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.


- 8 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. Steve Rumsby

    Thanks for pointing this out. An email to Jim Cunningham is on its way…

    31 Mar 2006, 10:48

  2. Thanks Steve. And I'm sure you'll pass this on to your fellow cyclists.

    31 Mar 2006, 11:08

  3. Chris May

    I wrote to James Plaskit (MP for Warwick and Leam) about this a couple of weeks ago and got a very nice and encouraging reply back, to the effect that he understands the problematic implications and will be raising them.

    Whether it will actually achieve anything is another question I suppose…

    31 Mar 2006, 12:57

  4. Catherine Fenn

    Thanks for blogging this, await Geoffry Robinson's response with interest…

    26 Apr 2006, 16:02

  5. Steve Rumsby

    I've had no response as yet. A bit disappointing, really…

    02 May 2006, 11:02

  6. Catherine, thanks for acting on this and for the comment. Congratulations on your marathon success. Great effort. Steve, my MP, Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) has actually responded with two letters, through which I learned that making a direct contribution to the consultation via

    link

    is probably even more useful than contacting your MP.

    02 May 2006, 12:36

  7. Catherine Fenn

    Got the standard response from GR but at least it did direct me to link

    Just wanted to not here

    Due to the high number of responses being received, the consultation period has been extended until 12 May 2006.

    11 May 2006, 10:57

  8. Hello all,

    You may be interested to learn that the campain has reached the floor of the commons where it has been articulated powerfully by Mark Lazarowicz. Here's the Hansard record

    12 May 2006, 12:47


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