Alex Bowden December 30 2017
If this website has a pie-in-the-sky wish for 2018, it’s that the Daily Mail’s readership learns to question how the newspaper sources its information. (Similar but crueller wishes may well feature in the comments below this article.)
The Mail has today run a story headlined: “Dangerous cycling should be a crime, say two thirds of drivers amid claims they are treated too harshly.”
It is based on a survey about cyclists and, as ever in that newspaper, it plays on perceptions of fairness.
The survey found that 73 per cent of drivers said cyclists should be subject to similar legal requirements as motorists, and of these just under nine in ten called for a new law for dangerous cycling. (While people can already be prosecuted for dangerous cycling, there has been a suggestion that an offence of causing death by dangerous or careless cycling be introduced since the Charlie Alliston case earlier in the year.)
You can pretty much guess the rest.
Of the drivers who called for tougher legislation for cyclists, over 80 per cent also backed the introduction of compulsory insurance, while 73 per cent of them said cyclists should be required to wear fluorescent clothing.
It’s not entirely clear whether the statistics that follow are percentages of all of those questioned for the survey or percentages of the subset who called for tougher cycling legislation.
Not that it particularly matters. The message is the same, so read it however you want.
Seven in ten said cyclists should have to pass a road proficiency test and wear a helmet; 56 per cent said cyclists should be obliged to have a bicycle equivalent of an MOT; and 52 per cent want cyclists to have to pay road tax.
Almost six in ten drivers said that cycle lanes designed to alleviate congestion and increase safety for cyclists have failed to improve traffic flow, or made the situation worse.
The poll was of more than 10,400 drivers, which is significant. It was conducted by campaign group FairFuelUK, which also seems significant.
Launched in January 2011 to fight for lower fuel duty, FairFuelUK claims to represent “the real concerns of hard working motorists, families, small businesses, commercial drivers and hauliers across the UK.”
However, its emphasis is very much on commercial operations. FairFuelUK is funded by the Freight Transport Association, the Road Haulage Association and the Association of Pallet Networks.