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Dominic Cummings' wife accused of hypocrisy over anti-LTN 'war on cars' Spectator column; Parents of man killed in hit-and-run call for change; Every pub on June 21; 'Road tax' whinging; Bike theft victim's happy ending + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs...
04 March 2021, 12:26
Dominic Cummings' wife accused of hypocrisy over Spectator column slamming 'war on cars' and LTNs

You may remember not so long ago Dominic Cummings was fielding questions about why, in the middle of a pandemic and national lockdown, he'd driven to the other end of the country with his wife, Mary Wakefield. Bicycle Mayor of Coventry, Adam Tranter has suggested that just enough time has elapsed for The Spectator journalist and wife of the PM's former Chief Adviser, to talk about essential car journeys again...

Mary Wakefield's column this morning slams "the war on cars", saying LTNs aren't fair and disadvantage the less well off, while also being "terrific if you want to get on with selling cocaine." Jon Burke was quick to point out that Wakefield lives in an LTN that has been in place since 1974.

The column comes just two days after research into recently installed low traffic neighbourhoods in London showed the schemes aren't implemented primarily in wealthier areas. In fact, according to the Census and other data, people living in the most deprived areas of Greater London were found to be nearly three times more likely to live in a new LTN than residents of the capital's least deprived areas.

04 March 2021, 17:10
Tokyo Olympics can still be a success without fans, says Sir Chris Hoy
Chris Hoy in the post-Olympic parade in Glasgow (CC licensed image by William Newman:Flickr)

Sir Chris Hoy believes the Toky Olympics can still be a success even without the huge crowds that normally flock to events. The six-time gold medallist told Sky Sports that athletes will want to make the most of the opportunity, regardless of how many fans are there. 

"There's no question it's going to be the same experience without crowds but ultimately in the heat of the moment, they'll just be focused on their own performance and just the opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games. Having spoken to a few of the cyclists, they're just committing 100 per cent as if it was going ahead and it was business as usual and that's all you can do.

"You can't have even the slightest thought that it might not take place or that training might be for nothing or it's a wasted effort. They won't be thinking that."

In January, Team GB's preparations were criticised after British Cycling hosted a 90-rider track meet at Manchester Velodrome.

04 March 2021, 16:00
Some Thursday weirdness...
04 March 2021, 15:39
Miguel Ángel López considered walking away from the sport due to the pressure and sacrifices required to be a team leader
Miguel Angel Lopez on his way to winning Stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France (picture credit Alex Whitehead SWpix.com)

Movistar's new signing Miguel Ángel López says considered his future in cycling because of the stress and pressure that comes with being a leader of a team at the highest level of the sport. López is yet to make his debut for his new team and hasn't raced since his crash during the opening time trial of the Giro d'Italia last year. He said he had sympathy for a rider like Tom Dumoulin, who has taken an indefinite break from competition.

López told El Tiempo he could empathise with Dumoulin's situation. "Cycling is complicated and you start to think like Tom Dumoulin," he said. "To be honest, I have thought about leaving it and taking a step aside, because there are complex situations. The pressure, the sacrifice, the fatigue, the injuries are complicated. When you are a leader you are responsible for an entire team, but there are moments of despair and sometimes you think with hot blood. It is important to be well surrounded. Your family puts you back on the ground."

The Colombian is expected to return to the startline at Itzulia Basque County next month, before a mountainous path back to the Tour de France, where he won a memorable stage last year (pictured above). The 27-year-old will race the Tour of the Alps and Tour de Romandie before the Tour and will likely take in a second Grand Tour of the year at the Vuelta in August.

04 March 2021, 14:26
Every pub on June 21st...
04 March 2021, 14:52
Parents of a man killed when hit by a driver who fled the scene call for a change to the definition of 'death by dangerous driving'

A couple from Cornwall told Cornwall Live of their hope that the law for hit-and-run offenders can be changed to mean an automatic custodial sentence which cannot be suspended. Helen and Mark Saltern's son Ryan was killed while making his way to a party after being hit by Wayne Shilling on the B3267, who then fled the scene. The BBC reports that in court Shilling claimed he had not realised he had hit anyone, despite the collision puncturing his car's radiator. The court also heard that the driver had been drinking.

Shilling pleaded guilty to failing to report an accident and received a four-month jail sentence, suspended for a year. He was also disqualified from driving for 12 months, given an evening curfew for four months and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £207 and prosecution costs. Helen and Mark said they were devastated by the outcome but it was expected due to the options available to the magistrates. They are campaigning to change the law to give hit-and-run offenders custodial sentences which cannot be suspended. 

