Thoughts and comments please!

by ironmancole   November 20, 2013  

Just throwing this out there to gain some understanding, insight and to generate discussion so please do add if you can.

We've all grown tired of reading the horror stories, the majority witnessed or personally experienced problems on the road and ultimately this all comes down to a reasonably simple point.

We have one group moving about in a form of transport that has to an irrefutable level shown itself to be a great taker of life and bringer of injury to a massive level.

We have another group who at another point in time are moving about in a more natural and vulnerable state, having no such protective cage around them. Cyclists & pedestrians.

One group is repeatedly killing and maiming the other group to beyond unacceptable levels. Government, supposedly there to make the hard decisions in the vested interest of what is best for society are choosing indifference and inaction, even engaging in victim blaming rather than addressing the simple fact that persecution is going unchecked on a daily basis.

If we witness one group bringing death and injury to another group in another country we have posh words for it such as genocide and our politicians line up, keen to show that they are agents of valour and perhaps with the UN we send in our troops to give the aggressors a jolly good spanking. Well done us they say.

Why then do we have this situation where our very oppressed group, the weapon not being machetes but a utilitarian object of transport, remains unprotected?

The issue is not one of roaming gangs raping people and removing hands but of persistently unchecked and sometimes lethal use of an object that is supposed to be a privilege to use and not an irreplaceable right with no fear of licence removal.

So, can we as an increasingly angry and frustrated group start a class action or the UK equivalent against government, not for it's actions but for its lack of action to address the core issues? By standing by and allowing one group to keep maiming and killing the other isn't our government effectively stating they approve of the current situation?

Don't we have a basic human right as a group of very concerned individuals to move freely and within the confines of the law without fear of becoming victim to the other group?

I understand that the motor vehicle has seemingly gathered this Teflon shroud but categorically it has no exemptions from the law to protect it, you cannot for example (in theory unfortunately) use your car to drive into someone to kill and then escape all enquiry as you did it with the car and not a knife so all is fine. You can't claim exemption as the car is lawfully permitted to kill with so I'd ask...

Would government act in a similarly disinterested way if the same numbers of death and serious injury were instead being inflicted by knife wielding groups? If we did see that and government were doing very little how could we force them to intervene in a meaningful and forceful way?

Would we go to the European Courts once we've exhausted the UK High Court? Why can't we use our human rights to demand safety from this oppressive group? I'm asking why don't we appear to have any legal channel in an age when overweight people can sue the food vendors for making them overweight?!

I don't accept that irrespective of how one group is being killed by another, by knife or by motor vehicle, that the best we have is one online petition after another for government to commend and then ignore.

Collectively we can amass considerable resource, I believe we all desperately want change and there has never been a better time to mobilise the increasing support we have at all levels to put government in a position where it can no longer ignore the call for change.

Im sure you must all get where I'm coming from, I don't accept that we have to keep putting up with what is clearly a form of oppression in an age when an E list 'celebrity' famous for doing nothing can sue for thousands of pounds because some gossipist described their shoe choice as 'gay'.

This stuff is important and all of us matter, we have ambitions, people we love and people who love us. Why should we have this cheapened because authority doesn't have the spine to do whatever is necessary to bring some sanity and safety to the streets?

Thanks.

21 user comments

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Too long and too much hyperbole.

Can we have a Management Summary of the points you are trying to make?

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [581 posts]
20th November 2013 - 12:54

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Get a job with a non-profit, pal

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posted by harman_mogul [109 posts]
20th November 2013 - 13:08

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CTC are already doing a lot of (non aggressive) campaigning and doing a very good job of it too.

If you want to help, get on board with them and see what you can do in your area, a mass "V for Vendetta" style revolution will not work, it'll only serve to make things worse for everyone.

ctc.org.uk

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [526 posts]
20th November 2013 - 13:19

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mooleur wrote:
CTC are already doing a lot of (non aggressive) campaigning and doing a very good job of it too.

If you want to help, get on board with them and see what you can do in your area, a mass "V for Vendetta" style revolution will not work, it'll only serve to make things worse for everyone.

So the only way to achieve anything is through passive resistance, non-disruptive protest and signing petitions?

CTC has presided over the collapse of cycling for the last 40 years with the LCC joining them for the last 35 of it. Neither have done anything which has increased cycling numbers, nor the safety it has demanded.

