Photos: Norman Baker MP; Mike Pennington MP; Addison Lee’s Mr Griffin with staff: (DfT; Daily Telegraph; Cyclists in the City)
Above are the two Government Ministers responsible for cycling and road safety and the Chairman of Addison Lee (with members of his staff). They all claim to be concerned for the safety of cyclists: indeed all have signed up to The Times campaign.
It may seem unfair to link the author of a tirade against cyclists with elected politicians nominally committed to supporting cycling. But I think it is there. Essentially all three start off with assumption that cyclists are “vulnerable road users” – so-called because they are outside motor vehicles when travelling, as is most of humanity – and are a problem because of this. Continue reading
It’s been a ludicrously busy time for those concerned with cyclists’ safety. First it was the campaigns of The Times and others, kicking off parliamentary debates and protest rides; then the Mayoral elections, followed up by the Addison Lee episode.
But then we get another resounding clang against any kind of civilised approach to real safety on the road for cyclists (and others). Yes, it’s the words of the two minsters responsible for the safety of cyclists – no less. This has led various commentators to parade their gob-smackedness, including “Minister for road safety loses his marbles live on parliamentary TV” from the normally restrained Carlton Reid . But actually there is nothing new here. From the point of view of traditional “road safety” ideology, this is completely rational and no marbles have been lost at all.
What we have seen in their estimation of levels of “cyclists’ safety” is a grotesque inversion of reality. And this is not just a technical issue about measurement: in turning the truth on its head they place yet another obstacle in the path of achieving cyclists’ safety. Continue reading