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Still militant, but former bête noire of Tories now runs cycle to work business

Derek Hatton, the Liverpool politician who shot to fame in the 1980s as a member of the Miltant group in the Labour Party, has criticised Liverpool council plans to remove bus lanes because the change could put cyclists at risk.

Mr Hatton is a director of cycle to work scheme provider Bike 2 Work Scheme, but is famous as the deputy leader of Liverpool Council during the Thatcher years.

Now a keen cyclist himself, he was talking to Marc Waddington of the Liverpool Daily Post about the city council’s decision to approve a nine-month trial suspension of Liverpool’s bus lanes.

He said: “One of the biggest concerns we hear from employers on Merseyside is cyclists’ safety.

“This decision is going to do absolutely nothing for their safety.

“Evidence has come out of London that shows it’s not buses but lorries and cars that cause the biggest problems.

“Bikes are safe in bus lanes because they’re nowhere near lorries.

“All the evidence will show that this is a retrograde step.”

Council cabinet member for transport Tim Moore claimed the city was looking out for cyclists. He said: “The city is doing a number of things, investing in cycle lanes and cycle infrastructure.”

But Mr Hatton said he does not believe cyclists are a priority. “Here’s somewhere that’s already safe for cyclists and he’s getting rid of them,” he said.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said that bus use was declining and the bus lanes were increasing congestion. Scrapping the lanes would cost the city £700,000 in fines, but “was the right thing to do”.

He said: “We’ve monitored them for six months and they’re going to be monitored for another nine months and if at the end of the review people say they need to be reinstated we’ll do that.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

5 comments

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kitkat [338 posts] 2 years ago
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Surely they should be looking at why bus use is decreasing not just encouraging more cars in to the city. While other cities are thinking about a less car-centric approach Liverpool wants to bring more in. Go figure!

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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kitkat wrote:

While other cities are thinking about a less car-centric approach Liverpool wants to bring more in. Go figure!

They're after a fresh supply of hubcaps.

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mrmo [2064 posts] 2 years ago
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So bus use is declining, one of the advantages of bus lanes is that they make buses quicker.

Remove the bus lanes, buses are now general traffic and are slower because they have to wait for traffic rather than having clear routes to use. Then the buses cause congestion by pulling in and out of stops.

So the bus is slower than the car, so you drive!!!

What stupid logic.

So where are all the extra cars going to park?

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WolfieSmith [1314 posts] 2 years ago
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Don't get me started on my adopted home city. The 20 stone mayor has accepted £2.5m worth of Boris bikes for a mainly pedestrianised city centre that takes 15 minutes to walk across as a response to an increase of 20% of cyclists trying to struggle in each day along busy trunk roads and piss poor cycle routes.

Local councillors are starting to respond though and with their help we are going to be strong arming Peel Holdings to develop a dedicated northern cycle route and encourage Liverpool and Sefton councils to literally use joined up thinking for Liverpool as a whole. With no real hills to speak of and with a drier climate than Manchester, on paper Liverpool is the perfect Uk cycle city for cycling and it would take very little clever planning to make it the best cycle city in the UK.

It's good Degsy's weighed in as Moore and his friends haven't a scooby. They are still commissioning Q&A's for locals, who don't cycle, asking them whether they'd like a cycle path outside their house? And funnelling cash into Bike-ability training rather than knuckling down and talking to real cycle commuters. Riding a bike is easy. Riding next to lorries isn't.

If it wasn't for Manchester flaunting Vicky Pendleton on city ride PR junkets Liverpool decision makers wouldn't be giving a monkeys. They can't bear Manchester showing off and we're counting on simple pathetic vanity to see some results.

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paulrbarnard [182 posts] 2 years ago
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Liverpool council need to read this http://daily.sightline.org/2013/08/28/parking-karma/