Monthly Archives: October 2013

Intellectuals’ resistance to motor danger in the first half of the 20th century in Britain

We take a break from today’s debates to look at the response to motorisation and its attendant danger from some commentators at the time. Britain tends not have a group of people described as “intellectuals”: however celebrated and articulate people who would pass as such in any other European country existed and gave their views on road danger. Some of this work comes out in ordinary journalism – see the reports on Carlton Reid’s web site such as this others elsewhere. Here I give extracts from AP Herbert  ,  Max Beerbohm   and W.S. Gilbert (the Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan).


Max Beerbohm; W.S. Gilbert and A. P. Herbert

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How pro-cycling is Labour?


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

Victim Blaming News Bulletin 3rd October 2013

If you are reading this on  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

How pro-cycling are the Liberal Democrats?

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