Saturday 4 February 2012

Times' cycling safety campaign backed by 11,000

The Times reports that the 11,000th person has signed up to support the paper's Cities Fit For Cycling campaign following its launch on Thursday.

The campaign promotes safer cycling in cities and was partly inspired by the plight of Times news reporter Mary Bowers who is still not conscious after an accident involving a lorry while she was cycling to work last November.

The Times has launched a public campaign and 8-point manifesto calling for cities to be made fit for cyclists:

  1. Trucks entering a city centre should be required by law to fit sensors, audible truck-turning alarms, extra mirrors and safety bars to stop cyclists being thrown under the wheels.
  2. The 500 most dangerous road junctions must be identified, redesigned or fitted with priority traffic lights for cyclists and Trixi mirrors that allow lorry drivers to see cyclists on their near-side.
  3. A national audit of cycling to find out how many people cycle in Britain and how cyclists are killed or injured should be held to underpin effective cycle safety.
  4. Two per cent of the Highways Agency budget should be earmarked for next generation cycle routes, providing £100 million a year towards world-class cycling infrastructure. Each year cities should be graded on the quality of cycling provision.
  5. The training of cyclists and drivers must improve and cycle safety should become a core part of the driving test.
  6. 20mph should become the default speed limit in residential areas where there are no cycle lanes.
  7. Businesses should be invited to sponsor cycleways and cycling super-highways, mirroring the Barclays-backed bicycle hire scheme in London.
  8. Every city, even those without an elected mayor, should appoint a cycling commissioner to push home reforms. Jon Snow has backed the manifesto and says cycling has made him a better journalist.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel misled by the Times, as I signed up to this campaign as a way of making the streets safe, and all the publicity in the first two days said that was what it was. But then on Saturday, in the special supplement about cycling safety, we find the usual helmet promotion nonsense, with a two page spread of James Cracknell promoting his helmet manufacturer (he's sponsored by them) and telling everyone not to ride a bike, because you'll die: completely counterproductive. The list of items to make cyclists safe listed helmets first, despite the fact that there is no reliable evidence to show that they work, and reliable evidence to show that the don't. Last on the list was the most beneficial method of staying safe on a bike, training. It would appear that this promising campaign has been hijacked by the usual health and safety zealots.

I've written to the editor asking for an article putting the case against helmets, of the same length and prominence as the articles in the Saturday supplement.

Richard Burton