Thursday, 22 October 2009

Improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Great Britain

The full report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee can be found here.

It is more fun to read the whole thing, rather than wasting effort on the bizarre and inaccurate press reporting from the usual organs. Especially the transcript of the oral evidence where MPs quiz the Permanent Secretary, and Head of the Road User Safety Division from the Department for Transport. It reads a bit like a rancid blog.

The following exchange pretty much captures the tone....
  • Q18 Mr Curry (MP for Skipton & Ripon): No, you have got the wrong question, I am sorry. Why are cyclists such irresponsible and arrogant road-users? The only time I have been knocked down in my life was by a cyclist going like a bat out of hell outside the House of Commons, dressed like Darth Vader, as they all do! Many people think that cyclists are hugely irresponsible, that they do not take any notice of the red lights, they think that road traffic cones are not for them, it is very competitive and that they are dangerous.
  • Mr Devereux (DfT Permanent Secretary) There are, without doubt, some elements of the cycling community who are in that position and there are equally, I imagine, rather more people who are far more dangerous drivers as well. The population is not homogeneous, as you well know, and cyclists—
  • Q19 Mr Curry: If a cyclist or any driver of a car drove his car like cyclists ride their bikes, there would be nobody left on the roads of Britain at all.
  • Mr Devereux: Sorry, you are assuming that all cyclists cycle the way the dangerous cyclist who went past you—
  • Q20 Mr Curry: No, I am not. I am saying that far too many are. We seem to regard cyclists as living in some sort of superior moral category when they actually do not have any.
  • Mr Devereux: I do not accept that.
Good to see our elected representatives informed by a broad sense of perspective, and resisting the temptation to be influenced by anecdotal evidence of a single incident. As in "Wouldn't it be good to see..."

There is some excellent CTC stuff on all this here and here


townmouse said...

Oh good lord. These people represent us... which reminds me, I must write to my MP.

gom1 said...

Quite - but I do like the sound of Devereaux (the Perm. Sec.). Here's another quote, when they press him on welding bells to bicycles "I am afraid I am going to hypothesise that the sort of person that is cycling irresponsibly without lights on a pavement is probably not going to considerately tinkle his bell just because he has got one". Sir Humphrey with a heart.