The LCC daren't upset TfL because of the seat at its table it has been given yet TfL and the mayor need to be held to task, and with a bit more than 5 minute vigils at Bow roundabout that then skip the planned 2 minute silence, yet holla for people to join up as members.

The CTC has actually held an integrationist/vehicular cycling viewpoint for years and the LCC signs off on crappy, inadequate design that Tfl rolls outs.

People are pissed off with these wet liberals doing and achieve nothing of value, yet calling for people to give over money for them to do more of the same. Its time they either upped their game and got off their arses or fucked off.

With the recent spate of cycling and pedestrian deaths, TfL's reluctance to do anything and the mayors victim blaming and misdirection, its time people got out on the streets and shut down lethal junctions, closed down their estates to rat running and reclaimed their streets.

mooleur wrote:
a mass "V for Vendetta" style revolution will not work

You've been watching too much TV and should get out a bit more.

posted by zanf [415 posts]
20th November 2013 - 13:43

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Aside from you attempting to insult my social life, can you please reference any quote I made regarding standing in favour of petition signing and wet liberalism?

There is a difference between non-aggressive action and wetness.

Personally, after being in several accidents in London myself, I do not want to see an increase in tension, which is exactly what this suggestion of aggressive revolution sounds like. I'm sure many people will agree. I really can't be arsed with dealing with pissy drivers because some twat of a cyclist called him a c*** merely because he's in a car 5 minutes previous.

There is nothing wrong with what the CTC are trying to do, in that they are actually trying to rally support to provide the government with solid demand surrounding the needs of cyclists. Just because they haven't made a large enough dent in the state of affairs right now does not mean they are on the wrong side.

Quote:
its time people got out on the streets and shut down lethal junctions, closed down their estates to rat running and reclaimed their streets.

I'm the one who needs to get out more?

Sorry for attempting to provide some guidance on the OP's questions!

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [526 posts]
20th November 2013 - 13:58

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Sure it's wordy, run me over in a truck for it, but either way the questions I raise stand. Why are there no legal channels to pursue when government inactivity is costing lives?

Parliament managed to mobilise itself fast enough when the bankers went to them with their caps in hand also finding impossible sounding numbers to prop up shoddy gambling dens so we've seen they can act when it suits.

I disagree such action is inflammatory, given the experiences we've all had can it really get that worse? Pursuing legal channels is the correct and proper way. I believe petitions have their uses but given the onslaught and continued failure to intervene with any meaningful process perhaps a more direct campaign is appropriate?

The in fighting often on display on these and similar forums hints at some of the problems we face as a group, I feel it's time we explored other peaceful but more productive alternatives. Tugging at the sleeves of the MP and waiting patiently for their help isn't exactly resulting in any hint of the radical overhaul of road legislation we perhaps need.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [114 posts]
20th November 2013 - 15:32

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ironmancole wrote:
The in fighting often on display on these and similar forums hints at some of the problems we face as a group, I feel it's time we explored other peaceful but more productive alternatives. Tugging at the sleeves of the MP and waiting patiently for their help isn't exactly resulting in any hint of the radical overhaul of road legislation we perhaps need.

Absolutely agree.

My suggestion of contacting the likes of CTC is based on the same opinion, it's just that they're a centralised "force" for exactly that kind of canvassing and have, especially recently, developed quite a strong voice in getting these issues raised in parliament.

I just think rallying another group or movement seems counter-intuitive when we already have these means available to us, we just need to utilise them effectively.

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [526 posts]
20th November 2013 - 15:41

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"CTC has presided over the collapse of cycling for the last 40 years with the LCC joining them for the last 35 of it. Neither have done anything which has increased cycling numbers, nor the safety it has demanded."

Err, there has been a massive increase in cycling in the last couple of years. I wouldn't call that a collapse.

Prior to that the fact that cars became cheaper in relative terms meant that cycle commuting had died a death and so fewer people rode bikes. Pretty much the same happened everywhere else, and is still happening. If you look at what's happened in China in recent years there has been a massive increase in personal vehicle ownage and use and cycle numbers have dropped. Note that motorcycling also dropped in popularity in the UK due to the lower cost in relative terms.

Maybe the French and Italians and Spanish continued cycling because they have so much more of a continuous history of cycle racing than we do due to the TdF and the Giro and so on.

