Sunday 27 July 2014

If the FTA gets its speed increase, we want our safe passing law

The government has gone with the FTA lobby -the NRA of the roads- and plans to raise the rural speed limit for HGVs. That is despite the majority of responses being against it. The DfT petulantly said "this is not a poll", before highlighting that the FTA response "represents many". That translates to "we had hoped the majority of consultees were in favour, as they aren't we will ignore that and listen to the FTA as they are the one lobbying for this change".

The change is announced with a claim of money being saved -the FTA's agenda, tacking in a "will save lives" claim to sell it to a wider audience: everyone who drives. As for the cyclists and the horse riders -we don't count. We aren't a big enough group to have any influence on central government at all -and this shows it, as does the pickles parking rules.

Government transport policy changes are being written to benefit drivers and HGV owners, sold as benefits to car owners because they are the ones that matter.

And what do we get? Cyclists Dismount signs.

We need our own laws to push for, to either get them or to force the government to show its hand, to say "we don't care".

In Scotland there is a push for strict liability -but is that really the one to fight for?

  1. It does fuck all if you are dead.
  2. It goes straight up against the "all cyclists are criminals" haters, many of whom are in positions of power.
What then?

Mandatory Safe Passing distances
  1. The highway code already says "should give as much distance as when passing a car"
  2. All the legislation does is change that to a "must give", and sets a distance.
  3. With cameras, cyclists can now provide evidence of the unsafe passes.
  4. Its harder to argue against video evidence of an unsafe pass than it is to push the "careless driving" story, which is a lot more open to argument.
Either someone passes with safe distance or they don't, you can't argue that "they are a churchgoing, charity-giving middle class person who is very nice and just happened to squeeze past a cyclist at a distance which they felt was safe"

It also tells the FTA that they can get their speed limit increase, but in exchange the cyclists get better protection from unsafe HGV passing than we do today.