Family of Dan Harris call for blame game to end

Tell pro-cycling groups that his death should not be used for political point-scoring

by Sarah Barth   August 5, 2012  

Dan Harris - pic courtesy of Metropolitan Police

The family of a cyclist killed by the Olympic Park by a bus carrying members of the media have called upon cycle campaigners not to exploit his death for political point-scoring.

Dan Harris died on Wednesday when he was hit by a coach in East London, leading to widespread discussion about the safety of roads for cyclists in the capital, especially as it came at the height of Olympic successes for British athletes.

When asked about it, Bradley Wiggins called for helmets to be made compulsory by law, and even John Humphrys had his say.

But in a statement released via the Metropolitan police, Mr Harris's family said: "Our family do not want Daniel's name associated with any protests, or used for any political point-scoring whatsoever by pro-cycling lobbyists or similar factions.

"Everyone who knew Dan loved him for his sense of humour, fun and adventure,' they said.

"He was an experienced cyclist and we want it to be known that he was wearing a helmet.

"He wasn't just cycling because of the high profile it has received because of the Olympics, he was just going backwards and forwards to work as he always did.

"In the past he has cycled across Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and back.'

“We as a family would like to thank everyone for their kind words of support over our tragic and devastating loss of a wonderful son and boyfriend,” their statement said.

“This is for all the friends and strangers who have said some truly beautiful things about our boy."

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of Mr Harris’s death as multiple injuries. The bus driver, a 65-year-old man, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and has been questioned by police. He has been bailed to return to an east London police station late this month.

 

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I can certainly relate to the family's concerns - it is distressing enough without being dragged into a mire of controversy - but this could have happened to anyone, and sadly will likely happen again to someone, so campaigners (NOT "lobbyists" - those are the behind-the-scenes influencers paid by big business, not the unfunded public campaigners) may well cite this terrible event as symptomatic of the problems they are trying to address.

And I haven't noticed that pro-helmet lobbies like Headway have been any too fastidious in using the incident for their own ends, despite the presence - and irrelevance - of a helmet.

posted by Paul M [304 posts]
6th August 2012 - 15:18

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The helmet/no helmet 'Debate' is raised whenever a cyclist is killed, just as Climate Change becomes a 'Debate' whenever a lobby requires the oil industry to do anything concrete about the scientifically agreed facts. It acts as a distraction from positive action.
Those who advocate helmets are NOT the ones whose lives are at risk by the lack of control of petrol-powered vehicles.
It's unsurprising that - in a world in which the car lobby (Both those businesses with money to make and those who have only ever driven a car) has such say, any request for laws to safeguard the cyclist will be ignored - the more cyclists on the road, the less money and power that lobby will enjoy.
Helmets, on the other hand, don't inconvenience the car lobby an iota, drag the focus entirely to the cyclist as 'Being reckless' and makes a little money on the side.
A situation in which the aggressor blames the victim for 'not taking enough defense against me hurting/killing you' is not a fair one - particularly as we all know how ineffective ineffective a lump of polystyrene on your head is when run over by a lorry/bus.
Only two days before the killing of Dan Harris, the 'Critical mass' cycle campaign for safer cycling was banned for disrupting the O£ympics. It is plain that those in power of both the roads and the Olympics do not regard cycle safety as an issue. For them, cycling is a sport, practiced in lycra and helmet and only on a specialised track far away from 'Proper traffic'. On a cycletrack, there's no chance of meeting a bus and yet, the myth of 'helmet safety' is perpetuated as the entrants must all wear helmets.
That Dan Harris was wearing a helmet anyhow - thus proving that these things are almost always useless - has been ignored by every paper and TV service. The 'Safety' issue is entirely redundant. This is about Distraction from Safety.
That the killing of Dan Harris by a supposedly 'professional' driver has been turned into blaming cyclists for their own deaths is as obscene as blaming women who are raped because they wore makeup or did not dress 'modestly' - and then calling it 'Protecting women from harm'.

posted by Phytoramediant [23 posts]
6th August 2012 - 16:09

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