You could try a class action but I you may need deep pockets. Lawyers are not cheap.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2098 posts]
20th November 2013 - 15:53

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zanf wrote:

CTC has presided over the collapse of cycling for the last 40 years with the LCC joining them for the last 35 of it. Neither have done anything which has increased cycling numbers, nor the safety it has demanded.

Really? I don't think the CTC has presided over anything much. It has very little influence. It is a bit much to blame the CTC for the various factors which have affected cycling for 40 years.

posted by felixcat [204 posts]
20th November 2013 - 16:04

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Thank you. So, a class action - is this a possibility an organised group could commence. I can't talk for others but I would personally be happy to offer some support to get a pot of money established. There are a lot of us out there and with a focused and concerted effort with clear objectives as to what we all feel is required perhaps there is a way.

Amongst us will be a full spectrum of those with knowledge, time, energy and passion to commit if properly planned. We have cycling lawyers and barristers that could form framework for further development. Sure, we will need specialist help but I do not see this as being so prohibitively expensive that 30,000 people for starters couldn't solve with a whip round.

Sure, I'm making it sound easy and yes I appreciate to some extent how these things work but also we should remember that what we're asking for is not unreasonable. Simple equality on a public resource backed by legislation changes that stop fuelling the aggressor and offer greater protection to the vulnerable.

We have rights, we need to learn how to use them.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [114 posts]
20th November 2013 - 16:09

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To have any hope of winning you would have to prove that the UK Government has failed to carry out its legal obligations.

It isn't clear to me from your original post which specific legal obligations you are referring to.

Could you expand on this?

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
20th November 2013 - 18:06

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ironmancole wrote:
We have rights, we need to learn how to use them.

What are these 'rights' that you're so keen on?

In your original post you talk of 'oppressive groups' killing and maiming cyclists at will as if there are hoards of drivers driving around in packs targeting cyclists.

As I posted originally, lose some of the hyperbole and explain what you're after and you might get some support.

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [581 posts]
20th November 2013 - 18:20

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Im not a legal expert. I do not have insight into the cogs of justice. My original post is clear enough, you must recognise what I am getting at irrespective of length. It is a request for insight and thought into possible avenues to explore as a supposedly united group of vulnerable people wishing to see change on the roads.

As for motorists not deliberately targeting cyclists I'm sure I'm not alone when I write that they may not set out a quota of cyclists to kill each year but it's plainly obvious that it's only luck that they don't actually meet that quota.

Rights? How about the basic right to travel freely without suffering unnecessary risk of death, which at present appears to be lacking does it not? It might not be cast in stone on a dusty shelf somewhere but I'd have thought morally it's a pretty reasonable ask.

Can we focus on the simple invitation to explore alternative legal avenues and put aside the nit picking? Thank you.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [114 posts]
20th November 2013 - 18:37

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I think your basic premise lacks perspective (as suggested by jova54).

These trucks you speak of are not trying to kill cyclists. I don't know anyone (apart from a soldier) who in the course of their work is actively seeking to kill another person, especially someone they don't know. In as much as the events are sad for the family, a truck driver/car driver responsible for someone else's death is unlikely to be unaffected negatively by it too.

In some cases it is highly probable that the cyclists own behaviour may have led to their demise - there are those who go on about not blaming the victim, but we don't learn anything by hiding behind that except to say it is everyone and everything else's fault. It really isn't as simple as that - and unless people face up to this then there will be those that resist calls for expensive bike infrastructure, or a limit on truck driving because the goal posts only seem to be moving one way.

I'm not against these measures (changing infrastructure/calling a curfew on drivers of HGVs). But you have to recognise that there is a bigger picture and many opposing views. If you couch your argument in such a singular way then you will antagonise people who might otherwise see your point of view. If you take vigilante action you will also alienate them and probably convince them that cyclists are just vigilantes (a law unto themselves) on two wheels.

For whatever reason I don't seem to get into too many arguments/accidents with motorists when I'm on my bike (I get more wound up about them when I'm in my car and they are cutting me up or pulling into my right of way). But I try to watch and look out for potential problems and I think that is because I take responsibility for myself and am a considerate road user - we all have a right to the road and so we need to find a solution together. After all there are people who are pedestrians, motorists and cyclists all in one.

