The Driver Standards Agency is planning a new TV advertisement “specifically featuring a cyclist as someone who needs to refer to the Highway Code” it was announced yesterday in Parliament. A statement which was then contradicted by spokesman for the Driver Standards Agency who told road.cc today that the advertisement does not focus on cyclists that it is targeted at all road users under the slogan “The Highway Code-for life, not just for learners”.
News of the advertisement was revealed by Minister of State for Transport, Paul Clark in response to a question from Conservative Andrew Rosindell, the MP for Romford, about what recent steps the Department for Transport has taken to make sure cyclists comply with the Highway Code.
Mr Clark said that Bikeability, the new National Standard for cycle training, aimed to increase the amount and quality of training given to cyclists and ensured that those taking part were aware of the law. Mr Clark went on to add:
“ The Standard refers specifically to the Highway Code as providing important guidance for cyclists, detailing both the law and recommended practice. We have also developed a new THINK! Education website with resources for primary school teachers, pupils and parents covering the themes of cycle training, wearing the correct clothes, cycle maintenance and using the Highway Code.
“The enforcement of cycling offences is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police. The hazards caused by cyclists who break road traffic laws are recognised by chief officers and appropriate action is taken where such offences are detected. We support action taken by the police to deter and reduce the number of cycling offences.”
According to the representative of the Driver Standard's Agency we spoke to the animated advert features the the black figure from a road sign jumping out of the sign and in to a car and driving around (with the help of the Highway Code) before stopping and getting a bicycle out of the boot and riding off. That's it. The ad, she said, is targetted at all road users not just cyclists.
Given the thrust of his question that probably won't be music to the ears of Mr Rosindell who is very much from the populist, end of the Tory party. This summer he was embroiled in the expenses scandal when it was revealed that he had claimed over £125,000 in second home and other allowances for a flat in Southwark – he had designated his childhood home 17 miles from the commons as his main residence. When pressed on the proximity of that home to Westminster he told the Daily Telegraph: "It may be 17 miles as the crow flies, but from door to door by car - and I always drive - it can actually take an hour and a half.”
In the same session of Transport questions the minister was also asked by Mr Rosindell what action was being taken to cut the numbers of children killed and seriously injured while cycling on the road. More on that to follow.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.