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Always Try Something New….But Somewhere Else!

February 3, 2010

[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=motorcycle+globe&iid=1993470″ src=”3/7/3/7/Motobike_Beach_Race_13b9.jpg?adImageId=9880102&imageId=1993470″ width=”380″ height=”261″ /]

Land’s End, England – United Kingdom devolved government is turning out to be very handy for trying out ‘things’ on a small proportion of the population before inflicting ‘it’ on the rest.

Remember the idea of making motorists responsible for any accident involving cyclists, regardless of who is to blame, as discussed by BRR in ‘Presumably Innocent or Presumed Guilty?’, well ‘it’ has not gone away just moved.

Obviously the mandarins at the Department for Transport, in wintery London’s Marsham Street, have recovered from the ear hair singeing response from the last attempt to float this idea. In civil servant speak (CSS) they have, following a comprehensive blue skies review, drilled down into the issue bottomed it out and come up with a new initiative i.e. lets try it out in Scotland.

Yes the Scottish Government (SG) are considering plans to make motorists responsible for any accident involving cyclists. The measure aims to encourage more people to cycle. The SG rhetoric on this seems oddly familiar, ‘the policy has been adopted in Germany and Holland where campaigners say it has had a great influence in improving attitudes to cycling and cyclists’.

So perhaps both Germany and Holland are home for the worlds touchy feely cyclists. But over here there’s a tendency for cyclists to blame every other mode for their road safety problems. So all the SG are doing is handing cyclists an axe to grind at the expense of the rest of the rest.

All this could be solved if cyclists had to have compulsory insurance but that won’t happen as it could act as a barrier to the UK Governments cycling strategy. Compulsory insurance would remove the sunny day cyclist and the OMG the cars broken down options from the cycle use equation.

Playing devils advocate, who me, lets ask should UK motorcycle and scooter users be interested in the proposal to make car drivers responsible for all collisions with vulnerable modes.  

My answer an emphatic yes. Including all vulnerable road users pedestrians’ cyclists, motorcyclists, scooterists and even mobility scooter users would have, I believe, a significant influence in changing attitudes towards these modes from a road safety perspective. Bringing much needed personal responsibility back into the equation. Motorcyclists and scooter riders, particularly those riding low powered machines, are the victims of irresponsible drivers who typically give the ‘sorry mate I didn’t see you’ defence. If such drivers were hit financial or even, via the courts, criminally perhaps their powers of observation would have a sudden and dramatic improvement.

You see it could avoid newspaper reports like this:-

A St Helens man who killed a motorcyclist from through a careless right turn wept in court this morning as he learned he would be spared prison.

Smith, 25, was on his way home from work on the afternoon of July 29 last year when he turned right into Park Lane from the A1001 Mandela Road, hitting Eric Jones, 37, coming the other way.

The victim was flown by air ambulance to Brookes Hospital in Chester, where he died 17 days later without regaining consciousness.

Prosecutor David Wickwell said there was no explanation for Smiths’s failure to see the motorcycle. He told the Crown Court: “The Honda motorcycle was bright yellow. “It was in full view and was displaying dipped headlights. “It was a bright sunny day.”

Defending, James Thomas said: “Mr Smith shows remorse. This has had an extremely bad affect on him and his family.”

Judge Jenifer Slade said: “It was the result of a momentary lack of attention of a kind which anyone who drives knows he or she is capable of.”

She ordered Smith to do 150 hours of unpaid work, pay £300 costs and serve a year’s driving ban.

Mr Jones family did not want to talk to reporters after the hearing.

That’s fiction, a made up report, but it happens in real life and only to often. The question is should we let it.

Moving on.

Some good news from the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCI) HQ at Rye Hill, Coventry; better know to BRR followers as Camp Bastion. No it’s not that MCI have solved the problem of imminent european directives b*******g up our riding its news that ‘Get On’ has appointed Miles Taylor as Campaign Director.

