There has been a worrying rise of c.75% in the level of killed and seriously injured (KSI) casualties amongst cyclists in Leicestershire (see graph on right).
Max Hunt, Labour Spokesperson of the Environment & Transport Scrutiny Committee, is concerned at the numbers since cycling levels have not shown a greater or similar increase.
There is some speculation that the problem might be down to a deterioration in the behaviour of drivers. Less than 25% of the crashes were considered to be the fault of the cyclist when police logged them. It is known that the police have been reducing the level of resources they devote to monitoring traffic and prosecuting offenders.
We need more traffic police
Based on an article in CTC Campaign News
Appearing before the Commons Transport Select Committee at its inquiry into road traffic law and enforcement, CTC’s Policy Director Roger Geffen explained that the 37% drop in traffic officers in England and Wales since 2003 may well account for an alarming increase in the risk per mile of a serious cycling injury - up by around 15% since 2008. In contrast, the risk for car occupants has gone down by around 28%.
Disappointingly, the MPs on the committee seemed more interested in asking unhelpful questions, e.g. about the supposed need for cyclists to have compulsory training, insurance and to be forced to wear helmets.
Lord Ahmad responded to such comments with commendable good sense, and wrote: “the costs of a formal testing and licensing system for cyclists would significantly outweigh the benefits cycling has to the country’s economy, health and environment [ … ] It is likely that a licensing system will discourage many existing and potential cyclists, leading to a dramatic fall in the numbers of people cycling.”
This was reinforced by Lord Taverne in the House of Lords when he pointed out that “the serious injuries caused by cyclists must pale into insignificance when compared to those caused by motorists” and that “… bicycles are the most efficient machine yet invented for turning energy into motion. Indeed, the bicycle has been accurately described as a kind of green car, which can run on tap water and tea cakes and, moreover, has a built-in gym.”
Derbyshire Cycling Plan
Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council have created a partnership to bring forward this plan which is to be launched at an event on Derby Arena on 19 January 2016. The plan can be found at http://goo.gl/VQB60R . Perhaps Leicester and Leicestershire could form a similar partnership?