Friday, 11 May 2012
Who is cyclings voice?
Who is fighting the sensible corner when it comes to cycling in Britain? I read loads of blogs and website from other countries about ingenious cycling initiatives that have been brought about by effective lobbying of local government and regional parliaments. America and Holland seem to spring to mind
Maybe it helps by having likeminded people in government? Or is it that those lobbying have a less aggressive approach to lobbying. I don't know but it appears we have it wrong in the UK.
Why is it we have the second best men’s road team in the world in Team Sky, we have one of the best if not the best track GB cycling team, and we have participate in one and if not the fastest participation sports/activities in the country. Why is it then that we cannot seem to create an effective "VOICE" for everyone? Do we need one central body campaigning for the rights and safety of all commuters based on the opinion of its members.
From what I see those who are often are the forefront of the lobbying have a single minded campaign and whilst their heart may seem to be in the right place they look to push cycling single minded and end up alienating the sport by not putting the case across for inclusion as part of the network system but instead push as an alternative to the current system
We will always have cars, trucks, vans, motorbikes and for a while still the old Robin reliant (yes it’s still legal despite its ability to role at corners - (Top gear video) ). So we need to an inclusive road network system that allows all road users to do so safely, effectively and with the maximum amount of safeguards in place. This will only be achieved by creating an environment where all interested parties feel there is a fair playing field, that all sign up to the same set of rules and all are willing to make the necessary change.
Some of these points include:
- Drivers receiving training during their driver training about cycling and what to look out for
- Cyclist to all receive proficiency training
- All road users to pay towards the system and if cyclist want specific cycling improvements we need to agree to some form of funding process
- Government need to agree to review their transport policy to include all road users
- Government need to make it law that local authorities have to provide options for all road users and not to syphon the fund for other projects
- Cycling insurance should become mandatory the same as car insurance as a way of protecting all parties involved.
- Laws should be in place as to what are the expected standards for a road worthy bike. Lights at night, high visibility clothing etc.
- All parties need to review the true reasons for accidents and top blaming each other
- Police need to be given greater powers for on the spot fine for cyclists who believe it is their right to break the Highway Code and the law. Red lights are for everyone includes us cyclists for example.
- We need to review the rules governing cycling. From previous posts you may have noted there are no real laws governing cycling specifically on the road. There are a few guidelines, but as you may notice, guidelines that are not laws do not get followed as they can't be enforced. For instance:
- Is in not now time to stop cycling on dual carriageways? Is neither safe nor sensible to mix a bike going 15-20 miles an hour with a bunch of cars and trucks hitting 70? The turbulence from a truck alone is enough to suck you into the traffic. The blame often gets past to the driver but let’s all be honest it’s the cyclist for being on such a busy road
I love the sport of Cycling, its fast, it’s a fantastic way to exercise and get fit, it’s got so many facets to it and it’s accessible to everyone. What we now need is a real voice in government. With so many of us cycling and by the looks of it so many people already in positions that can make a difference how do we create this force for change and who should drive it? At some point we need to change tact, change our focus and look to manoeuvre change for the whole of the UK and not just London or small pockets around the country.
Let’s create a revolution of our on and stop looking at Holland or America or anywhere else. Britain’s road system is unique, our culture is unique and we are unique so our cycling legacy needs to be unique!