Fresh from knocking a cyclist off their bike, government Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has been recorded in the House of Commons as saying that cyclists aren’t road users in an interview with a journalist. Is this a signal that the government is anti-cyclist?
Grayling hits cyclist with door
In October last year, Grayling knocked a cyclist off their bike when getting out of his car in London. The incident was videoed and can be found on YouTube. Accidents happen, but there are clear protocols as to what should happen in such an incident. You should always exchange details when there is a collision and if one of the parties calls the police, both should wait until the police arrive.
Grayling however appears to have had a conversation to the effect of ‘are you alright Squire?’ and after the cyclist said something to the effect of ‘I’m alright Guv’ the Transport Secretary seems to have sent him on his way.
The video went on YouTube and the media blew its lid over the affair and only then did Grayling take appropriate measures to ensure that his own liability was minimised.
Grayling announces that cyclists aren’t road users!
Last week Labour MP Daniel Zeichner asked Grayling in Parliament about an interview where he had seemed to indicate that cyclists are not road users. Grayling responded, “What I would say to him, of course, is where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes… And there’s a road alongside – motorists are the road users, the users of the roads. It’s fairly straightforward, to be honest.”
Under some of the the oldest road laws in the UK, cyclists are considered road users as much as anyone else. Zeichner pointed out afterwards that under the 1888 Local Government Act, “bicycle, tricycles, velocipedes and other similar machines” have rights to use the roads.
Muddled or genuinely anti cyclist?
Grayling is ultimately responsible for the safety of all road users. His repeated bumbling with regard the law in regards cycling may indicate that he has little interest in the mode of transport which is extremely worrying since cycling should be core to any government anti-pollution transport policy. This could well mean that the government is passively anti cyclist simply because they aren’t part of any coherent transport policy – or at least enough for the Transport Secretary to be familiar at all with the issues that cyclists face on the roads today.
New laws are now coming into force where it will be harder for a cyclist to take a car or lorry driver to Small Claims Court for the damage done to their machines or through injury. This isn’t apparently anything to do with Grayling but generally a removal of legal support for those who can’t afford it, as has been done with Employment Tribunal law.
Whether the government is anti-cycling remains to be seen and it will be interesting to see what policies are announced to encourage more people on to a bike and protect existing road users who cycle!