Monthly Archives: February 2012

Will the Parliamentary debate do any good?


 Photo: Jack Thurston (The Bike Show)

Last night RDRF Committee members Dr. Robert Davis and Ken Spence took part in the “flashride” organised to show cyclists’ presence to MPs ahead of today’s debate. It was a happy and peaceful event with hundreds (or more)  turning out to support ways to reduce danger to cyclists and others. We’re pleased to be part of this movement, not least with the joyful way it manifests itself.

Unfortunately, my view is that little of benefit will come from today’s debate. I hope this is wrong – but here’s why I’m pessimistic. Continue reading

Parliamentary debate on Cyclist Safety

New Picture (2b)Above is a list of organisations including ourselves,  who have signed the briefing note drafted by the UK Cycling Alliance for the debate on Cycle Safety on Thursday. Below we reprint the text.

We signed this note since it states some very simple and basic points which any reasonable person or organisation should be able to support. The down side is that – precisely because it is so basic -we will need something a lot more forceful and detailed if we are to get a genuine commitment towards achieving a properly civilised approach to the safety and well being of cyclists (and indeed other road users). After all,  if it hadn’t been so basic the AA would not have signed it. (And don’t hold your breath for seeing the RDRF logo alongside the AA’s again!)  Continue reading

Campaign season for the safety of cyclists – who cares if cycling is dangerous?

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

Blaming bollards and trees – and why it’s important

Bollard photo

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

Campaign season for the safety of cyclists – but will they do any good? Part Two – The Times


The devotion of a whole front page by The Times to cyclist safety is quite extraordinary. RDRF has, along with other organisations and 17,000 individuals as of the first  draft of this post on 5th February signed up to it. But will this campaign fizzle out like the ones waged by The Independent and the London Evening Standard – let alone safety campaigns launched throughout the last century? At the risk of seeming overly negative, we have to question features of this campaign and ask what will be required to effectively pursue the good intentions that exist.

After all, “safety on the road” can mean all kinds of things: from misguided and counterproductive fantasies through to getting the most vulnerable out of the way of the most dangerous. Public figures have signed up to The Times campaign – as they would to motherhood and apple pie. Below we analyse the campaign in detail: its potential for reducing danger on the road to cyclists and other road users, what will be required to pursue these objectives – and the problems that have already surfaced. Continue reading

Campaigns season for the safety of cyclists – but will they do any good? Part One

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