25 August 2013

Cyclists want to obey

Recent press coverage in Southwark about citizen cyclists not obeying the rules finds the problem rooted in individuals.

This simply fails to understand that fear of other traffic creates the behaviour.

No enforcement can address this fear.

Cyclists do not have adequate infrastructure, never mind the fact that they are forced to abide by a traffic culture and traffic rules promulgated to serve the car, a completely different transport form.

In Copenhagen, in the morning rush hour when a couple of hundred thousand people ride bikes to work it is very different.  At each and every traffic light cycle you see great groups of citizen cyclists doing something really weird.

They wait for the lights to turn green.

No need to break the rules because they have a well-designed infrastructure, and a whole network of it.

Few seek to break the law; they don’t want to be rogues of the urban landscape. All they ask is to go about daily life, get from A to B quickly, efficiently and safety.

I just wish that at the junction in question some basic observation and human design principles, as requested by me the Ward Councillor, were undertaken.

Cycling is not inherently dangerous and if word got out that 1.2 million people a year are killed in car accidents, just think about it that is a 9/11 every month year in and year out, people might start riding a bike.

The hackneyed view, supported by Southwark Labour, that the non-cycling public need to be persuaded cycling is safe through more enforcement and nervous individuals can be taught to cope through the medium of cycle training simply leaves open the question of what to do with motorists.

To demand all cyclists adhere to a car-centric status quo and obey rules designed to manage motor vehicle flow and parking is utterly wrong minded if we want to improve modal share for cycling.

Southwark Council invests in the issuing of tickets to those cycling on the pavement.

This treats naughty cyclists who have had to adapt to a deeply hostile cycling environment with utter contempt.

Build a safe and respectful environment for cycling and cycle people will.

What parent or lover is going to ask him or her to share the road with any HGV?

Cyclists have to pay full observation to motorists encased and protected by a missile-mass of hardened plastic, glass and metal. Can it be any wonder that they are mercilessly bullied onto the curb side and pavement just to survive
the road?

I refuse to call for the trivialisation of the constant killing of cyclists by implying an equivalent to cycling on the pavement and enforcement.


Stephen Govier

Independa(e)nt Councillor for Southwark.


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