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Jesse Norman expands on his controversial road safety review

E-bikes could be available with subsidies under policies being examined in an effort to get more people cycling.

Roads minister Jesse Norman told the Guardian that electric cargo bikes could be used to deliver packages, easing the gridlock caused by a boom in online shopping.

He said: “I think e-bikes and ebikes-plus are a really interesting potential way of handling that last mile or two of deliveries.”

He said his ambition was to “make the transition to a world where a 12-year-old can cycle safely”.

But he said there was no guarantee of more money for segregated cycle paths, and that the government was also looking into making helmets and high-vis clothing compulsory.

He assured cyclists that any decisions would be based on evidence.

Speaking about financial support for those buying e-bikes, Norman said: “We’ve done some work on that already, and I haven’t looked at the outcomes yet, and they might not be ready yet. There’s a case in principle.”

Norman said critics of the road safety review following the death of Kim Briggs, who was hit by an illegal cyclist, had “missed a wider point” that the safety review would also cover the danger posed to cyclists by drivers, including those “using cars in ways that are intentional and punitive”.

He added that the review would “ask very general questions and if the feedback is that we should consider that stuff, then we’ll look at it”.

He added: “Obviously there will be some people who feel very strongly that there should be hi-vis, and there will be plenty of people who think very strongly the other way. It’ll be the same with helmets. The literature on risk is quite a well developed one, I don’t need to tell you.”

He said: “It’s not just, if I may say so, the actions of a government which is supportive of cycling, it’s also the actions of a government that understands that the whole nature of the way in which we use the roads, and the way we think about cities, is going to change dramatically over the next decade or two, and possibly earlier. We need to be fully abreast of that.”

Earlier this month we reported how Norman was forced to defend himself from accusations of being anti-cyclist.

He said: “To be clear: I am a keen cyclist myself, and I am absolutely aware of the number of cyclists killed and injured every year.

“The purpose of the review is to make our roads safer for all users, and the safety of cyclists will be a key element of that.”

He added: “As I made clear, the review will address two key issues. The first is legal: whether the law is defective in the case of bodily harm or death from a cyclist, and specifically whether, as the rule of law demands, there is an adequate remedy here. Our aim is to complete this work early in the new year.”

“The second issue is broader: how to make the roads safer for all users. After the legal review there will be a public consultation, and road user groups and the general public will be invited to submit their views and evidence then.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

39 comments

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nappe [77 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

What would be a legal definition of hiviz?

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bendertherobot [1484 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
nappe wrote:

What would be a legal definition of hiviz?

Whatever the appropriate legislation defines it as.

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antigee [454 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

after review of the facts.......to encourage drivers to obey the current adequate laws we will make cycling more inconvenient by introducing mandatory helmet and high viz  laws.....this will of course encourage respect for cyclists  and remove the danger element of cycling for 12 year olds and won't be seen as war on motorists...more like making it a level playing field...etc etc etc - thats were my money is

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IanEdward [134 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Singletrackworld published a really interesting opinion piece on this topic:

 

http://singletrackworld.com/2017/09/the-law-will-be-fixed/

 

It seems a tiny bit far fetched and paranoid, but not out of the realms of possibility. Mandatory hi-viz and helmets to make it easier to introduce self driving vehicles to the roads, rather than spending more money to make the vehicles safer?

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neilmitchuk [13 posts] 3 months ago
10 likes

I hate this government so much, look to Australia for the results of a compulsory helmet law.

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Ricothedog [1 post] 3 months ago
1 like

Change is needed to encourage more cyclists to use the road and so all topics should be open for discussion. Being included in a road strategy is far better than being pushed to one side because we don't want to be part of the process.

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turnerjohn [48 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

the hi viz part is nonsense , whilst yes 'ninja' cyclists aren't obvious to see I've been hit twice by turning traffic whilst highly visible clothing and lit up brighter than a Christmas tree !

whilst I see the merits of helmets (wear one every time) I'm most certainly not going to be wearing a hi viz jacket on a chain gang (or any other ride with effort involved come to that !)

Jesse whilst coming up with ideas gives no realistic thought to them....typical politician !

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pjm60 [30 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
IanEdward wrote:

Singletrackworld published a really interesting opinion piece on this topic:

 

http://singletrackworld.com/2017/09/the-law-will-be-fixed/

 

It seems a tiny bit far fetched and paranoid, but not out of the realms of possibility. Mandatory hi-viz and helmets to make it easier to introduce self driving vehicles to the roads, rather than spending more money to make the vehicles safer?

 

I think this gives our friend Mr Norman's planning skills too much credit

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frogg [129 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

@IanEdward "self driving vehicles " : that's where the big big big money is, and quite "naturally" the law will just follow ; beware because we are just an inconvenience for those vehicles (we are already) , and will be relegated to the mandatory ... cycle path.

