Share the road
5.09.06 by Buffalo Bill
Yesterday Ken Livingstone, the man who thinks that number plates for bikes are a good idea, launched a campaign to stop cyclists from running red lights, and discourage motorists from entering the cyclists’ box at red lights. There was a lot of publicity for the measure, and the media focussed a lot of attention on the ‘problem’ of red light jumpers and pavement cyclists, and the threat to public safety thereof. This despite the fact that of over 3 000 people killed on the roads in the UK in 2004, there was only one fatality in as the result of a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian, and in that case the collision took place on neither the footway nor a pedestrian crossing. The traffic statistics for London 2001 – 2005 show that pedestrians are 42 times more likely to be hit by a car whilst on the footway (pavement) than a cycle.
So what the f*** is Ken doing? This is not fact-based policy making, this is anti-cyclist propaganda. There is no evidence that cyclists are a major threat to the safety of the public. There are just a lot of vocal idiots complaining about the ‘cyclist who just missed me by inches the other day’.
On the other hand, cyclists are still being killed by lorries turning left and cut in half by cars. And according to the Cyclists Touring Club, 20 pedestrians a year are killed on the pavement by motor-vehicles. Where’s the balance? What appropriate allocation of resources? Why hasn’t the Mayor done more than issue an insipid press release on the very real danger from negligently driven lorries, which account for over a quarter of the cyclists killed every year on London’s roads?
Jack Thurston of the Bike Show described the initiative as ‘a pile of cack’. I wholeheartedly endorse Jack’s position and would only add the words ‘huge’ and ‘steaming’ to Jack’s assesment. If only the Mayor of London had put the same resources into stopping Heavy Goods Vehicles from killing cyclists. At least Jenny Jones managed to mention something about lorries giving cyclists more room.
Apparently, the campaign will be back up by special enforcement measures by the police, so if you are going to run one, keep ‘em peeled.
This morning I rode into work, like I do every morning, and I made a point of running every single red light that I came to. I only managed to catch 5 on red, sadly. I can’t wait to get a ticket. But you gotta catch me first, Ken.
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