Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Tory activist criticised for “anti-cyclist” and “jingoistic” opposition to new roundabout

Olly Scargill published a leaflet opposing North Tyneside Council’s plans to construct a Dutch-style roundabout at Rake Lane

A Conservative campaigner has been criticised for promoting “anti-cyclist” and “jingoistic” sentiments after he published a leaflet opposing the construction of what he termed a “European-style” roundabout at Rake Lane, North Tyneside.

Olly Scargill, who based his campaign for election to the South Jesmond ward last year on climate change and reducing pollution levels in the area, claimed that the Labour-controlled council planned to use Rake Lane “as a guinea pig for a European-style roundabout, which would give priority to cyclists.”

To illustrate his point Scargill’s leaflet featured an image of what appears to be Cambridge’s Fendon Road roundabout, which opened in 2020, with the flag of the European Union photoshopped in the middle.

The roundabout at Rake Lane will be the north-east’s first Dutch-style roundabout and forms part of North Tyneside Council’s wider plan to improve the area’s cycle network, including 14km of new bike routes across the borough.

With a cycle path running around the outside and zebra crossings at each exit, the roundabout prioritises cyclists and pedestrians over motorists.

> Work starts on UK's first truly Dutch-style roundabout next month

The roundabout also adheres to the Conservative government’s design guidance for cycle infrastructure, which states that “roundabouts with higher traffic flows and speeds should have protected space for cycling, both around the junction and on all approaches and exits, so that cyclists do not need to cycle in mixed traffic.”

Scargill, however, doesn’t seem aware of his own party’s policy. His leaflet reads: “I’m shocked by how little consultation has taken place on such a major proposal, which would mean vehicles would be forced to give way to both cyclists and pedestrians as they enter and exit the roundabout.

“These roundabouts have been trialled elsewhere in the country, resulting in driver confusion and collisions. Residents have called the roundabout a ‘killing zone’.

“Concerns have also been raised that the roundabout will make congestion worse, especially as development begins with Labour’s 3,000 new houses.”

Unsurprisingly, Scargill’s campaign to halt construction on the roundabout was met with a flurry of criticism.

“This is shameless stuff,” said Alison Stenning on Twitter. “Peddling misinformation, provoking anti-cyclist sentiments and jingoistic anti-European nonsense and, what's more, going against Tory national policies in support of active travel.”

Another Twitter user wrote: “Apart from the fact that this type of design can be found in English design guidance and in turn is based on sound evidence, the jingoism makes it harder for everyone involved in trying to make streets safer. Utterly bizarre.”

Some, of course, saw the funny side: Jonathan tweeted that Scargill’s leaflet was the “EU and cycling anti-fandoms crossover event of the century”, while Harry was inspired to start a petition “to paint the EU flag on the centre of Dutch roundabout in Cambridge.”

Road.cc contacted Scargill today to question his opposition to a scheme seemingly in line with government guidance.

“I entirely endorse the government's active travel agenda. However this proposed site on Rake Lane is unsuitable and unnecessary”, he told road.cc. “The Council's plans for 3,000 new houses to be built on green space adjacent to the roundabout will increase traffic and congestion on this site. Residents have raised issues of safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists around the proposed new structure.

“We are lucky in North Tyneside and have a beautiful area to cycle through. But the Council's cycling strategy should instead focus on connecting towns by bringing disused wagon ways up to scratch, rather than making our roads more dangerous than they already are.”

When asked by road.cc about the online criticism of his leaflet, the activist responded: “The use of the EU flag was to demonstrate the origins of the style of roundabout, which is not common in the UK.

“I am deeply saddened that what should have been an open discussion about proposals for a roundabout in our local community has become so vitriolic and personal.

“As a cyclist myself, I know how important it is to feel safe when using the roads. However, this specific proposal is unsuitable and I will continue to listen to residents and do everything I can to stop it going ahead.”

Construction on the Rake Lane roundabout begins this week.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment

45 comments

Avatar
planetjanet | 2 years ago
2 likes

If we wanted to read Tory bashing or whining about the EU, we'd just read the Guardian. Can Road CC staff leave their political frustrations in the bike shed please? 

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to planetjanet | 2 years ago
5 likes
planetjanet wrote:

If we wanted to read Tory bashing or whining about the EU, we'd just read the Guardian. Can Road CC staff leave their political frustrations in the bike shed please? 

To be fair, Olly Scargill was the one trying to politicise the new roundabout. Personally, I don't think that road safety and active travel should be considered in terms of left-right politics.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to planetjanet | 2 years ago
7 likes
planetjanet wrote:

If we wanted to read Tory bashing or whining about the EU, we'd just read the Guardian. Can Road CC staff leave their political frustrations in the bike shed please? 

