Peter Shepherdson, Calderdale’s road safety officer, said:
"Pre-teenagers, bicycles and roads are a cocktail for disaster. We warn young children away from knives and fire, yet we give them bikes knowing that in most cases they will be ridden on the road without supervision or any regard for the Highway Code."
Shepherdson told Huddersfield Daily Examiner that in the last five years 74 Calderdale children had been hit by vehicles, nine seriously.
The newspaper reported that Shepherdson said "it was impossible to think of anything else which was given to children which had such an unenviable safety record."
The great majority of road safety officers in other areas will be shocked by Shepherdson’s victim-blaming stance but it’s a sad fact that a small minority of RSOs would love to see less cycling on their patch because the easiest method to reduce cyclist injury statistics is to reduce the numbers of people who cycle.
Britain suffers from an epidemic of ‘Health & Safety’ measures yet the step that would have the greatest impact on injury reduction for all vulnerable road users – the taming of cars – is a measure beyond the ken of some RSOs, if Shepherdson’s views are representative of his fellow road safety professionals.