tolerance approach” with a “huge escalation” in policing involving “stopping lorries and cars and where there is unsafe driving they will be taken off the road.”
But is a blitz on unsafe driving – under what is called “Operation Safeway” in London – actually happening? We don’t think so. So what exactly is going on? Continue reading
Below is the text of this article which appears in the current issue of Local Transport Today Issue 635 15 Nov 2013. Subscribers to the electronic version can also read it here Continue reading
Below I post a scan of Chapter 9 from “Death on the Streets: cars and the mythology of road safety“. Since the subject of cyclist and pedestrian conspicuity has raised such interest, I took another look at the evidence for conspicuity aids such as h-viz clothing, and the context in which the advocacy of such items occurs. In the twenty years since publication, I am not aware of any fresh evidence which contradicts the conclusions to this Chapter, or the Precaution which I suggest is taken when considering advocacy of hi-viz. Continue reading
Maria Eagle (Photo: Daily Telegraph)
In the parliamentary debate on “Get Britain Cycling” it wasn’t just the CTC who thought that “the most impressive speech came from Labour’s frontbench spokesperson, Shadow Secretary of State Maria Eagle”.
We look at her contribution below, in the context of the evidence we have to assess what Labour is likely to actually do if it comes to power. For while Labour formally endorsed “Get Britain Cycling” at their annual conference , there are key areas where necessary commitment to achieve the aims of the report is apparently lacking. Continue reading
If you are reading this on www.rdrf.org.uk or are an addressee, you shouldn’t need to know what is so vile and destructive about this.
But there are important explanations required.
We need to understand how self-blame can – albeit ultimately destructive – can give a false but seductive relief from the grief of losing a loved one.(Although, of course, it is also deeply offensive to so many of the loved ones of those who have also died in this way).
We also, yet again, have to state the “bleeding obvious” that wearing a cycle helmet does not stop a human body being crushed underneath a lorry.
But we need to go a lot, lot further.
We need to go further than showing that cyclists “taking a test” isn’t the issue when reducing danger at source – for the safety of all road users – is.
We need to show how the pride and “owning the road” mentality of all too many drivers comes at least partly from their “driving test”. We need to reveal the absence of evidence on the positive effects of wearing bicycle crash helmets in general.
We need to reveal how these and other elements of this culture perceives “road safety” are indeed, part of the problem of danger on the road.
And that a civilised approach to getting about has to tackle this ideology at root and branch,
Dr Robert Davis, Chair, Road Danger Reduction Forum
2013 – 20th year of the Road Danger Reduction Forum
The last post gave some detail on how anti-cycling this Government is. Of course, we are aware that the current government is a coalition with the Liberal Democrats in it. But the Liberal Democrats have now officially adopted the Get Britain Cycling report recommendations as Lib Dem policy , and it is fair to say that the Liberal Democrats have, on the whole, tended to be more positive on the cycling front. Indeed, they may well have been a corrective force against some of the worst of the Conservatives’ efforts on transport policy. Let’s look in more detail at the Liberal Democrats and cycling. Continue reading