Road.cc is reporting on a cycling-related matter, i.e. a Tory councillor objecting to a cycle-friendly roundabout and trying to leverage anti-EU sentiment to stir up opposition to it. The reporting is in fact rather even-handed, giving the councillor a full and lengthy right of reply. There's no need for any "Tory bashing", given the councillor's stunning ability to make himself sound a complete arse without any need for further assistance. There is no whining about the EU apart from that coming from the councillor himself who appears to think they're still in some underhand dastardly foreign manner influencing our roundabouts from afar. Sounds like the political frustrations are yours, not the RCC staff's.

Avatar
GMBasix replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
5 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
planetjanet wrote:

If we wanted to read Tory bashing or whining about the EU, we'd just read the Guardian. Can Road CC staff leave their political frustrations in the bike shed please? 

Road.cc is reporting on a cycling-related matter, i.e. a Tory councillor objecting to a cycle-friendly roundabout and trying to leverage anti-EU sentiment to stir up opposition to it. The reporting is in fact rather even-handed, giving the councillor a full and lengthy right of reply. There's no need for any "Tory bashing", given the councillor's stunning ability to make himself sound a complete arse without any need for further assistance. There is no whining about the EU apart from that coming from the councillor himself who appears to think they're still in some underhand dastardly foreign manner influencing our roundabouts from afar. Sounds like the political frustrations are yours, not the RCC staff's.

^^^ this.

Any bashing of Tories or whining about the EU is a folly purely of Scargill's own creation.

What I will point out, though, is that Scargill is not, and has never been, a councillor. He is a "campaigner" or, as some have described, a "Tory activist".  In other words, unelected and unqualified.

Quote:

“As a cyclist myself,

My arse!

Quote:

I know how important it is to feel safe when using the roads. However, this specific proposal is unsuitable and I will continue to listen to residents and do everything I can to stop it going ahead.”

How's that going then?

Quote:

Construction on the Rake Lane roundabout begins this week.

good luck, Olly, you Tossery

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to planetjanet | 2 years ago
3 likes

What hawkinspeter said. Road.cc are reporting what a politician said. Said politician was simultaneously campaigning against pollution / let's do something about climate change (great!) but at the same time decrying being a  "...guinea pig for a European-style roundabout, which would give priority to cyclists." And he doesn't mean that's a good thing. So it's "What do we want? Gradual change! Where do we want it? Somewhere else!"

Yes - road.cc are not celebrating his comments. But the whining about the EU? First served up by the politician. road.cc are not "bashing" him by reporting his comments. If he talks rubbish then he is to blame for making himself look foolish.  Which he continued in his full-house cycling fallacies bingo comments to road.cc.  Cycling / cycle facilities "...making our roads more dangerous than they already are" etc.

By the way I would agree with him if he had said "I don't approve of this (Rake Lane) roundabout because a) the design is rubbish - it will do nothing to reduce traffic or encourage cycling, even if cyclists nominally have priority b) it is 'Dutch' in name only and c) If we are building this new development we really should make much more effort to connect people to local facilities and provide transport options other than the car".

Don't take my word for it. As posted elsewhere I think you'd find it interesting to read about it from a civil engineer with a specialism in active travel. You might be interested to see what you could have won too [UK version (only one I think!),  original version].

Avatar
wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
2 likes

Perhaps they can also kick back against those other european inventions ruining our roads

the internal combustion engine and the car.

Avatar
Rome73 | 2 years ago
7 likes

Still blaming the EU? When will these people grow up? 

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 2 years ago
4 likes

The Dutch style roundabout in Cambridge, though slightly confusing at first acquiantance from the birds eye view often employed to illustrate it, is actually very easy to use at ground level as a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist but only if the heirarchy of road users is understood and respected. Any motorist unable to navigate it safely should have their licence suspended until they can be retrained to a competent standard.

What was pretty egregious was the cost and ~2 years of building works disruption both of which seem somewhat excessive.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
7 likes

Mrs Squirrel once had to interview for a job with several longstanding members of North Tyneside council a few years back.  She got the distinct impression back then that most of them were still offended by the invention of the wheel.   Sounds like this guy (and they were all guys) is cut from the same cloth.

Avatar
giff77 replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
1 like

The principle was the discovery. The putting together of axle, hub and wheel together was the invention. Laying trimmed logs on their side to aid moving heavy objects was probably the first invention after seeing round objects could move with little hindrance. Also seeing the likes of Pangolins and the likes rolling up to escape from attackers would also have provided the discovery and ultimately the invention. 

Avatar
giff77 replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
3 likes

You did read my post?  It was the principle of movement by circular/spherical objects that was the discovery. The wheel couldn't be discovered as it never existed in nature. An apple rolling down a hill. An animal rolling into a ball and rolling away. They all gave the idea that something could be made that could move without major hindrance. 