Also, there was an article on the BBC which talked about the statistics of the last week. While it is dispassionate to talk about the events of last week in such a way, what has happened is, well, 'anomalous' - but overall, they were saying, that the statistics do not show a rise - in fact the death rate is actually very low, and taking into a lot of factors is actually better than it has been. Accepting the deaths is not the right thing to do, but understanding them and then taking a considered approach to deal with the situation is. After all, it is not like the scenario was the same in each case. No single junction was involved. No single driver.

This is why Boris et al. are not rushing out of the majors office to ban all HGVs. Boris, CTC, LCC, TFL and anyone else you speak to do not want any further cyclist deaths. I think you will see a change in the nature and set-up of the super-highways following this, and likely attempts to deal with the Bow roundabout in particular, but it is not going to happen over night - you just change major infrastructure that quickly, and using a sticking plaster is not always the best way to address a wound.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1036 posts]
20th November 2013 - 19:00

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ironmancole wrote:
As for motorists not deliberately targeting cyclists I'm sure I'm not alone when I write that they may not set out a quota of cyclists to kill each year but it's plainly obvious that it's only luck that they don't actually meet that quota.

This has to be the most paranoid part of your posts so far. Are you seriously suggesting that drivers go out with the intention of meeting some notional quota of cyclists they 'must' maim or kill each year? Are you a car driver?

Quote:
Can we focus on the simple invitation to explore alternative legal avenues and put aside the nit picking? Thank you.

Rather than expect other people to sort out the holes in your arguments go back and review and revise and lose the hyperbole. At the moment you seem to be under the impression that if we can convince 30,000 people, not sure where you got the number from, to each stump up some money, not sure of the amount, we can take up a class action against the government based on the premise that they are complicit in the killing and maiming of cyclists.

Where is your evidence?

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [581 posts]
20th November 2013 - 19:01

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ironmancole wrote:
Rights? How about the basic right to travel freely without suffering unnecessary risk of death,

How could a Government possibly guarantee this? How do you define "unnecessary risk"? Should this right apply only to cyclists or to all road users?

I believe that what you are asking for is not feasible. Cyclists have no more right to use the road than other road users; cars, motorcycles, horses, buses, lorries ... etc. It would require a change in the law to grant cyclists privileged status and I do not see that happeneing any time soon in a democracy where the vast majority of the electorate are motorists who have no interest in cycling as an every day method of transportation.

It seems to me that what you are asking for would be a bit like victims of knife crime coming together to launch a class action against the Government for continuing to allow shops to sell kitchen knives to adults.

Would that seem at all reasonable to you?

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
20th November 2013 - 19:37

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Which government are you going to sue exactly? When did all the killing start ... shortly after the bicycle was invented? Who was 'responsible' for any inaction back then?

The truth is that our roads now, in terms of annual deaths, have never been safer since the motor car became widely used. UK roads are amongst the safest in the world. A huge amount of action is undertaken and money spent in achieving that.

posted by Joeinpoole [143 posts]
20th November 2013 - 20:02

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mooleur wrote:
Aside from you attempting to insult my social life, can you please reference any quote I made regarding standing in favour of petition signing and wet liberalism?

There is a difference between non-aggressive action and wetness.

Personally, after being in several accidents in London myself, I do not want to see an increase in tension, which is exactly what this suggestion of aggressive revolution sounds like. I'm sure many people will agree. I really can't be arsed with dealing with pissy drivers because some twat of a cyclist called him a c*** merely because he's in a car 5 minutes previous.

There is nothing wrong with what the CTC are trying to do, in that they are actually trying to rally support to provide the government with solid demand surrounding the needs of cyclists. Just because they haven't made a large enough dent in the state of affairs right now does not mean they are on the wrong side.

Quote:
its time people got out on the streets and shut down lethal junctions, closed down their estates to rat running and reclaimed their streets.

I'm the one who needs to get out more?

Sorry for attempting to provide some guidance on the OP's questions!

I think you need to calm down a bit. I wasnt insulting your social life but your binary thinking that protest is either signing petitions or throwing petrol bombs wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

Have a look at a Bristol group called "Playing Out". They reclaimed their streets for their kids and as you can see on the video, the kids love it.

mooleur wrote:
I'm sure many people will agree. I really can't be arsed with dealing with pissy drivers because some twat of a cyclist called him a c*** merely because he's in a car 5 minutes previous.

