The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has become the latest prominent figure to voice criticism of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling regarding his recent comment that 'cyclists are not road users'. David Jamieson – a former transport and road safety minister – said that there was “no place for attitudes such as Mr Grayling's.”
Grayling was this week asked in Parliament to clarify remarks he made in a recent interview in which he was quoted as saying that “cycle lanes cause problems for road users.”
Grayling answered: "Where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes and the road users are the users of the road. It's very simple."
Campaigners were quick to round on his comments. Chris Boardman summed up many people’s feelings saying: “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?”
Jamieson, who was attending a cycling forum to discuss road safety, cycling initiatives and West Midlands Police's 'close pass' scheme, was of a similar mind.
"Mr Grayling's comment was ill-informed and undermines the mutual respect all road users should have for each other to ensure our roads are safe.
"There is no place for attitudes such as Mr Grayling's, who has, in one clumsy comment, disregarded the safety of the millions of cyclists who regularly use our roads."
West Midlands Police was the first force in the country to proactively target ‘close pass’ drivers who endanger riders. The operation involves police cyclists radioing details of close-passing drivers to in-car colleagues who then intercept them.
The force has reported a 50 per cent drop in poor overtaking since they launched the operation last year.