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“I feel embarrassed for him,” says British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman, who has invited politician on a bike ride

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has said that people riding in cycle lanes are not road users – leaving British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman feeling “embarrassed” for the Tory politician.

The cabinet minister was asked in Parliament today by Labour MP for Cambridge and shadow transport minister Daniel Zeichner to clarify remarks he made in a recent interview with the London Evening Standard, where he was quoted as saying “‘Cycle lanes cause problems for road users.”

Zeichner asked him: “I was wondering if he could clarify for the House exactly who he thinks road users are?”

Grayling replied: “Where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes.

“And there’s a road alongside – the motorists are the road users, the users of the road.

“It’s fairly straightforward to be honest.”

Referring to the exchange, Boardman said: “The transport secretary’s comments demonstrate an astonishing lack of knowledge about how 7 million people regularly use the roads in this country.

“I feel embarrassed for him. If he truly thinks the roads are not for cyclists, then what am I paying my taxes for?

“Chris Grayling’s government has made a commitment to double cycling levels to help tackle congestion, obesity and air pollution – three issues that are at crisis point.

“The minister should also know that segregated cycle lanes of sufficient quality are incredibly rare in Britain.

“In fact, it’s going to be impossible to meet government targets on a diminishing budget of less than £1 per head. This is in stark contrast to the Netherlands and Denmark where more than £20 per head is spent.”

The former world and Olympic champion invited the minister out on a ride to experience the reality of cycling on Britain’s roads.

He said: “If there was ever anyone who needed to actually get on a bike and hear about the true state of cycling infrastructure, it is Chris Grayling and I’d be delighted to go on a ride with him.”

Grayling was in the news last month when video emerged of an incident in October in which he ‘doored’ a cyclist opposite the Houses of Parliament as he got out of his ministerial car.

> Former APPCG co-chair demands apology for Grayling over dooring incident

Earlier this week, the Independent reported that Grayling did not give the rider his details since “no-one asked for them.”

Transport minister Andrew Jones said: “No details were requested at the time by either party”.

He added that Grayling “got out of the car, checked the cyclist was okay and waited until he was back on his feet.

“He spoke to the cyclist and apologised; they shook hands.

“The secretary of state has since been in contact with the cyclist and the matter is closed.”

But Simon Munk of the London Cycling Campaign pointed out that by failing to pass over his details, Grayling had broken the law.

He said: “The law is very clear – in a collision you stop, exchange details and wait for the police if necessary.

“That the transport secretary appears not to understand this basic issue, let alone how important cycling and funding cycling is, should be of major concern to anyone who wants a healthier, better Britain.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

50 comments

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jasecd [483 posts] 10 months ago
36 likes

This guy is a fucking joke.

Exactly what you expect from a Tory government: Grayling is to transport what Hunt is to healthcare or Johnson to foreign affairs - completely unsuited to the job and full of prejudices that will ultimately damage society.

 

 

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StuInNorway [137 posts] 10 months ago
4 likes

On the plus side, if he's declaring that cycle lanes are not a part of the road, then any cycle friendly police force can start prosecuting any driver found with wheels in one with driving other than on a designated highway........  ringfence those fines to providing more "non-road"

Rather than send him out with someone like a professional cyclist, canwe not send him out with The Traffic Droid, now THAT would make interesting viewing !

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zanf [963 posts] 10 months ago
6 likes

Clickbait Robot nailed it a while back:

https://twitter.com/clickbaitrobot/status/806145075453509632

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thx1138 [66 posts] 10 months ago
12 likes
jasecd wrote:

This guy is a fucking joke.

Exactly what you expect from a Tory government: Grayling is to transport what Hunt is to healthcare or Johnson to foreign affairs - completely unsuited to the job and full of prejudices that will ultimately damage society.

It's a continuing example of politicians being given jobs they have absolutley no experience for and are completley unqualified to do. 

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burtthebike [1183 posts] 10 months ago
11 likes

Grayling: not a brain user.

It all stems from the top: if the prime minister has no idea what they are doing, then they appoint people with even less idea below them, otherwise they look stupid.

Still no mention of Grayling knocking off the cyclist on the BBC.

“The secretary of state has since been in contact with the cyclist and the matter is closed.”  Oh really?  Surely this is a police matter, not at the discretion of the cyclist, and since at least one crime was committed, the police should be taking action.  Have we heard from them on this matter at all?

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the little onion [169 posts] 10 months ago
9 likes

Let's think of this another way: what if a health secretary said that patients with diabetes aren't real patients? Or if an education secretary said that people taking A-level french weren't real pupils? Or if a housing minister  said that people who lived in terraced houses weren't real households? 

 

They would be forced to resign.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1842 posts] 10 months ago
19 likes
jasecd wrote:

This guy is a fucking joke.

Exactly what you expect from a Tory government: Grayling is to transport what Hunt is to healthcare or Johnson to foreign affairs - completely unsuited to the job and full of prejudices that will ultimately damage society.

 

 

As much as it would simplify everything if it were only Tories...