I have no idea what you're going on about here. What I can make out is you dont want to be dealing with the consequences of how someone has previously interacted with someone else. You're pretty much fucked then really as it is inevitable. You could be on your bike and have to deal with the consequences of a driver who had an (or is having on ongoing) argument with his girlfriend.

mooleur wrote:
There is nothing wrong with what the CTC are trying to do, in that they are actually trying to rally support to provide the government with solid demand surrounding the needs of cyclists.

There is very little that the CTC has done over the last 40 years that has had any effect. Their SMIDSY campaign quietly died and all links now point to the road justice site, which does little except list the deaths of cyclists and the court cases where the driver gets away with being responsible for their death.

felixcat wrote:
Really? I don't think the CTC has presided over anything much. It has very little influence. It is a bit much to blame the CTC for the various factors which have affected cycling for 40 years.

I think you missed my point: they have sat there completely ineffectual and impotent whilst cycling numbers collapsed through the 70's and the recent uptake in cycling is absolutely not down to anything they (or the LCC) have done whatsoever.

The uptake in cycling recently is down to a few things: spiralling costs of car usage/public transport, the feel good factor of the Olympics & a Brit winning the TdF for the last 2 years.

There is massive suppressed demand for cycling yet the CTC and LCC has not been able to do anything to unlock it. Why is that?

GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
To have any hope of winning you would have to prove that the UK Government has failed to carry out its legal obligations.

The reason why corporate manslaughter charges were not brought against TfL over Kings Cross, where they completely ignored advice from Bucanhan Consultants about the gyratory system, was purely down to that their decisions about the junction were made before the laws were enacted. That is not to say that there was not a strong case.

The redesign of Bow roundabout came after the laws were enacted and a case to answer corporate manslaughter charges need to be pushed as much as possible against Tfl as they ignored Jacobs Consultants about the design of Bow

There may even be the possibility of cases brought against them over Elephant and Castle as well as other junctions

joeinpoole wrote:
The truth is that our roads now, in terms of annual deaths, have never been safer since the motor car became widely used. UK roads are amongst the safest in the world. A huge amount of action is undertaken and money spent in achieving that.

The truth is that to say 'a huge amount of action is being undertaken' is not strictly true and we need to prosecute those who have failed in their duty of care to ensure that the roads are safe for ALL road users, especially the most vulnerable.

posted by zanf [415 posts]
21st November 2013 - 10:50

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zanf wrote:
I think you need to calm down a bit. I wasnt insulting your social life but your binary thinking that protest is either signing petitions or throwing petrol bombs wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

You were, and you did. I'm not sure how I portrayed a binary thinking towards the extremes of protest? I merely made comment [to the OP] on possible avenues of support.

zanf wrote:

I have no idea what you're going on about here. What I can make out is you dont want to be dealing with the consequences of how someone has previously interacted with someone else. You're pretty much fucked then really as it is inevitable. You could be on your bike and have to deal with the consequences of a driver who had an (or is having on ongoing) argument with his girlfriend.

Sigh. My point is the issue with aggravating existing aggression between both parties unnecessarily generates dangerous environments for cyclists. We don't need tension, we need resolve.

zanf wrote:
I think you missed my point: they have sat there completely ineffectual and impotent whilst cycling numbers collapsed through the 70's and the recent uptake in cycling is absolutely not down to anything they (or the LCC) have done whatsoever.

Impotent? Really? Do you actually know anything about the functioning of the CTC?

zanf wrote:
There is massive suppressed demand for cycling yet the CTC and LCC has not been able to do anything to unlock it. Why is that?

Unlock what, exactly? Where do you think their responsibilities lie? The CTC campaign tirelessly for visibility in parliament on behalf of the cyclist. They campaign and work with young people to aid safety whilst promoting cycling and erstwhile they are a charity originally founded from a touring club.

To be honest, compared do anyone else, they're doing a pretty bloody good job considering their lack of support from the very people they're attempting to help.

There are always going to be avenues to explore in terms of action and while we all agree things are getting out of hand, belittling my input to the conversation rather than constructively putting ideas to the table does not help anyone.

Rather than inherently vocalising your obvious problems with the charities already out there, how about countering with something better?

This "them versus us" standpoint won't help anyone, also, neither will your trolling. Apologies, I'm done with filling a potentially valuable thread with an unnecessary argument!

