Hugh Bladon, of motoring campaign group, the Alliance of British Drivers said: “Cyclists don’t know how to behave, that’s their trouble.
“Some of them clearly believe the Highway Code is not for them, but it is. They then complain if they get knocked down by people in cars. It’s absurd.
“Money should not be spent on facilities like this if they are not going to be used.
“If they contributed through taxation then perhaps the money should be spent. But they don’t contribute anything to the maintenance of our roads.
“We are not anti-cyclist, we just want them to obey the rules of the road like everyone else, and they are not doing that at the moment.”
Sigh. Have you ever heard a someone in a conversation say something like, I'm not racist but.... You get the picture. I could pick a multitude of holes in this argument. I'm not going to as the comments in the above article do a fine job at that.
What I did do though was Google the ABD, and I came across their website. It's an interesting read. I was particularly interested to see that they had a manifesto. So I went straight there to have a read through of it. Again, it's an interesting read. Now I am not going to say that every single point that they raise is wrong. It's not. In fact there are some going points in it. For example,
Stricter penalties for drivers of stolen vehicles, particularly when unlicenced and/or driven recklessly. Minimum sentence of three years imprisonment for unlicenced car thieves, five years where reckless driving is proven.Totally agree. There should be stricter penalties, though I think much stronger bans on driving should be enforced as well, but yes, there are some good points. What you have to do though, when reading the manifesto, is to consider the motives behind each request.
I can do this with POPs manifesto.
- Proper funding for cycling. (Need safer infrastructure, please invest in it)
- Design cycling into Scotland’s roads. (Infrastructure we have is crap. Design it properly)
- Slower speeds where people live, work and play (Slower speeds makes it feel safe and is safer)
- Integrate cycling into local transport strategies (Make it easier for people to use cycling as part of their journey)
- Improved road traffic law and enforcement (Drivers have to fear the consequences of injuring or killing more vulnerable road users, like cyclists)
- Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians (Pretty much as it says. I've nearly been wiped out by one myself)
- A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training (Make sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities, that includes cyclists)
- Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy (Without proper statistics we can't know if policy, or lack of, is working)
- Speed limits (Please raise the speed limits everywhere, except where it would be way, WAY too dangerous. We are all safe drivers. We want to go faster)
- Enforcement (We want to go faster, so focus on other stuff please. going faster is safe, unless you are doing a ridiculous speed)
- Cameras - Speed, Red Light, and Tailgating (Please get rid of cameras, we want to go faster)
- Penalties (Stronger penalties but please remember just because we drive a potentially dangerous weapon, does not mean we always have to take responsibility for that. For example it is sometimes safe to drive faster)
- Points system (We want to be rewarded for driving the way that we should be driving anyway, oh and when we are abroad, we should be able to drive how we like, i.e. faster)
- Training (Lots of training...training is good... but drivers shouldn't have to pay for it. Probably should come from the huge amount of tax that we have to pay...see later...and we definitely prefer training to points. Oh and training will reduce congestion. It will!)
- Education (Encourage kids to drive cars in playgrounds, and teach all drivers to keep to the left so that we can overtake them easily when we drive faster)
- Congestion Charging and Road Tolling (We pay way too many taxes, and it costs us money to sit in heavily congested cities. Take away charges so that we can sit in heavily congested cities for free. Roads should only be funded by us. We know that cyclists fund our roads as well, but we don't like that. We should fund it through our taxes which we reckon are enough...)
- Fuel Taxation (We pay too much tax and it needs reduce....what do you mean that there won't be enough to cover the roads then.....be quiet...less taxes, then we can afford the extra fuel as we need to go faster)
- Vehicle Excise Duty (We don't want to pay this. Scrap it and then place the tax onto fuel. Do this whilst....as we mentioned above...reducing the tax on the fuel. Whilst this doesn't make sense, it will discourage some people from driving. That will mean less cars in our way, so we can drive faster)
- Integrated Transport (By integrated transport we mean more parking. More parking will somehow encourage people to use buses more. You'll see, it'll be like magic)
- Road Building (Bring back the Romans. They were good at building roads. they will help us build more. Building more roads will also help the environment as it will mean we can all drive faster. Also, build them really, really wide. That way, when we drive faster we can have races. Make the surface as good as an F1 racing track as well, with really bright lighting. That way we can push our cars to the limit. Vrooomm.)
- Parking (We said it above, but we will say it again. WE WANT MORE PARKING! Oooh and we want it underground. We don't want to step outside when we get out of our car. We might get run down by a car if we do!)
- Bus Lanes/Multiple Occupancy Lanes (We must not create these at the expense of space for cars. Extend the width of the road if you have to, knock the odd building down, but the preferred option it to take space away from pedestrians. Everyone will be driving anyway. Oh and if the buses aren't regular, forget it. So if you want lanes, you will need more buses. We need buses clogging the place up as well as cars!)
- Drink Driving (We like a beer, so don't you go lowering that limit! 80mg is quite low enough, thank you very much. Oh and we are happy for more officers to enforce this, so long as it means there are less enforcing speeding, so we can drive faster)
- Speed Limiting Devices (You've got to be kidding right!? These force us to slow down when we know it is safe to drive fast. Mind you, if it one day means that we can all drive faster, it might be ok)
- Roadworks (Roadworks slow us down. Don't do it when I'm driving, so I can drive faster)
- Traffic calming (Just don't do it. I want to drive faster!)
- Road Maintenance (We don't like solid white lines. We drive fast so need to overtake. Remove them except in the absolutely most dangerous places. We are good judges of safe overtaking! Also sight-lines are important. Got to make sure I can drive fast, so cut down unnecessary trees. Not sure why we need them anyway. Oh and we don't need signs. We all stare at our Sat Navs now.)
- Government and Local Consultation Exercises (Consultations should be done by independent organisations. We are independent. We'll do it if you like.)
- Statistics (It's not like we think there isn't enough statistics, unlike the POP lot. We just think think they makes us look bad. So we propose that gets changed. We want to change the definition of serious injury. Far too many cyclists and pedestrians are claiming they are seriously injured when they are absolutely fine. You only need one leg after all.)
- Eyetests (If you can't see you can't drive as fast. Might as well use a bike instead)
- Company Car Taxation (Taxing them for the pollution they cause? No thanks. Business people want to drive fast too you know.)
- The Environmental Impact of Car Use (Get real! There is no human induced climate change, cars don't make much of a difference anyway, cars going slower cause more pollution. Anyway vehicles don't cause much pollution except for public transport vehicles, they do. Oh and you should still be able to drive your car even if it fails emission tests as it doesn't really matter. All this allows drivers to drive....faster! Yippeee.)
- Rules And Regulations (We don't like legislation that deals with dangerous things that drivers sometimes do. Current legislation, which we know is harder to prosecute should therefore be used, meaning we can get away with more. Oh and slow moving HGVs and drivers who don't understand that cars are supposed to go fast, should get out of our way.)
- Funding and Charitable Status of Road Safety Organisations (We are concerned that the 'government line' isn't encouraging fast enough driving. Therefore, road safety organisations shouldn't be funded by the government. We aren't sure who should fund them though....not drivers... perhaps we need a bicycle tax...)
So there you have it. A whirlwind tour of the (very long) ABD manifesto. I've read between the lines and I don't like what I've seen, and yet this group have MP patrons. They certainly don't represent me as a driver. Do they represent you?