 

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alotronic [535 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes

'He assured cyclists that any decisions would be based on evidence.'

You just know that's a prelude to massively biased politically motivated knee-jerk legistlation. 

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Argos74 [462 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Bring it.

//i.imgflip.com/1ix9nx.jpg)

Bez's op-ed piece is well thought out, and a long way from tinfoil hat territory. Not saying I agree with all of it, mind. He's looking astutely 2-3 steps ahead into a potential nightmare scenario 10 -15 years away. My thinking would be that the spectre of the demise of economic oil will throw an entire set of spanners into the works by the time this comes to pass. And I have very little idea how that will turn out.

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BehindTheBikesheds [1154 posts] 3 months ago
11 likes

Aside from the bollocks on hi-vis/helmets (over my dead body), the failure to understand that keeping people in private motor vehicles even if automated does not solve the bigger problems.

If he wants better safety install cameras as std in all motors, add a black box that records every speeding infraction or better yet curtail speed automatically via a gps/speed restrictor which recognises speed limits, reduce speed limits and remove those that simply should never be even partly in control of a killing machine.
Attacking a rape victim for choice of clothing would be abhorrent, why is it that people on bikes are fair game to attack/restrict as opposed to those causing the harm.

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Simon E [3180 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

If those expenses-slurping, self-aggrandising stuffed shirts ever pass a compulsory helmet law then god help them.

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barbarus [514 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Yes to subsidised e bikes. But you'll never force me to wear yellow.

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barbarus [514 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Aside from the bollocks on hi-vis/helmets (over my dead body), the failure to understand that keeping people in private motor vehicles even if automated does not solve the bigger problems.

If he wants better safety install cameras as std in all motors, add a black box that records every speeding infraction or better yet curtail speed automatically via a gps/speed restrictor which recognises speed limits, reduce speed limits and remove those that simply should never be even partly in control of a killing machine.
Attacking a rape victim for choice of clothing would be abhorrent, why is it that people on bikes are fair game to attack/restrict as opposed to those causing the harm.

Don't always agree with you but this is 100% spot on. My brother in law designs chips for smartphones, his theory is that people want self driving cars so that they can avoid paying to park at work. Drive to work, send the car home then summon it to collect you at the end of the day. Hey presto, journies quadrupled, rush hour twice as long.

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Rich_cb [530 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
barbarus wrote:

Don't always agree with you but this is 100% spot on. My brother in law designs chips for smartphones, his theory is that people want self driving cars so that they can avoid paying to park at work. Drive to work, send the car home then summon it to collect you at the end of the day. Hey presto, journies quadrupled, rush hour twice as long.

That assumes people continue to privately own cars.

I think self driving cars will lead to everyone using Uber type apps to get around and nobody except the very rich will ever own their own car.

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brooksby [2814 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

If helmets and hi-viz are compulsory, for our own safety of course, and we are forced to use cycle paths if there are any, but we are banned from anywhere there are pedestrians, then do we just exercise what legal rights we have left and ride on every single road we can in primary, stopping every time a pedestrian looks like they even might cross the road (you know, just in case)? Civil disobedience: stick it to the Man, y'all!

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burtthebike [1281 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Jesse Norman is clearly trying for damage limitation after the extraordinary gaffe of sending letters to cycling organisations to get the to tell their members to obey the law and pretending to be concerned about cyclists.  He's even going to a cycling conference as a key speaker:

"Cycling Innovations conference - 21 November, Kia Oval SE11

10.30 John Major Room 

Morning keynote: How local, regional and national government is driving innovation in active travel

Jesse Norman, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Department for Transport "

The chances of this gang of incurable petrolheads actually looking at the evidence, let alone making decisions based on it appears to be relatively unlikely.  Still, I suppose they've not supported any of the private members bills for mandatory helmets, so there is some hope.

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davel [2055 posts] 3 months ago
13 likes

He said his ambition was to “make the transition to a world where a 12-year-old can cycle safely".

I'd settle for the transition to a world where a 12-year-old isn't a transport minister.

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wycombewheeler [1246 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
barbarus wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Aside from the bollocks on hi-vis/helmets (over my dead body), the failure to understand that keeping people in private motor vehicles even if automated does not solve the bigger problems.

If he wants better safety install cameras as std in all motors, add a black box that records every speeding infraction or better yet curtail speed automatically via a gps/speed restrictor which recognises speed limits, reduce speed limits and remove those that simply should never be even partly in control of a killing machine.
Attacking a rape victim for choice of clothing would be abhorrent, why is it that people on bikes are fair game to attack/restrict as opposed to those causing the harm.