"Our justice system is failing in many ways. At present if you hit, and kill someone and are found to be over the limit you could face 14 years in prison. However, if you hit and kill someone but carry on, wait long enough to be free of drink or drugs then the maximum you face is 6 months. How does this deter people from behaving in such a cowardly, selfish manner? The sentence given today is a mockery of justice and has to be changed," the couple said in a statement.

The Ryan's Law petition has 7,000 signatures and can be viewed here...

04 March 2021, 13:59
Body Rocket now available to pre-order
2021 Body Rocket

Want wind tunnel accurate data without the wind tunnel? Body Rocket's system offers cyclists real-time drag measurements via a three-part sensor that hopes to bring aerodynamic measurement to the masses. It's now available to pre-order, for more details check out our in-depth look at why it could be the next big technology game-changer to hit the world of cycling...

04 March 2021, 13:49
Let us know your e-bike stories
E-bike (Transport Scotland)

We've got a new series on our sister site e-bike tips taking a closer look at the people and businesses that have made the switch to using electric vehicles. First up is Farr Out Deliveries in Edinburgh who offer a worker-owned e-cargo bike service, and set up their business during the first lockdown last spring aiming to provide a genuine, sustainable alternative to deliveries made by van. Check it out and let us know your own tales...Has your business switched to electric vehicles? Has your e-bike cut out your need for a car? Have you used N+1 to add an e-bike to your own two-wheeled collection?

04 March 2021, 11:02
Traffic cops confirming riding two abreast is legal and safe leads to 'road tax' whinging

Road Policing Scotland took to Twitter to explain to motorists that cycling two abreast is both legal and safer for everyone involved. They linked a video featuring Chris Boardman which explains how riding single file can often make it harder for drivers to pass. Single file means a longer line of cyclists for a driver to overtake. If you're on this site you probably don't need me to explain that...

However, not everyone saw the point of the educational video and instead took the opportunity to give the tired road tax comments another outing...

At least there was a small peloton of people waiting to respond...

04 March 2021, 10:48
Tour of Poland scraps dangerous finish where Fabio Jakobsen crashed
Fabio Jakobsen crash at 2020 Tour de Pologne (picture credit ilario Biondi/LB/RB/CorVos/SWpix.com).JPG

The Tour of Poland organisers have scrapped the finish in Katowice where Fabio Jakobsen crashed last year. Riders and fans criticised the race organisers and the UCI for allowing the fast downhill sprint, where speeds often exceed 80km/h. Feltet.dk reports that the organisers have listened to the criticism and won't return to that particular finish again. In the crash on the opening stage of last year's race, Jakobsen was nudged into the barriers by fellow Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen. The Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider was left in a medically-induced coma with extensive injuries and has not raced since.

The incident also led to questions being asked about the standard of barriers at the event, with the UCI bringing forward plans during the off-season to standardise race barriers.

04 March 2021, 08:45
Police surprise boy with new bike after his was stolen

Top work by Dudley Police and a local bike shop to gift a 15-year-old with a replacement bike after his previous one was stolen. PC Andy Peters went out of his way to find a bike being kept at Brierley Hill police station that had been recovered, donated or seized, and got it fixed up ready for Daniel to use. Cycles4U owner Steve Jones carried out all the work for free and they surprised Daniel with the gift at the bike shop last week.

The 15-year-old took up cycling last year, during the pandemic, to keep fit and had the idea of cycling to local football stadiums. However, he had his bike stolen by a man who approached him in Buffery Park which made him anxious about going out. Officers say the negative impact the incident had on the teenager made them keen to help him out. 

PC Peters said: "From what I have seen, Daniel is a caring and hard-working boy who has had his confidence knocked by what happened to him. I was determined to help in some way and show them that despite the negative situation, something positive can come out of it. Dudley is an amazing town with some truly wonderful people and I cannot thank Steve enough for rallying to help. We also used money raised by officers and staff to purchase Daniel new lights and a bike lock to keep him safe when he’s back out touring the stadiums."

Well, that's a nice story to start Thursday with...

Dan joined road.cc as live blog editor last year. He has previously written about various sports including football and boxing for the Daily Express and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been a keen cyclist ever since and spends his weekends exploring the south of England on two wheels. 

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