Was it not a Labour member of the transport committee who recently declared that cycle lanes 'cause congestion'? And then there are Kate 'cyclists get in my way' Hoey and Dave 'cyclists are the wealthy elite' Hill...

Though it was another Tory, I think, who suggested removing zebra-crossings to 'ease traffic flow'.

Oh, and not to forget the RMT (presumably Labour-supporting) and their belief that cycling is something you only do out of 'desperation'.

There's just a cross-party political lobby for idiocy, unfortunately.

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burtthebike [1183 posts] 10 months ago
7 likes

And, not entirely off topic, here's that nice Mr Grayling announcing a new tunnel near Stonehenge, a snip at £1.4bn.  How many times the entire budget for walking and cycling is that?

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/1-4-billion-stonehenge-tunnel-could-help-cu...

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handlebarcam [1054 posts] 10 months ago
17 likes

I've said before that he looks like the product of a hideous Tory genetics programme to produce a hybrid of Iain Duncan Smith and a baked potato. But now I realise that's impossible, because surely a potato would increase the IQ of the progeny. He's the sort of dribbling moron who thinks Britain will be better off begging for a deal from Trump's America than being a partner in a cooperative community of fellow European states, even if it has to be at one remove like Norway or Switzerland. Maybe he's already been told London's bike lanes will have to be torn up to provide ZiL lanes for visiting plutocrats here to negotiate the dismantling of workers' rights, pollution exemptions for multinationals, and privatisation of the NHS?

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Yorkshire wallet [1502 posts] 10 months ago
12 likes

Yes the Tories, damn them. I remember a happier time, a simpler time when cyclists rode under a labour government and all was well....

And then I woke up and realised they all are pigs in a trough of public funds. 

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captain_slog [414 posts] 10 months ago
8 likes
Quote:

“Where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes.

“And there’s a road alongside – the motorists are the road users, the users of the road.

“It’s fairly straightforward to be honest.”

So what about a cyclist who uses the road instead of the cycle lane, as is their right? Are they a motorist? A non-cyclist? Does the presence of the cycle lane cause them problems? I think I need a Venn diagram.

This is post-truth: not lies, but people spouting total nonsense which they know no one they care about will be inclined to challenge.

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riotgibbon [231 posts] 10 months ago
8 likes

just gone and looked this up, because I thought I was missing something:

https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2017-01-12/debates/9B003975-7C56-4...

Hansard wrote:

Daniel Zeichner

I thank the Secretary of State; let us hope that we are well prepared. Taking him back to the time just before Christmas, given that soon after his visit to Cambridge he told the Evening Standard that cycle lanes cause problems for road users, will he clarify exactly who he thinks road users are? While he is thinking about cyclists—a helpful clue—could he explain why it is taking such an extraordinarily long time to produce a cycling and walking investment strategy?

Chris Grayling

Cyclists use cycle lanes, and motorists and other road users use the roads alongside them. That is fairly straightforward, to be honest. If the hon. Gentleman is eagerly anticipating our cycling and walking strategy, he does not have long to wait.

 

so, if you actually read what he says, he thinks that there are cycle lanes beside roads. if we were living the Netherlands, he would have a point.  He genuinely seems to think that cyclists have this whole alternate transport system, from what he says there

but no, I've tried to be reasonable. He's not saying that cyclists aren't road users, just that we don't need to be because we've got an alternative. Still doesn't really reflect any reality I know, not in this country, anyway ....

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Awavey [345 posts] 10 months ago
5 likes
thx1138 wrote:
jasecd wrote:

This guy is a fucking joke.

Exactly what you expect from a Tory government: Grayling is to transport what Hunt is to healthcare or Johnson to foreign affairs - completely unsuited to the job and full of prejudices that will ultimately damage society.

It's a continuing example of politicians being given jobs they have absolutley no experience for and are completley unqualified to do. 

tbf they dont need to have experience or qualifications related to do their job, their job is just to speak to the press and occasionally stand up in the Commons and announce stuff, theyve got a whole department of civil servants working doing all the clever expert stuff for them, they just dont have to be blithering idiots...er oh cool

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IanW1968 [342 posts] 10 months ago
4 likes

At some point being a politician became about appealing to prejudice and bigotry. 

So facts dont matter and you'll go mad looking for the logic in what happens around you. 

I suspect its actually a result of the long slow zombification of great swaves the human race. 

Our only hope is equal opportunity for all kids. 

God bless us all. 

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Sniffer [440 posts] 10 months ago
7 likes

Any time I worry about Scottish politicians a Grayling comes along and I remember that devolution is a wonderful thing.

 

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riotgibbon [231 posts] 10 months ago
3 likes

and if you want to look into their eyes the whole time:

 

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/c229fd92-c029-49de-b7e0-a16d742...

and zip along to 10:24, the menu on the right will let you jump to the question

 

God, I've actually just watched it. It's some pretty passive-aggressive questioning from Zeichner, but Christ, I've never actually watched Grayling in action. To be fair to him, he does actually say "where there are cycle lanes. ...", then he launches into his smug ignorance, a living embodiment of the  Dunning–Kruger effect 

it's worth watching, just for the appreciative mocking guffaws

he really is a first class twat

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ianrobo [1213 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

well it is the arrogance of knowing no real opposition. Can say and get away with anything, we are on our own, the Labour Party wont help us and we have to band together like stopping the insurance limit of 5K.