The invention was using various objects to facilitate this movement resulted in the wheel, hub and axle. 
Discover - observe a new phenomenon.
Invent - create something that never existed. 
Wheel - circular object that rotates on an axle

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to giff77 | 2 years ago
1 like

I think you're right (unless Phillip Pullman is really a nature writer) but you always have to be careful as we learn new things. Best hedge it with "human invention" (if that's not semantically redundant) because we've been preceeded by evolution in many cases. For example:

Rotary motor and bearing (twice!) - given there's no wheel on the end does the support count as an axle though?

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
2 likes

for centuries people wondered what to do with these circular objects with a hole in the middle that they had discovered, they were frustrating as tables due to stuff falling down the hole in the middle.

https://www.citeco.fr/10000-years-history-economics/the-origins/inventio....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheel

https://blog.v-hr.com/blog/history-of-engineering-the-wheel

Every historical text refers to the invention of the wheel, the only context where discovered is used, is when archelogists discover physical wheels made in prehistoric times. This does not imply that wheels only came into use when archeologists discovered them.

A roller is not a wheel. using logs or posts as rollers might be termed a discovery, but a wheel has been specifically created for that purpose (or invented) 

Avatar
mdavidford replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
3 likes

Because obviously the first person to make a wheel got the idea from looking at bacteria...

[Not to mention that propellor =/= wheel.]

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
3 likes
Garage at Large wrote:

Well it depends on the definition of "wheel" doesn't it, but it appears you've done your internet research. I was assuming a wheel was an cylindrical object that rotates to move from one place to another, examples of which are littered everywhere.

However, it would appear you've snatched defeat out of victory, as many bacteria swim using a "corkscrew-like" spiral propeller, each driven by its own continuously rotating propellor shaft, driven by a tiny molecular engine, rotating freely and indefinitely in a hole that runs through the cell wall.

Therefore wheels (in your definition) already exist in nature, and were therefore discovered rather than invented.

I find this fascinating but it's not bikes... However as per my comment you have to be careful when considering nature!  Bacteria and archaea * have a motor (rotor + stator + bushings) but not a wheel. The motor certainly has circular components but the circular component does not roll along a surface to move the system. (We're not talking about the "potter's wheel" or "ship's wheel" sense here). It's the eccentric / spiral flagellum stuck on the end that does the driving.

It seems biological systems also have "rail" motion - or at least can move along "scaffolding" - see lots of examples of molecular motors here.  However I'm not aware of places where the two are directly combined. (I may well be missing something though given nature...)

* Bacteria and archaea have different motors derived from completely different systems, though fulfilling the same purpose. I forgot about ATP synthase too!

Avatar
giff77 replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
0 likes

Nature is indeed wonderful. And the discovery of many species have indeed lended themselves to various inventions. In fact the discovery of a seed falling in the ground and growing gave rise to the invention of agriculture.  But I'm starting to digress. 

Species have all formed some means of propulsion to get from A to B quickly and efficiently.  Humans though got bored with putting one foot in front of each other and looked to other means to alleviate this monotony and the effort of moving heavy loads. Sadly I don't think our early Neolithic forebears had the ability to see the wonder of how microorganisms propelled themselves. Though you seem to have convinced yourself of this regardless of the fact they're mostly rolling, sliding, flagellating.(is that a word?) There's pretty much no evidence of a disc being present to aid movement! And anyway a propeller is not a wheel  it has a totally different means of physics involved  

They reckon the wheel goes back to Neolithic times and originally started as a flat disc with a stick shoved through the middle and over the years was finally tuned to what we have today. In fact the wheel was one of 6 simple machines invented to make things easier. The other 5 being the lever, the pulley, the inclined plane, the wedge and the screw. 

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
7 likes

TBH, they are probably cut from the same cloth as someone who thinks wheels are already available in nature to be "discovered". 

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
1 like
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

TBH, they are probably cut from the same cloth as someone who thinks wheels are already available in nature to be "discovered". 

As said - if we'd looked earlier there were the following waiting - evolution having already done the design - for us to find: motors (linear [lots] and rotary [two at least]), jet propulsion (cephalopods), sonar (in and out of water), magnetic compasses (multiple times), IR / UV detction / cameras (lots)...

Not aware of gears, roller chain or disc brakes though so we're ahead on those ones!

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

As said - if we'd looked earlier there were the following waiting - evolution having already done the design - for us to find: motors (linear [lots] and rotary [two at least]), jet propulsion (cephalopods), sonar (in and out of water), magnetic compasses (multiple times), IR / UV detction / cameras (lots)...

Not aware of gears, roller chain or disc brakes though so we're ahead on those ones!

Found gears (though a bit teeny for a bike): https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a9449/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature-15916433/

Avatar
mdavidford replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

TBH, they are probably cut from the same cloth as someone who thinks wheels are already available in nature to be "discovered". 