Don't always agree with you but this is 100% spot on. My brother in law designs chips for smartphones, his theory is that people want self driving cars so that they can avoid paying to park at work. Drive to work, send the car home then summon it to collect you at the end of the day. Hey presto, journies quadrupled, rush hour twice as long.

Journeys doubled but otherwise agree

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wycombewheeler [1246 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
neilmitchuk wrote:

I hate this government so much, look to Australia for the results of a compulsory helmet law.

Compulsory helmet law is not something I would do but it doesn't bother me too much most cyclist already wear. Would probably kill Boris bikes and similar. Certainly it is not the logical decision to make if you want to increase cycling.

Hi bus is a farce though unless they are quite specific about when if is needed. If I am not being seen in bright red then hi viz won't make z difference and it effectively means either wear an extra layer or throw away all your kit.

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SculturaD [36 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

No, the government is not making it compulsory, Jesse Norman is on a mission to make this happen, when in actual fact, it won't make the slightest bit of difference. Well not until he gets a higher standard if driving from motorist nationwide. Only then will the roads be safer.

Yeah Jesse Norman, High Viz is the answer as shown first hand by this cyclist.

https://youtu.be/evI4YVlF5dw

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ConcordeCX [567 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes
barbarus wrote:

Yes to subsidised e bikes. But you'll never force me to wear yellow.

Me neither. It would clash terribly with my purple helmet.

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Leviathan [2905 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Compulsory Hi Viz would make every cycle jersey and jacket I have ever bought illegal. Apart from having to buy multiple new jerseys including summer short sleeved jerseys (or wear a yellow bin bag in 30C,) it would also hammer UK kit manufacturers. The economic impact should kill this, but I don't trust this minister as far as a BMW could punt him.

And by the way, lets not diss yellow. I have a 1999 ONCE team jersey in yellow, it is my oldest piece of kit and it is yellow, just yellow.

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speculatrix [6 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Aside from the bollocks on hi-vis/helmets (over my dead body), the failure to understand that keeping people in private motor vehicles even if automated does not solve the bigger problems.

If he wants better safety install cameras as std in all motors, add a black box that records every speeding infraction or better yet curtail speed automatically via a gps/speed restrictor which recognises speed limits, reduce speed limits and remove those that simply should never be even partly in control of a killing machine.

Sure, don't wear a helmet and there's a higher chance of "over your dead body".
Sure, apply all those restrictions to cars, but also to bikes, fair's fair.

Avatar
davel [2055 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes
speculatrix wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Aside from the bollocks on hi-vis/helmets (over my dead body), the failure to understand that keeping people in private motor vehicles even if automated does not solve the bigger problems.

If he wants better safety install cameras as std in all motors, add a black box that records every speeding infraction or better yet curtail speed automatically via a gps/speed restrictor which recognises speed limits, reduce speed limits and remove those that simply should never be even partly in control of a killing machine.

Sure, don't wear a helmet and there's a higher chance of "over your dead body".
Sure, apply all those restrictions to cars, but also to bikes, fair's fair.

Next time, get a grown-up to help with your trolling.

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scrumpydave [23 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
Quote:

He said his ambition was to “make the transition to a world where a 12-year-old can cycle safely”.

Great. I'll enjoy explaining to my 3 cycling kids that the government will start to care about them in a few years. 

There's no reason why the roads can't be safe for them now. All it would take is for every driver on 20mph residential streets to think "there might be a kid cycling here" and drive accordingly (as they are supposed to).

But no - the government attitude to cycling is "you give a little, you get a little". Wear yellow/wear a lid/show a number plate/be 12 or above and we'll look out for you. It's nonsense.

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WillRod [251 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I’m amazed at how many ignorant motorists suggest cyclists need to wear high vis and use bike lights, but then complain that they saw a cyclist wearing black clothing with no lights.

If they can spot the cyclists not wearing high vis or using lights, surely cyclists don’t need them! 

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hawkinspeter [1212 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

If Hi-Viz becomes compulsory, then I'd expect for any driving excuses of "Sorry mate I didn't see you" to become null and void. The charges of careless and dangerous driving should then be stricken off and any traffic incidents involving the death of a cyclist should instead be treated as murder. After all, if Hi-Viz is compulsory, then seeing people in Hi-Viz must therefore be compulsory and hitting them in a car must therefore be intentional.

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Steve Cooper [14 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

With regards to Hi-VIz, most of my incidents have been side swiped from the right.  No amount of hi viz would help as there is no reflecting light source to illuminate me.

My last big crash was a someone not looking and changing lane (side swipe from the right obvs) - it was daylight and I was wearing a bright yellow running top (plus I'm quite fat so much more surface area for them to see!).   

 

Can't wait to see what the clarkson led transport secretary will come up with.   That said the chances of these muppets getting legislation passed in the current parliament is fairly miniscule - unless the DUP really hate cycling.

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