It was reported the other day (here) that some MPs are calling for cyclists to be given priority over other road-users in an updated version of the Highway Code to give them more protection from evil motorists. It goes without saying that the MPs in question form the all-party parliamentary cycling group (APPCG) so they would say that, wouldn’t they?
Cyclists vs Drivers
They have announced this because it has been found that more than 8,500 drivers have been allowed to stay behind the wheel despite having more than twelve points on their licence, potentially putting bike riders at risk. What about everyone else on the road and alongside it? Why just cyclists? As is usual with the car-hating lobby, the law abiding motorist gets tarred with the same brush.
It is the courts that allow serial offenders to keep their licences and they in turn take the piss and play the system. The rest of us would dearly like to see these miscreants get taken off the road. If they were then the APPCG would have nothing to complain about would they?
As both a driver and a cyclist I have considerable sympathy with the plight of modern day cyclists on our busy roads. This however is tempered by the rise of the cycling Nazi who really does think he owns the road and simply won’t accept that some (or many) bike riders bring it upon themselves by riding badly. Have a drive around central London and see what I mean.
Also, as a pedestrian I am personally getting sick and tired of being buzzed by careless irresponsible cyclists on the pavements around my town. It has been tacitly accepted (certainly by the police) that cycling on the pavement is the norm even when the roads are empty and quiet.
These pavement pedal-pushers no longer bother to sound or call a warning. They sweep past, inches away, without any consideration or thought that pedestrians (and, more particularly, children) can change direction at any time. It just doesn’t occur to them. That’s okay is it APPCG? Strange that you never hear cycling groups chastising their own.
Think It Through
Given this ill-thought-through idea, if cyclists were given total priority can you imagine the carnage? Do the APPCG seriously believe for one minute that bikers will follow the letter of the Highway Code? With my motorist hat on I can predict that under this ‘plan’ the car driver will ALWAYS be at fault, regardless of circumstances.
The roads are bad because of the lack of investment as I found when driving a Ford Mustang recently. That’s the problem. Other and many European countries seem to be able to provide safe transit lanes for cyclists by separating them from cars. In the UK our attempts at doing this are risible. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that even new road-building projects don’t get designed with additional cycling lanes in mind. A vast new housing estate being built on the outskirts of my town has no concessions for cyclists at all. None.
This is the point. National and local government are forever searching for ways to change things without actually spending any money or in fact doing anything at all. Their solution is to distribute blame and generally take it out on the motorist.
Certainly there are some terrible drivers out there. I see them every day; but I also see some terrible examples of cycling too. The bicycle lobby first needs to put its own house in order and get cyclists to obey the rules of the road. The courts need to take serial motoring offenders off the highways without falling for specious sob stories from slick lawyers and bikes should be fitted with mandatory warning devices – just like cars.
So pavement riders and road riders who see nothing wrong with bouncing off kerbs in front of cars and who believe that hand signals are something to do with the Navy, it is time to get your act together and that includes the cycling MPs who simply have not thought this crackpot idea through. Geoff Maxted