Cycling Debate in the House of Commons
By user12625760 on May 10, 2006
It would appear that all the lobbying of MPs about the revision to the Highway Code is having an effect. Yesterday there was a debate about Cycling started by Mark Lazarowicz MP (Edinburgh, North and Leith). All of the comments seemed to be positive for cyclists. (see hansard: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060509/halltext/60509h03.htm#column_24WH.
There was so much that was good however I particularly liked:
Mark Lazarowicz: Does my hon. Friend agree that a short stretch of cycle lane can be extremely dangerous in that, at the end of the lane, the act of joining the main route puts the cyclist at much greater risk than if they had not entered the cycle lane in the first place?
Charlotte Atkins: That is absolutely right. The point at which a cyclist joins the rest of the traffic is a clear area of real danger, and the evidence shows that most accidents occur at junctions. Often, that is just because motorists do not see cyclists. It is vital that we change the culture in this country so that it is much more akin to that in France, where cyclists are noticed. In London, a critical mass of cyclists has been created, so motorists are more aware of cyclists there, but we have much more to do in other towns where cycling is not so prevalent.
Emily Thornberry: Another problem is that we are victims of some of the wackier suggestions and criticisms that are levelled against us. Unfortunately, some of those come from another place. A recent suggestion was to ask the Government whether they would be willing to consider carefully whether
“a new requirement that cyclists display on their clothing a clearly readable personal registration number and carry a registration card containing relevant information would confer benefits that outweighed the bureaucracy and costs that such a system would entail?”—[Official Report, House of Lords,27 April 2006; Vol. 681, c. 256.]
May I urge the Government to ignore that advice? It is crazy to suggest that cyclists should carry numbers on their clothing so that they could be identified, and it would be equally insulting and crazy to expect pedestrians to do that. Cyclists are a special class and we need support. We do not need that eccentric criticism.
Then Emily continues by putting the danger posed by cyclists into perspective:
There was also a suggestion in another place that 1,000 pedestrians in London were injured by cyclists last year. May I put an accurate defence of cyclists on the record? Last year, more pedestrians were hit and injured by mopeds than by bicycles. In 2004, one pedestrian was killed in a collision with a cyclist, but that is the only recent known death. Motor cyclists, of whom there are a similar number on the road as cyclists, killed 20 people and seriously injured another 200 last year. The number of direct pedestrian deaths caused by cars in the same year was 388, with another 5,000 people seriously injured and 20,000 moderately injured. On top of that, there were another 2,000 deaths on the road, all caused by motorised transport. It is a simple fact that the more cycling there is on the roads, the safer our roads become.