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David Cameron Stalked By Daily Mirror

In a week that has shown the depths to which tabloid journalism can descend for a few extra sales (Express and Star apologise) the Daily Mirror reports spending three Wednesdays driving behind Conservative Leader David Cameron on his way to the Commons by bike. Apart from free TV coverage for the Daily Mirror, what does it show?

Cameron places at risk neither himself nor anyone else during his brief ride.

Yes, he rides up a one-way street. But one way streets are designed solely to facilitate motor traffic. Cyclists are often placed at serious risk of injury being forced into gyratory traffic systems where lane switching is common. Our web manager Maurice is a good example - hit and seriously injured by a motorist who claimed she 'didn't see him' as he sought to manoeuvre for a right hand turn in Llandudno

In an age when gridlock threatens all our towns and cities, and there has never been a stronger case for motorists to get on their bikes, local authorities should be ordered to revisit their one-way streets systems to consider which ones can be converted to safe cycle contra-flow. Legislation does exist.

We illustrate below a North Wales example - Llannerch Road West, Rhos on Sea. This lies on a popular desire line to National Cycle Route 5 at Colwyn Bay. The authorised route involves a difficult six entrance roundabout. Llanerch Road West on the other hand has very light traffic and is used mainly for residential parking. It provides a much safer and simpler route to the coast for those cyclists who choose to turn a blind eye to the 'No Entry' sign. Not that we would recommend that. Perish the thought!

'It's Just Plain Daft' ........ For the opinion of CTC Director, Kevin Mayne click here.

Llannerch Road West, Rhos-on-Sea

Oh, and all the fuss about Cameron teetering over the stop line. Why was there no 'Advanced Stop Line' for cyclists at that crossing? Clearly there should have been one. Cameron's action at that position was natural and safe. See http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tpm/tal/cyclefacilities/furtherdevelopmentofadvanced4082?page=2

And the feint around the bollard. Again perfectly safe. All providing further evidence in support of schemes such as 'Naked Streets' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4213221.stm  

Yes, the video of Cameron was revealing. But not in the way interpreted by the media. The public really does need to start thinking laterally on the use of road space efficiently. And this must mean a radically more sympathetic approach to cycling. The alternative is traffic constipation - followed inevitably by a statutory dose of salts down the gullet of the motoring public.

Roy Spilsbury

Prominent Cardiff cycling campaigner, Max Wallis, writes:

Time to come out on Cycling Law

David Cameron has behaved as so many cyclists do, infringing the law in minor ways in the interests of personal safety and efficiency.

The episode emphasises that policy to make cyclists subject to the same laws as vehicles has failed. It has failed to win cyclists' general consent, and failed because the promises to provide safe networks for cyclists have produced little.

Welsh Assembly officials proposed 10 years ago that cyclist should use separate cycleways and not their trunk roads. We challenged them to cost that proposal - and it vanished (from TAN 18). Those non- cyclists who insist cyclists must obey the traffic laws, while they promise separate safe cycleways, deserve a similar response - get real!

There is policy to permit contra-flow cycling on one-way streets unless there are specific (safety) reasons against. That policy is largely ignored by officials, so David Cameron and many others just use the one-way streets when they find it safe.

Allowing cyclists an automatic left filter at traffic lights was one of the strongly-supported proposals in Steven Norris's 1998 National Cycling Strategy. Yet the civil service and government made sure it got lost.

So let's see David Cameron come out and say cyclists need different law from vehicles, designed to view cyclists between pedestrians and vehicles in a hierarchy for using our streets and shared urban spaces.