As said - if we'd looked earlier there were the following waiting - evolution having already done the design - for us to find: motors (linear [lots] and rotary [two at least]), jet propulsion (cephalopods), sonar (in and out of water), magnetic compasses (multiple times), IR / UV detction / cameras (lots)...

Not aware of gears, roller chain or disc brakes though so we're ahead on those ones!

What about helmet indicators?

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
2 likes
mdavidford wrote:
chrisonatrike wrote:
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

TBH, they are probably cut from the same cloth as someone who thinks wheels are already available in nature to be "discovered". 

As said - if we'd looked earlier there were the following waiting - evolution having already done the design - for us to find: motors (linear [lots] and rotary [two at least]), jet propulsion (cephalopods), sonar (in and out of water), magnetic compasses (multiple times), IR / UV detction / cameras (lots)...

Not aware of gears, roller chain or disc brakes though so we're ahead on those ones!

What about helmet indicators?

A big neon sign outside Mr Scargill's office; "Helmet within"?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
2 likes

As well as helmets made from compressed dinosaurs, dinos had helmets. I can also raise you retroreflectives and if these aren't examples of hi-viz [1] [2] I don't know what are. (Maybe cyclists should try being poisonous / explosive?)

Avatar
AlsoSomniloquism replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
3 likes

But the diference between discovering and inventing is can we actually use the item used in nature for human-kind usage now. 

We discovered birds could fly, but we had to invent machinery so people could. We discovered canaries fainted at low levels of CO gas compared to humans so could be used as a warning, but we had to invent a detecting device to determine low level testing. We discovered bats used sonar, but we had to invent a way for us to do it. 

Although at least you aren't claiming that wheels were discovered 20,000 years ago because ancient man saw a bacteria using a similar device to be "right" in an internet argument. I mean that would be petty wouldn't it. 

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 2 years ago
0 likes
AlsoSomniloquism wrote:

But the diference between discovering and inventing is can we actually use the item used in nature for human-kind usage now. 

We discovered birds could fly, but we had to invent machinery so people could. We discovered canaries fainted at low levels of CO gas compared to humans so could be used as a warning, but we had to invent a detecting device to determine low level testing. We discovered bats used sonar, but we had to invent a way for us to do it. 

Although at least you aren't claiming that wheels were discovered 20,000 years ago because ancient man saw a bacteria using a similar device to be "right" in an internet argument. I mean that would be petty wouldn't it. 

No pettiness here - just a charming ramble into some nature notes brought about because others were exploring the semantics of "invented" vs. "discovered". Of course only humans have been inventing things (or indeed discovering things). You're right that largely things were "invented" before people "discovered" them in nature *. Although note in the larger sense humans firmly come under "artifacts of nature" just as much as do bacteria or rocks.  Did we invent ourselves, did nature start off and something else take over...?

Here's one if you like though - is maths invention or discovery?  If that's tricky (or too easy) what about physics?

* In the case of flight however there is a rich history of emulation / study of nature and definitely applying ideas gained from wings and flying in nature (discovery) to aeroplanes - see Otto Lilienthal, Wright Brothers etc. Even if we didn't get far with trying the flapping motion route...

Avatar
mdavidford replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

is maths invention or discovery?  If that's tricky (or too easy) what about physics?

Fiction.

Avatar
giff77 replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes

Discovery. Both exist throughout nature. Though many of my old class mates will dispute the purpose of both. 

Avatar
mdavidford replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
0 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Of course only humans have been inventing things (or indeed discovering things).

*Ahem* A cousin of yours wishes to take issue with that.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/brv.12604

 

Incidentally, while looking for that, Google's 'people also asked' suggested:

"What is the purpose of a chimpanzee?"

Which I think demands the supplemental question:

"...and who invented them?"

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes

*Quickly reads notes on how to respond to accusations of speciesism*

I quite agree - I just wasn't wanting to nitpick (that's for chimps!) with AlsoSomniloquism as they seemed to think I was engaging in pettiness / trolling (of our double Garage?!) around "invented" vs. "discovered". So I was just returning to the commonplace idea of invention and discovery pertaining strictly to humans. Thus not pointing to further vistas of the increasingly accepted range of other species who may evince innovation, culture etc.

I did note that of course the scope of the terms could could be considerably widened though...

[ Not inserting pictures of non-humans on cycles here to avoid further trouble ]

Avatar
mdavidford replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

I just wasn't wanting to nitpick (that's for chimps!)

I think you might have misread AS's comment there though - I'm pretty sure the bit about pettiness wasn't aimed at you.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
2 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Here's one if you like though - is maths invention or discovery?

Yes.

Paul Erdős wrote:

God may not play dice with the universe, but something strange is going on with the prime numbers

Pages

Latest Comments