All entries for Thursday 30 March 2006

March 30, 2006

Road Rights

Writing about web page http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4303

The Driving Standards Agency is currently revising the Highway Code. This includes a proposal to urge cyclists to 'use cycle routes when practicable and cycle facilities … where they are provided (Rule 58)'.

In a recent email newsletter, the fabulous Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op commented on this proposal as follows:

This sounds like common sense until you consider the implications. What if you were hit by a car on a road near a cycle path and the lawyer or insurance company defending the motorist used the alibi that the accident wouldn't have occured if you had stuck to the cycle path? What if you consider your local off-road cycle path less safe after dark than a lit road? How many cycle paths have a sign at every access point to alert potential users of their existence? The problem with the Driving Standards Agency's proposal is that it ignores the decisions every one of us takes whenever we travel. One day we'll choose the safest route. Next day, the quickest and most convenient. On Sunday, when time is not a consideration, you might take the prettiest. All these factors come into play whether we cycle, walk or drive. The problem with this proposal is that, for the first time, it questions the cyclist's equal right to use the public road (bar motorways / dual carriageways). And it ignores the fact that whenever you choose to cycle rather than take the car you are part of the solution to the ever-growing problems of road congestion, danger, pollution and global warming. Cyclists are not the problem yet, once again, we are being singled out by the bureaucrats.

The Cyclists' Touring Club are running a campaign against this proposed erosion of cyclists' status as road users. They have even penned a suggested email, automatically addressed to your MP which you can access at

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4303

Using the above service, I have written to my MP who, impressively and swiftly, passed this and similar other correspondence he received to Stephen Ladywood MP, Minister at the Department of Transport, who in turn passed the correspondence to the Driving Standards Agency.

In forwarding Stephen Ladywood's response to me, I learned that direct comment on the consultation can be carried out via the following web page:

http://www.dsa.gov.uk/content.asp?id=13014

Cyclists, park up and get involved. We have a chance until May 10th to influence this consultation. Let's do it.


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