Merlin Cycles women's race team ~ http://www.merlincycles.com
Manx nerd peddler ~ http://mooleur.blogspot.com

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posted by mooleur [526 posts]
21st November 2013 - 13:25

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zanf wrote:
GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
To have any hope of winning you would have to prove that the UK Government has failed to carry out its legal obligations.

The reason why corporate manslaughter charges were not brought against TfL over Kings Cross, where they completely ignored advice from Bucanhan Consultants about the gyratory system, was purely down to that their decisions about the junction were made before the laws were enacted. That is not to say that there was not a strong case.

The redesign of Bow roundabout came after the laws were enacted and a case to answer corporate manslaughter charges need to be pushed as much as possible against Tfl as they ignored Jacobs Consultants about the design of Bow

There may even be the possibility of cases brought against them over Elephant and Castle as well as other junctions

The OP was enquiring about the possibility of taking action against the UK Government, not TfL.

Of course groups and individuals can already take action against public or private corporations who are allegedly negligent in carrying out their duties. That isn't what this article is about.

In your opinion, is there a potentially valid case against the UK Government regarding provision for cyclists?

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
21st November 2013 - 16:35

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jova54 wrote:
ironmancole wrote:
As for motorists not deliberately targeting cyclists I'm sure I'm not alone when I write that they may not set out a quota of cyclists to kill each year but it's plainly obvious that it's only luck that they don't actually meet that quota.

This has to be the most paranoid part of your posts so far. Are you seriously suggesting that drivers go out with the intention of meeting some notional quota of cyclists they 'must' maim or kill each year? Are you a car driver?

It seems my point of view on this is not really coming across. Speaking for myself, which is all I can do, I do not feel safe riding on the roads any more. My background is very comprehensive and gives me an angle on the problems 'as I see them' that has very much led to the formation of much of the above.

As a junior and first year senior I was selected for a British Centre of Excellence place on the road and was expected to make Commonwealth Games selection. In 1997 I was due to be spending a placement year abroad with a host family to see if I was good enough to develop fully.

In December 96 I was hit head on by a motorist who cut a corner on a junction as he was late to pick his daughter up from a minder. I was left on the floor as he changed the accident scene to make it look like I'd cut across his side of the road, dragging me to where he left my head propped against the kerb.

His windscreen was smashed (on an old 'C' registered Saab, not the new comfy breakable windscreens) and I had landed very heavily on the ground with no control of my body as I was unconscious. Yes I had a helmet on but oddly enough the polystyrene wasn't up to the job of stopping a couple of tons of pig iron.

As I briefly came to he was dragging me across the road and then I have no further recollection until waking in a hospital trauma unit with numerous doctors and nursing staff around me. Paramedics had found me fitting and suffering a full respiratory arrest. All of my clothes were cut from me whilst lines were inserted into various arteries to pump me with life saving drugs.

My Glasgow Coma Score was 3 out of 15, the lowest it can be. I was completely non responsive and had the paramedics arrived literally 60 seconds later I would have been another 'whoops someones been carelessly killed' to go with all the others.

I suffered a hypoxic brain injury due to the lack of oxygen, caused most likely by the motorist looking to cover his back by effectively closing my airway when he stuck my head against the kerb. I spent 18 months as an outpatient at a specialist brain injury rehabilitation centre in Northampton having cognitive brain therapy to help me cope with the life changing consequences of his actions.

I lost years of work and dedication to my sport as well as a piece of myself and have to spend the rest of my life wondering 'what if'. The driver? Escaped prosecution completely as 'there were no independent witnesses as to who was on who's side of the road'. I'm sure he was really upset though, covering it up like that, the little cherub.

Here's another angle for you. Two years before that my 5 year old step sister Tia was killed by a lorry that hit the car she was in on the nearside. Her mother died instantly but Tia, she had to wait another 20 minutes before she died. Fire crews extricated her and she died alone at the side of a faceless road waiting for an air ambulance. I was at home when a plain clothed lady with a uniformed officer knocked the door.

They came in, confirmed the identity of my step father and went on to deliver the crushing news about the accident and that his beautiful daughter would not be coming home again. I watched him collapse to the ground in the hall and all he could repeat was "Not my little girl".

