I was sitting at home last night minding my own business when I got sent this nugget by the good folk of Spokes – The Lothian Cycle Campaign via Twitter. It is from FACTS, The Transport Professional’s Magazine (issue 65, 2011).
Now, I know there are many within the haulage industry that are doing their best to alleviate the tragic and needless suffering that occurs on our roads on an all too frequent basis with some particuarly high profile and dreadful incidents in London recently. In fact I bet there are many in the industry that care more than the Tory Assembly Members that walked out of yet another meeting that just happened to have the issue of cyclists safety on the agenda (and let’s be frank here, they don’t give a shockingly shiny shit about bicycles or people that use them).
However, it doesn’t help matters when Phil Flanders (Scottish Director – Road Haulage Association) settled down last June/July to write something joyless & slightly moronic like this….
(I have added links, either to articles referred to or to stuff that I think will calm you down. I seriously advise you open this link in a seperate window and enjoy the soothing music whilst reading the following)
“There have been a spate of accidents involving cyclists and lorries recently and as usual the lorry is the big bad bogeyman. It reminded me of an article I read last year in New Zealand where they have a similar problem. It appeared in the New Zealand Herald and was written by Eric Thompson. He refers to a report mentioning that Mercedes-Benz Vice President of Safety Engineering, Ulrich Mellinghoff, told a road safety conference in Melbourne that mixing bicycles with motorised traffic was an ‘unsafe practice’ that needed changing.
A public road with motor vehicles is no place for a cyclist, no matter how they bleat about having every right to be in the same place as a car. A cyclist will always come off second best in an accident with a motor vehicle. No matter whose fault it is, in any type of motor versus pushbike altercation it’s not going to take a rocket scientist to work out who’s going to end up in the back of an ambulance.
He suggests that for road safety reasons:
All pushbikes must be fitted with rear-vision mirrors – as other vehicles are required by law;
All pushbikes must be fitted with indicators, or a similar device – as all other vehicles on the road are required by law.
They can only ride single file on a single lane road unless overtaking – as other vehicles on the road are required by law;
Be fitted with headlights that must be on at all times – as other two-wheeled vehicles on the road are required by law.
All bike riders must pass a road-license test – as are all other people who venture out on public roads;
All pushbikes must be registered and pay a road tax – as all other vehicles on the road are required by law. They should be able to get a reduction for low emissions!
I would go further and add that all must have adequate insurance for any accidents they cause and maybe even liability insurance for those who knock people down.
Those cyclists, and there are many, who play their iPods or other types of mobile music should also be charged for committing an offense of cycling without due care etc etc as they have no chance of hearing any vehicle approaching and are totally unaware of what is going on around them.
Some have started to fit small video cameras to their helmets. If you are unfortunate to upset them on the roads they will report you to the authorities and will have evidence of whatever it was that you did. There are cases of this already where the police have taken action!”
I won’t dwell on what we have just witnessed as it’s difficult to know where to start and he is of course entitled to his opinions. I hope the music helped. To try and deconstruct such ill-informed guff is as futile as trying and mop up the River Thames with a J-Cloth. Maybe this is what happens when the Conservatives get in power and organisations such as the RHA get a little bit over excitable. I wonder if he has any children or grandchildren that try to cycle and whether he brainwashes the freedom and happiness out of them? Lest to say come in Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Littlejohn and all others who have inflammatory views for money, your time is clearly up.