Taking my life in my hands

Posted: February 22, 2012 in Uncategorized
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Not my own words but those of our great PM:

I’d been meaning to do a post about why I’m attending the Cyclesafe Flashride but I think Mr Cameron has hit the nail pretty much on the head (with a sledgehammer….). I think the reason I don’t stop riding is because I’ve just become used to the poor conditions and treatment I receive whilst out riding and have adjusted my riding accordingly. Sharing multi-lane road systems that scare even Olympic athletes has become part of my daily routine as I try and get to and from work.

The situation gets worse once I’m move further away from the city centre, where the relatively fast moving but wide multi-lane raceways are replaced with smaller main roads and side streets. It’s on these sort of streets I normally encounter the driver who can’t spare a few seconds for my comfort and decides to scrape past with hardly any space, again this is something I’ve become accustomed to. Some people do seem to like to see just how close they can get and for their efforts they earn a spot on Youtube. Some however do actually wait patiently for a safe space and give me plenty of room, something which should be common place is all too often a pleasant surprise.

I think it’s because of this why I’m so nervous in letting my eldest attempt to ride to her secondary school next year. The route there and back involves travelling down a road that is going to be fairly busy during the school run and is punctuated with quite a few traffic island pinch points. As an experienced and confident rider myself I feel fairly comfortable asserting myself through these but I can’t expect the same of her can I?

David Cameron’s comments in here are pretty much straight out of their campaign material and the “template” response most of his party sent out in response to Cyclesafe campaigners. £15m investment? Yeah I’m sure that’ll make a *huge* difference! Considering Boris spunked  £10-20m per Cycle “Super”Highway just in London alone Cam’s £15m for the entire country is going to be spread VERY thinly! The whole cyclist training thing is another great piece of spin, you can throw around a few large numbers and make it look like your doing something! After all why bother trying to educate 30m drivers about how to act respectfully around cyclists and about their rights on the road when you can just target the much smaller minority of cyclists and arm them with techniques to tackle the car-centric roads we now have?

So in a nutshell the reason I’m attending the ride this evening is because I want cycling to be accessible. To anyone. To everyone. Everyone from my 11 year old daughter to my 52 year old mum should be able to hop on a bike and go for a ride without “taking their lives in their hands” and without needing to attend a special training course!

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Comments
  1. Downfader says:

    I think Cameron over-simplifies:

    Its not that WE take our lives in our hands, but that we rely on the goodwill of others. And there is a vocal percentage of the British public that foam at the mouth at the mere mention of cyclists.

    £15 million is nothing. £11m for training kids is nothing. That’s £26m between 75 million people living in and staying in the UK. That works out at 35p per person.

    In Southampton the council says it will spend £2m on making cycling easier and safer here. I think Cameron should do far more to match and even double what some of the councils are spending.

    • Yeah, I did see the comments on the Daily Echo regarding the Southampton announcement, some of the anti-cyclists comments where insane. Unfortunately it’s those kinda people who seem to have a rather backwards idea of road dangers who always seem to yell the loudest!

      RLJing, pavement riding and un-lit cyclists are a minority and it could be argued that the first 2 of those are a symptom of the lack of respect and perceived danger of our roads. However getting Mr Angry Motorist/Pedestrian to understand that is like pulling teeth….

      • Downfader says:

        For me its ironic how people complain about investment in cycling at such a small amount…. when you consider how around £4 billion and more is invested in motoring its a bit of a joke. To get the 25% modal share that politicians and co ask for it would need more like 25% of the transport budget to be set aside.

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