A good start, can do better

‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign some suggestions… 1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.

‘Cities fit for cycling’ campaign some suggestions…

1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.

Sensible stuff, but why only the city centre? Surely people in the ‘burbs or the country are just as worthy of protection? Onboard cameras can be deployed, ‘blind spots’ are unacceptable.

2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.

This is tricky, maybe the most dangerous junctions are the ones with fewest casualties because people don’t cycle – or walk – there? Make sure you don’t mistake a political issue – who is killing who? – for a technical one. Good design can help but danger comes from people not junctions.

3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.

 

Good. Let’s also include pedestrians and why not motor-cyclists? Motorcycling is really dangerous.

4. Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.

Good  but – again – safety is about how people behave, where the kerbs and bollards go is important because it signals to people what’s expected of them but it’s not the only factor in effecting cultural change.

5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.

 

Can’t comment on the training of cyclists (personal financial interest) but lets make it harder to qualify to drive, and give life bans for careless – potentially deadly – driving. Those disqualified will ride bikes and live longer.

6. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.

You forgot pedestrians again.

7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.

Not sure about this? Is it a general principle? Can we start with Vodaphone paying for the upkeep of the M25?

8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms.

Let’s not piss about here, it’s a ‘Tsar’ or nothing.

Rob Jefferies, legend

The glaring omission in this draft programme is ‘presumed civil liability’ – where in any collision the pilot of the heavier, faster vehicle has to establish it was not their fault – and proper punishment for bad – potentially deadly –  driving.  Presumed liability is a cultural corner-stone of the cycle-friendly environments of Germany, the  low countries and Scandinavia.

It’s not about being vindictive – in some ways those who slaughter are secondary victims of the current insane system – but cases like the  Rob Jefferies killing are not exceptional and send out exactly the wrong message. It’s hard to get juries – who are likely stuffed with the motor-dependent – to convict but if we are to change the culture this is where to start.

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