The right Honorable Gentleman may recall his earlier years when he would like the common man use a bicycle as a means of transport . Those days , we cyclists would find that getting about was less stressful . In the comfort of the limousine you are required to use by the " Security Services " you will be unaware of the " Battlefield " that the roads have become in recent years . No doubt most of your journeys are spent dealing with important paperwork or in conversation with Dignatories and advisers . The time will have passed quickly since you will have had the road cleared by the escort , but even more to the point you will not have seen cyclists along these routes .
"The Times " campaign " Cities fit for Cycling " may have prompted you to allocate £15m to London projects , earlier this year , some cynics may have observed this as an attempt to buy votes for Boris Johnson in his bid for re election , who knows ? Fact is your Government in slashing " Budgets " removed a great many Cycling Initiatives last year that would have influenced many people to use the bike as transport . As a Government desperate to balance the Budget , a key weapon, is the way it taxes Fuel . Progressive rises mean that " Jo Public and his family " are being unfairly squeezed in the race to fill Government Coffers ! Amusing to see those who can afford the Fuel receiving Tax Reductions in the latest budget !
When you go on your holidays this year , you will no doubt , try to act like a normal family , and perhaps you will ride a bike . That experience will not compare to that experienced on a daily basis by those you govern . Where you will have a security cordon to protect your family , " Jill Public " will be surrounded by those ensconced in a " ton of metal " with scant regard for anything other than getting to that appointment that they set out for , far too late , as usual ! Cyclists have become " Mobile street furniture " to many , and " Road kill " to others . Indeed if you were to read " The Cycling Silk " blog , you would see that the Judiciary regard the " Sun was in my eyes , your honor " as an acceptable excuse for running down and even killing Cyclists !
You will see my comment there , suggesting that ONLY when you , or , your ministers suffer personal loss will there be a change in the Governments attitude to the dangers Everyday Cyclists are surrounded by on a daily basis . In fact i read recently that one woman feels that she would prefer to risk " The Taliban " rather than ride English roads , since she feels the real terrorists are in vehicles . With Families struggling to make " Ends meet " how many will have considered Cycling as an alternative mode of transport and rejected this since they do not wish to leave their family destitute when they are struck down ?
In the near future , after the Olympics , you will see the Paralympics . There , will be many competing from a variety of Nations whose Service Personnel saw action in Yugoslavia , Iraq & Afghanistan . Many of these competitors , having served their nation in " Harm's Way " , will have used sport and Cycling as a means of Rehabilitation and reached such a high standard that they met the qualification standards and are now serving their country once again in the Sporting Arena . Currently there are many from " Help4Heroes of the UK and Wounded Warrior Project engaged in the " Race Across America " ! Doing very well compared to " Able bodied Competitors according to the Media !
Do you realize that there are many Adaptive Athletes that met the Paralympic Standards but due to the lack of " Funds / Sponsors " they will not be at the London 2012 Paralympics ? Should any of these be from the British Armed forces , then this is a disgraceful and neglectful way to repay the dedication of those that served their nation . War has only one winner ! Those who invest their money in the " Armaments Industries "! It serves their purposes to see conflict in a world , that has no need for Conflict ! Fact is if you follow the money trail you will see that some of these people or corporations are reinvesting their Ill gotten Profits in the " Rehabilitation Industries " ! For them a " Win Win situation "!
With people taking the attitude that a Cyclist is an accident awaiting a disaster scenario it is a time , long overdue for you and your Government to ACT ! Yes we ALL heard you express your concerns in February when " Cities fit for Cycling was launched , but in examining your conscience , can you really point to anything that caused a change of attitude by the Motoring Lobby ?
Words mean nothing to " Mr White Van Man " or those that drive with the " mobile phone " glued to the ear as they eat their lunch . Nor do they mean anything to those drivers that regularly exceed the 30mph even in 20mph zones or around schools . Revision of the " Highway Code " and " penalties " for striking Vulnerable Road Users , implementing New Driving Licence Standards and Renewing the Licence after 5 years use could be a step in the right direction but this takes time and resources . However it will create jobs and perhaps produce revenue where people choose to continue to drive with disregard to others !
As an Interim measure the introduction of 20MPH limits in ALL urban areas will force vehicles to be more careful around Vulnerable Road Users and perhaps there will be less of the " Sun was in my Eyes Nonsense"!
Cyclists have a right to LIFE and consideration as Human beings that share the roads rather than as the nuisance that disrupts the traffic when so many were already late leaving for their " Important Appointment " !
Time you put Road Safety higher on your list of concerns ! ACTION please , not more words !
As a volunteer at ATHENS 2004 Events , i enjoyed the novelty of riding their roads BUT i am not looking forward to August in London ! How anyone can enjoy London Roads is beyond my comprehension !