Today sees the launch of the Summary and Recommendations of the “Get Britain Cycling” report. Reporting on this on the front page of The Times we see “Cyclists are set to win revolution in road safety”. Is this so? Road Danger Reduction Forum President Lord Berkeley is one of the Panel members of The Get Britain Cycling Inquiry. I have a reputation for pessimism (or as I would say, healthy scepticism) and as RDRF Chair I give a detailed analysis of the Summary and Recommendations below.
Make no mistake, along with Mayor Johnson’s “Vision for Cycling”; the production of this report is a pivotal moment for the possibility of not just cycling, but sustainable transport as a whole in Britain. So: are cyclists – and all those of us interested in the development and implementation of sustainable transport policy indeed “set to win”? Continue reading
In amongst all the fuss about Mayor’s Vision for Cycling in London, the Get Britain Cycling Inquiry , the pressure from motorists’ organisations to cut fuel duty (well, there should be a fuss about this) one important item has slipped under the radar – apart from for those genuinely interested in the safety of all road users.
This is the 30th anniversary of a move successfully lobbied for by the “road safety” lobby, which –although it took them 26 years to admit it – led to “a clear reduction in death and injury to car occupants, appreciably offset by extra deaths among pedestrians and cyclists (my emphasis) So, how many cyclists and pedestrians is it alright to kill in order to protect car occupants from bad driving? Other issues apart from the moral one are revealed by this episode, so do read on: Continue reading
The use of the “accidental death” verdict has been campaigned on by our friends in RoadPeace . Let’s look at two recent cases:
“A man who used to chauffeur the stars of Carry-On films around Pinewood Studios died after being involved in a head-on crash while driving on the wrong side of the road near Poitiers, France. Douglas Lewis, 75, and his wide Pamela, 77, of Slough, Berkshire, were returning from their Spanish villa when they crashed into an oncoming van at 50 mph last April. Mrs Lewis was killed instantly, while Mr Lewis died three months later from his injuries. The Windsor Coroner returned a verdict of accidental death”. (The Times, 2nd February , 2013) Continue reading
On holiday in south east France I chanced upon this story in the local daily newspaper, Le Dauphiné Libéré. The 76 year old motorist had driven over the (obvious) footway into the well signed exit stairway from the train station at Romans, apparently thinking that this was the access to a car park.
This is our response to the DfT’s “A consultation on changes to the treatment of penalties for careless driving and other motoring offences” . It states that the Government recognises that “careless driving is a serious road safety problem”. Do the proposals treat it as such? No, we don’t think so. The measure proposed is pathetic with regard to the scale of suggested FPN ticketing, with inadequate fines and an unjustified reliance on remedial training of offenders. Here is our response: Continue reading
Transport for London is holding a consultation process about this document until 28th September 2012. Obviously we wouldn’t expect a break from traditional “road safety” ideology in such a
document, but this one is particularly bad. Our colleagues in the CTC, for example, have criticised it for victim blaming and not moving forward from the 1960s. And there is one absolutely disgraceful feature to it. Continue reading
Eilidh Cairns;Gary Mason; Tom Barrett; Photos from:RoadPeace; The Times; RAF
If any of the campaigns for cyclist safety are to actually achieve anything there is an absolutely central problem which needs addressing. This is the ability of the motorised to shift responsibility for their lethal behaviour on to their actual and potential victims – through the simple act of saying that they don’t “see” their victims. Below we look at two current and one recent case of cyclists killed in London .
While reading these cases, consider Rule 126 of the Highway Code:
“126: Stopping Distances: Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.” Continue reading
Now that I have your attention here’s a dictionary definition of that word:
dangerous Pronunciation: /?de?n(d)?(?)r?s/ adjective able or likely to cause harm or injury
Because what I think we need to do is examine the Paradox of Safety on the Roads: doing so should enable us to more accurately work out what the problem of safety for cyclists is about. Unless we do so, there is a very real danger (that word again…) that the current campaign will be fruitless. Continue reading
This may appear to be a break from discussion of the current major campaigns for cyclist safety – but it is not. While cyclists are not directly mentioned, consideration of this issue is crucial to addressing safety for all road users, including cyclists.
This issue is how – supposedly – trees, bollards and other inanimate objects are “dangerous”. It tells us much of what we need to know about the official view of “road safety”. Continue reading
Transport practitioners should be aware that there are a number of current campaigns for the safety of cyclists. Following on from direct action in London, these include probably the highest profile campaign for cyclist safety ever by The Times. But will any of them actually achieve anything? We will examine them in depth, starting with that of “British Cycling”. Continue reading