This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 25th, 2008 at 10:25 am and is filed under Bad motoring, Bicycle advocacy, Celebs on bikes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
On yesterday’s Spokesmen podcast I defended some of David Cameron’s ‘bike crimes’. Far from being a ‘Lycra lout’ as much of the media has painted him, Cameron DID NOT ride through a red light.
Watch the Daily Mirror’s video and you can see that Cameron rides over the white stop line as a defensive measure but doesn’t ride off until the light changes. The Daily Mirror was careful not to say Cameron rode through a red light but the rest of the media, and of course, comment posters, made no such distinction.
I’m dead against riding through red lights. It infuriates me to see it in action. The mass media likes to portray it as a national disease when, in fact, it’s more common in London than in other UK cities. (Now, riding on the pavement, that’s different, it’s common everywhere, a result of some pavements being made into bike paths so all are now fair game, especially as motorists routinely treat roads as race tracks).
When I stop at red lights in London I feel like a country bumpkin. When in Rome do as the Romans do? Not for me.
I’m therefore sympathetic to Andy Shrimpton’s Stop at Red campaign. Andy is the savvy, worldly-wise owner of Cycle Heaven, a wonderful bike shop in York. Much as I admire his campaign I think the comments he gave to the media over the CamCam episode have been wide of the mark.
Instead, I think much of what London bike shop Velorution says on the matter is noteworthy. Owner Andrea Casalotti argues that Cameron should not have apologised over his ‘bike crimes’ but should have used the opportunity to “explain that what he did was reasonable” because “if a facility puts, say, the convenience of motorists ahead of the safety of vulnerable road users, it is reasonable to disregard it.”
I wouldn’t go that far - especially as I wrote this article on keeping street legal when cycling - but I believe that Cameron’s misdemeanours are minor.
Perhaps the Daily Mirror could now follow ordinary folks driving and film them routinely breaching 30mph limits? Ditto for phone-driving.
We all see this road danger multiple times every day. This morning, when cycling with my kids to school, a bloke in a sports car negotiated a sharp turn on a steep hill with a cellphone clamped to his ear. It was perishing, with black ice on corners.
Sports car driver must have seen at least one of my kids cycling up the hill but didn’t think to stop his conversation. Bastard.