I am sorely provoked. I must return to cyclists. They provide just one more example of egocentrics thinking that everyone else wants what they want, when they don’t, and misusing the words Equality and Human Rights to claim it, here auto-phobic egocentrics. They combine that with an enormous amount of wishful thinking and totally ignore the needs of the Car Industry and everyone else.
“Our NHS, Our Legal System, Our Parliament, “the envy of the world.” Are they?” Must wait.
Meanwhile, they’ve all the way to go in Newcastle.
Here are the National Cycling to Work stats for Newcastle 1,781 in 2001 rising to 3,223 in 2011. No cycle lanes the excuse? Well, look at John Dobson Street when you provide one. It’s known locally as a skateboard park. Sustrans, the Cycling lobby – authors of “Urban Planning for Dummies” – has persuaded the Department of Transport to make them a national transport planner; they are a long way away in Bristol where they are based – the City they have made Britain’s first Cycling City. There an increase of 62% in cycling accidents since.
I am sure that cyclists, and Sustrans in particular, believe that they have an equal right to be on the road as everyone else and, austerity or no austerity, that the State should provide as much money and cause as much gridlocking, time-wasting inconvenience to others as it takes to enable them to do so safely. No responsibility to pay road tax, no obligation to provide 3rd party insurance notwithstanding.
And this is where they go fundamentally wrong.
The Relativity of many Human Rights
When it comes to Colour, Race, Religion, Voting and Gender-pay the equality of your right is absolute, unquestioned. Positive or negative discrimination should be off limits.
Everywhere else, there is a hierarchy of rights, nowhere more so than on roads and pavements. Everywhere else other people have their rights too. The failure to see this bankrolls human rights lawyers who raise people’s expectations and feed off the disillusionment and aggro’ that follows.. And closing over 100 special schools in the UK ignoring that another illustration. Rights of some are relative to the Rights of others and fair play should reconcile them. Forget Equality here.
Take roads. First in the hierarchy security vehicles, ambulances, fire engines, and police cars, then buses, then taxis, then vans and delivery vehicles, then cars and last cyclists because, in the UK, they are a significant minority with weather inclement, contours hilly, and many busy, narrow, twisting roads dangerously unsuitable for them.
On pavements, unless on a lane specifically designated for them, they have no rights whatsoever, although you may sometimes wonder whether they know that.
In short, here their rights are relative to the rights of others not absolute, and fair play not equality should be the guiding light in providing for them, in deciding how much to spend.
And see where it leads you when you don’t understand this. The headline in the article. I must ask some questions here. Will cyclists be fined for cycling too close to a vehicle when they clip a driving mirror as they pass? Will they be fined if they ride two abreast or more on a busy road? Will they be fined if they ride through a red light or slalom through traffic?
They should wear helmets; of course, they should. But you can’t make this compulsory and hope to hire out cycles in city centres. So, the danger of serious accident and mortality without a helmet will continue, only more so as you encourage more people to cycle.
HSBC currently puts out ads at share-holder expense wanting to double the number of cyclists on the road by 2020. Who, I wonder, put them up to that?
Wishful thinking costs lives
It may contribute to combatting obesity but any gain to the NHS will be offset by the accidents and fatalities they cause. Any contribution to saving the planet miniscule unless you are a particularly optimistic wishful thinker.
Electric Motoring Revolution is on the doorstep. The urgent need is charging points. That is what the Department of Transport should be focussing on. The new generation of electric cars will make roads healthier and safer. Won’t do anything for obesity. I shall have something to say about that next time.
With Brexit, when the cat’s away, the mouse will play. There are far too many blind mice, and most of them are in Whitehall, in the Department of Transport.
PS Times March 12 page 22 “The Department of Transport spokesman said that more than 11,500 public charging points had been installed, including 900 rapid chargers.” With all leading motor manufacturers announcing plans for hybrid and electric cars, plus Dyson and Apple, how many charging points will we need by 2020?
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