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Share With Care…… The Road That Is!

December 23, 2009

Winter Road - Yorkshire

Aberdeen, Scotland – Christmas a time of peace, joy, sharing, giving and hey, what the hell, listening and appreciating other citizen’s views. 

It appears that the recession is affecting campaign groups big time. As members leave organisations, for economic reasons, we are left with small hard-core groups of activists who will do and say anything to get media attention and boost dwindling membership figures. In short, organisations are becoming less and less representative of the mainstream of non-members. 

This leaves us with a problem. Government needs to talk to ‘representative’ user groups. After all the good folks at the Department of Transport (DfT) etc cannot consult every motorcyclist or cyclist, well not yet. So they consult the appropriate ‘representative groups’ whose spokespersons always have sudden coughing fits or are ‘unavailable for comment’ when nasty things like membership numbers come up for discussion. 

If we take cycling as an issue we have an obvious disparity between what the cycling groups are saying and what your average cyclist in the ‘street’ thinks. 

The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) is fighting hard to keep motorcyclists out of the capitals bus lanes. This week LCC criticised the London trial of motorcycles in bus lanes on the grounds it could lead to an increase in motorcycle traffic. Yet ask the average London cyclist what he/she thinks and most simple don’t care if motorcycles and scooters are in or out of the bus lanes, they just want to get to work. 

Last week the Transport Research Laboratory published a report that concludes that between 10% and 16% of the cyclists killed on Britain’s roads in 2008 could have been avoided had the victims been wearing a helmet. The Report hints that the compulsory wearing of cycle helmets may be a good idea. The Cycle Tour Club responds with “in other countries where such laws have been introduced, the effect has been to cause a reduction in the number of people cycling”. Not exactly responsible from a road safety standpoint is it. Encouraging people not to wear a safety helmet as doing so discourages other people from cycling. Seems most cyclists I see in London choose to wear a helmet so, where’s that leave the CTC. Out of touch me thinks. 

Which makes me wonder why we bother with campaign groups who play up on the anti biker, anti cyclist antagonism thing, for their own ends, when most motorcyclists, scooterists and cyclists just want to (a) get to their destinations safely or (b) don’t care. 

So let’s smile, wave and share the road with care. 

On Britain’s current road chaos. Thought you might like to know that Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has departed for a luxury Alpine skiing holiday in Austria. Leaving his deputy, Sadiq Khan, to face the heat over cancelled flights, train delays and the road-gritting havoc. Bet the roads are snow free in Austria Andrew, why don’t you ask why! 

Also rest easy in the fact the UK Department of Transport paid out £12 million to staff in end-of-year bonus payments and rewards for performance on projects throughout the year. 

I’m taking this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a New Year when you succeed with your biking ambitions. Good luck, and may your God go with you. 

© Back Roads Rider 2009

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jack permalink
    December 28, 2009 11:19 pm

    I’d be surprised if they brought in a law that makes pushbikers to wear helmets, how would you enforce it? The met in london can’t even stop pedalists jumping red lights.

    Cycle hat retailers I’ve spoken to estimate it’s split about 50/50 between wear and don’t wear riders.

    It would be helpful though if the designers of bicycle “safety” headgear made them look half decent instead of appearing to be a concept based on an aerated upside down bedpan, then maybe more cyclists would wear them through choice.

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