 

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cczmark [21 posts] 10 months ago
4 likes

Perhaps someone should explain to Mr Grayling that a road is a public highway i.e. a route over which the public has right of way (regardless of the type of conveyance).

At the same time he could be reminded that the cost of vehicle accidents is approx £34Bn (2012 figures - £15Bn reported plus balance unreported) which coincidentally is roughly the same amount raised in total from VED and fuel duty (2009 figures - £32Bn).

Conclusion - car drivers don't pay for the roads (and arguably pay much less than the real costs of motoring from pollution, traffic congestion etc)

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Jitensha Oni [92 posts] 10 months ago
5 likes

Question for him. Are buses and taxis in the reserved space of bus lanes road users?

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gnarlyrider [28 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

Anyone up for setting up a government petition to call for his removal to be debated in the house? 

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/check

You just need 5 supporters to second your petition 

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Roberts Clubman [16 posts] 10 months ago
3 likes

Grayling clearly not a brain user! Even his own side think he's unfit to be a minister https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2350810/chris-grayling-urged-to-resign-aft...  

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Simon E [3121 posts] 10 months ago
6 likes

The guy is an utter imbecile!

From the Local Government Act 1888:

//pbs.twimg.com/media/C1-n8IGWgAE_701.jpg)

https://twitter.com/WeAreCyclingUK/status/819566022298628096

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SHAUNAM [19 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
jasecd wrote:

This guy is a fucking joke.

Exactly what you expect from a Tory government: Grayling is to transport what Hunt is to healthcare or Johnson to foreign affairs - completely unsuited to the job and full of prejudices that will ultimately damage society.

 

 

Completely Agree! 

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jimbo2112 [87 posts] 10 months ago
5 likes

Hopeless... no chance of getting any progress with this kind of idiot at the helm...

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barbarus [496 posts] 10 months ago
7 likes

Many MPs and councillors work incredibly hard -I don't buy this "all politicians are corrupt" line, it's not good for society. I wouldn't want my profession slagged off in such general terms.

However, there's a certain class of career politician, and yes, more of them are conservative, who come from a privileged background and have very little connection with reality.

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Bob Wheeler CX [104 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

The cyclist he knocked down shook his hand, wtf?

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Ush [1003 posts] 10 months ago
4 likes
captain_slog wrote:
Quote:

“Where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes.

“And there’s a road alongside – the motorists are the road users, the users of the road.

“It’s fairly straightforward to be honest.”

So what about a cyclist who uses the road instead of the cycle lane, as is their right? Are they a motorist? A non-cyclist? Does the presence of the cycle lane cause them problems? I think I need a Venn diagram.

This is post-truth: not lies, but people spouting total nonsense which they know no one they care about will be inclined to challenge.

That's what I do whenever the cycle lane seems dangerous to me.  And I can tell you what a lot of other people say about me, many of them cyclists..  you won't like it.

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Ush [1003 posts] 10 months ago
4 likes
riotgibbon wrote:

so, if you actually read what he says, he thinks that there are cycle lanes beside roads.

 

If you had listened to anyone besides other cyclists that love "facilities" you'd understand that this lesson  is exactly what the majority has taken as the lesson from the provision of said shit facilities.  

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davel [1862 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes
Ush wrote:
riotgibbon wrote:

so, if you actually read what he says, he thinks that there are cycle lanes beside roads.

 

If you had listened to anyone besides other cyclists that love "facilities" you'd understand that this lesson  is exactly what the majority has taken as the lesson from the provision of said shit facilities.  

Yes.

As for the slimy twat's disingenuous overstatement of those facilities in his non-answer to the question: he knows only too well about cycling lanes, paths and lack thereof and cyclists being in the road, having doored one in the road a few months ago.

There is a kind of arrogance that ignorance about a topic breeds - ie. you don't know how complex a topic is, and how little you know about it, until you start studying it. Grayling, along with Hunt, Gove and others, appear to have no desire to get to grips with the areas that they were made ministers of. And why would they? They might be shuffled in a year or so, and how can you become an expert in something as complex as transport or health or education in that time, while still trying to function as a MP? It's the system that's at fault there, allowing completely unqualified ministers. Who do they have advising them? Sycophantic aides who've never worked and aspire to be one of them.

That cuts across all political parties. I think the Tories still have a monopoly on their particular brand of entitlement, though, which, when combined with the arrogance and ignorance, really damages public confidence in any of them knowing their arse from their fucking elbow.

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Alessandro [155 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

Suggest that we all take the opportunity to fill his inbox with our thoughts: chris.grayling.mp [at] parliament.uk

 

Might not do much but if he (or his secretary) has to trawl through 100s of emails from angry cyclists then maybe, just maybe, he'll start to understand the issue. 

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