Miles has worked for Suzuki, Yamaha and Aprilla and now runs his own company, Perspective Marketing, through which he has been retained by ‘Get On’. I’m told he’s commercially aware, results driven, creative, media savvy and an inspirational team leader in short just the type of guy to build on ‘Get On’s’ already excellent track record.

Don’t forget. Next Friday, 5th February, is the deadline for consultation responses to be made on the proposed Third Driving Licence Directive.

Details here….

BTW if you don’t know what a UK Department for Transport Consultation actually is here’s a briefing:-

 The Department has already decided what it’s going to do. The document will contain one policy dressed up to look like several options, to give the impression that the Department is open to suggestions. It will also have a few ridiculous ideas, so officials can claim to be “thinking outside the box”.

© Back Roads Rider 2010

Note: In relation to the newspaper report all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Paddy Melon permalink
    February 4, 2010 9:00 am

    ahhh – the cyclists! Actually they have a fantastic lobby machine, fanatics that are very effective. Considering the average distance of a bicycle is 2 miles in the UK, you wonder why governments bother – but as the centre of the universe is London, I guess our myopic politicians must think that the rest of the country is the same.

    Funny how the SG can compare the Netherlands to Scotland: former is flat (same lattitude as East Anglia/Essex) where cycling is part of the social fabric and the road infrastructure takes cyclists into account.

    There are similar pressures on the other side of the Irish sea. Fact is though that the cyclist lobby is getting huge sums of money to promote their mode of transport. Look at SUSTRANS, millions spent on crap projects and the governments think they are wonderful – environmentally friendly, healthy, good for kiddies and social outings (e.g. those cyclists who ride in the middle of the road in groups – the ones that you’d love to give a slap on their lycra-clad arses).

    As a personal mode of transport, cycling has huge limitations, so why is it that governments in these fair isles are willing to spend huge sums of money to promote and introduce legislation to protect cyclists?

    One opinion is that the cycling lobby machine is effective and powerful, something we could learn from.

    Now let’s move swiftly on to motorcycling as an alternative means of transport – starting with the huge sums of money that MCIA will waste on “Get on”: (£4 million)

    Will that mean thousands of youngsters will be gagging to go out and buy a new bike? I doubt it.

    Will Riders are Voters convince the 1.5 million riders in the UK to write to their respective MP to champion the cause of motorcycles? I doubt it.

    Would the threat of prison make car drivers more observant? I doubt it.

    Maybe we should ask CTC for advice on how to lobby?

  2. Dave permalink
    February 4, 2010 12:33 pm

    As a motorcyclist and a driver I accept that I alone am responsible for my safety on the road. I anticipate that other drivers will not see me, that pedestrians wont look before stepping off the pavement or out from behind a high sided vehicle and that cyclists will jump red lights and hop on and off the pavement where ever they see fit. I accept that every roundabout is covered in diesel and that manhole covers will be placed right on the best riding line and be slick and wet. I accept that cretins will tailgate me in the snow on the M1 when visibility is 5 metres. Often I am pleasantly surprised when this turns out not to be the case, frequently though I am not disappointed. If I have a close encounter with another road user or a bit of a slide on something on the road I consider it a lesson and think what I could do differently in the future to negate that risk. I do, however, make progress, I filter, in short I don’t hang about and sit in traffic. Apparently I am in a tiny minority?
    Offering any road user cart blanche to behave how they like is amazingly stupid. Bit skint? Hop on your bike, have a small crash into an unsuspecting driver, quids in. The government needs to be making people responsible for their own actions on the road not offering them a scapegoat. Why bother with training? Why bother looking where you’re going or obeying the highway code? If you crash it will always be someone elses fault. Rant over, for today…

  3. ian matthews permalink
    April 6, 2011 7:57 pm

    What a shame. Thought this might be a reasonable site, instead the knee-jerk intolerance for cyclists comes bubbling to the surface, as if cyclists are themselves a cause of major carnage, traffic disruption, pollution and antisocial parking. As a runner, cyclist, motorcyclist and car driver, I just don’t understand the bigotry the respective groups show to one another, while demanding consideration for themselves.


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