Sunday Feb 03, 2008

Putting the Prime Minister in the dock

I only just came across this and it is just wonderful. Mark Thomas continues his attack on the very silly law that prevents demonstrations around Parliament. This time by starting proceedings against the Prime Minister. Now the question is is the PM above the law!

Time to buy a badge or two to support this noble cause.

Friday May 11, 2007

Write to your MP

There is still time to stop the attack on cycling via the Highway Code update. Write to your MP to get them to sign this Early day Motion.

Do it Today. Do it Now!

Thursday Mar 08, 2007

Electing Lords?

I was ready to write a “how disappointed” entry about Parliament's failure to trust democracy and give us a fully elected upper chamber. I was so sure they would fail to deliver I did not even wait up to hear the results.

Here are the results according to the BBC:

All appointed house - rejected by 179 votes

20% elected - rejected, no vote

40% elected - rejected, no vote

Half elected/half appointed - rejected by 263 votes

60% elected - rejected by 214 votes

80% elected - backed by 38 votes

All elected - backed by 113 votes


I'm almost speechless.

Now the Government has to deliver on the will of the elected house.

I just hope that the Government understands that just because the 80% option was not rejected does not mean that it is acceptable in a country claiming to be a democracy. It needs to be 100% elected. If Bishops want a seat then they can stand for Election as can the Leaders of any other faith. Such is the low opinion I have for politicians at the moment I expect to be disappointed.


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Saturday Aug 05, 2006

TFL don't agree with Ken

While Red Ken thinks that cycle registration is a good idea, according to this email from Transport for London they do not:

Dear Mr Gerhard
Registration Plates for Cyclists
Thank you for your email of 28 July 2006 regarding the Mayors comments on cycle registration. I have been asked to reply on his behalf.
We have seen initial assessments from Transport for London that show that a bike registration scheme would face a number of practical problems, and could discourage cycling, whereas the aim is to carry on increasing the numbers of cyclists.
Given that such a scheme would have to be at least partly self-financing the cost of registering cycles would also have to be passed onto cyclists, again discouraging cycling. A registration scheme could therefore only ever be seen as a difficult last resort. Therefore, this will not be happening in the near future.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Yours sincerely

It must be irritating to have to deal with all these emails because of an ill thought out comment from the Mayor.

Geoff commented if RFID would solve the problem for registering cycles. I see lots of issues with that, privacy being one. But the need for a verifiable way of showing that an offence had been committed. On cars this is the photo and the registration plate. With bikes that would again bring in the need for a visible identifier. Then if the chip went with the bike each bike would need a registered owner who would have to know who was in charge of the bike at any time. That would kill child cycling in one go.

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Friday Jul 28, 2006

Red Ken joins the cycle registration madness.

It appears that Ken Livingstone has joined those who have not fully thought through a registration scheme for bicycles. His idea is one of the more ridiculous. Bikes would be registered to individuals and have to have a plate on the bike. I could not borrow someone elses bike would have to have all my bikes registered as well as all the childrens bikes.

Then of course if I did not they would have to catch me.

From The Times:

Asked if that meant licence plates for bicycles, he said: “Yes, so you can catch the ones — the ones that are obeying the law, it makes no difference — but the ones who are going over red lights, driving on pavements, you get ’em.”

Well hello Ken. Here is one cyclist who obeys the law to whom it will make a huge difference. Like I mentioned when the last Politician made this suggestion, think of the cost. Think of how you mount a registration plate? Think of how big it would have to be then think again about how you mount it. With the Tour De France coming next consider how you mount a registration plate on one of those bike? I know that the actual Tour riders would be exempted but there are a lot of bikes like those around.


This one actually gets even more bonkers. I would have to register to ride in London so what happens when Surrey bring in the same thing? Two registration plates? Would make my journey to work fun I would need a third plate to cover Hampshire. Lucky I never make it down to Sussex oh but I do on Sundays.



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Wednesday May 10, 2006

Cycling Debate in the House of Commons

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.

And:


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.

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Tuesday Dec 06, 2005

A cycling leader.

Wow, the new leader of the Tories rides a bike to work. ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4502656.stm)

I wonder if this will help when the more irrational ideas crop up or whether my MP will be more responsive to my letters about cycling topics.

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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