I was told when he and my mother went to see Tia that the only mark on her was a small graze on her cheek. The injuries were confined to the chest and internal organs. I could not bring myself to go to the funeral but the sight of a small white coffin alongside that of her mothers full sized one as they waited outside on the road never leaves me.

So, when my own mother saw 2 police officers pulling up outside the house before getting out and walking up the drive she had a moment of terror knowing I had gone out that morning training. Was she about to learn that not only had she recently lost her step daughter but also her eldest son?

It was around 3 weeks after I was hit that I started to form complete memories. Years later I was missing training and racing so I got another bike. It was incredibly hard to get back out there knowing how cheap life seems to be.

Despite my break from cycling I have since managed to get some of my old ability back with a PB of 4:48 for the Ironman bike in 2010. I do not wish to be arrogant but that's still a pretty elite time achieved on 2 sessions a week and gives me a certain perspective.

Anyone interested in a performance POV can relate to the difficulty they face in getting quality time in without being injured or worse by others as you need more time exposed to the risks, which lets be honest are not sparrows and other cyclists but those big metal boxes with the distracted people inside.

Icing on the cake? Last year whilst out running with a friend who also races Ironman a motorist I subsequently learned from the police was previously a banned driver decided to aim his car at us on a quiet country lane. This made him feel like a big man or something.

Once more the CPS did nothing but I was left with an injured leg so another 6 months of physio was required. In short I've had my fill of people in cars who are unable to drive with any level of respect for others. I now have to train indoors doing 4 hour sets because the reality is I simply cannot and do not trust those around me in their motorised cages to play ball.

So, hyperbole aside, given the levels of death and serious life changing injuries that motorists cause to pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, wildlife in general and of course each other I could well be forgiven for being paranoid about there actually being a quota. Not that I wrote there actually was one.

Am I a motorist? Passed my test a few weeks before my big 'accident' in 1996. Funny thing is I've managed to drive since then without killing or hurting anyone. Perhaps I could get a university to study me and pass the results to any disinterested government department. Oh yes I know what it is, I don't need to drive like it's my God given right. I'm not perfect. I got 3 points back in 2003 or so for doing 47mph along a 40mph stretch of dual carriageway.

When I get in the car I don't treat it like a toy. I don't gamble with other peoples lives. I don't think I'm Vettel and use country lanes like a closed track. I don't overtake into the sun or overtake on blind corners. I don't watch movies on my phone or steer with my feet. If its not safe...I don't do it. I do 20mph when it's a 20mph and try to ignore the cretin sitting up my arse. Result? No one is dead and no-one has been injured.

I don't find it difficult. I have no idea why so many motorists do find it hard not to tot the points up and not to use the car to intimidate and threaten others around them. I suspect its a personality and insecurity issue coupled with other factors that results in what we're seeing out on the roads right now. In short if someone kills someone you love in their car it doesn't matter 'as it must have been an accident'. If someone does it with other means then that's different, the law might take it seriously. That's what needs to be changed.

ironmancole wrote:
Can we focus on the simple invitation to explore alternative legal avenues and put aside the nit picking? Thank you.

jova54 wrote:
Rather than expect other people to sort out the holes in your arguments go back and review and revise and lose the hyperbole. At the moment you seem to be under the impression that if we can convince 30,000 people, not sure where you got the number from, to each stump up some money, not sure of the amount, we can take up a class action against the government based on the premise that they are complicit in the killing and maiming of cyclists.

Where is your evidence?

Why so literal? 30,000 is just a number, it's not from anywhere and I didn't present it as such. Seems a reasonable amount of people who have had enough with the current situation and would like to see radical change.

And yes, I believe the government are almost complicit in the killing of vulnerable road users, not just those on bikes. As I first stated we have one group killing another group continually and relentlessly. It's not fiction, that's just whats happening. Government could step in but they don't.

Back to the original post, which is 'Can a group challenge this lack of inaction?'

You don't have to be guilty of something by actually doing it and taking part. If I stand by and watch 1 child kill another child questions will inevitably be asked as to why I didn't intervene. I had both capacity and a moral responsibility to do so but chose not to. I cannot claim it was nothing to do with me, society would expect better.

You can be equally guilty by failing to intervene when you had the ability to step in and stop something from happening. That is what I believe government is somewhat guilty of. Question is why?

That's what I would like to explore.

Hating our selfish and ignorant car culture

posted by ironmancole [114 posts]
22nd November 2013 - 18:45

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