Yesterday in a heated debate by the unelected peers in the House of Lords, cycling got a severe kicking. Lord Steel said he felt more at risk from cyclists when crossing the road than from motorists. To counter this, Baroness Crawley said for every cyclist prosecuted for a traffic offence there were 2800 motorists prosecuted. In a report on Radio 4 this wasn't seen as an indication that motorists cause death and destruction on the roads (and, er, pavements) but that cyclists rarely get prosecuted.

Lords complain about “boorish” cyclists

Lord Quinton said: "The law is not very effectively applied; I know of one person who, when a cyclist was going along the pavement, said to a nearby policeman, "Oughtn’t you to do something about that?" The policeman replied, "The road is very crowded". That seems to me to be turning a blind eye to serious offences in the most unsatisfactory way."

The same could be said of the traffic offences of driving while talking on a hand-held mobile phone, routine speeding in 30mph zones and parking on the pavement, infraction seen as "normal" and "OK" by the majority of motorists going by the number of instances witnessed each day.

Lord Marsh didn’t want more police time to be spent on nabbing cyclists:

"There could be a major problem if the police really took this seriously and spent a lot of time on it. They would do nothing else in central London but prosecute cyclists. Is not the problem largely that the cycles are totally silent? If they had bells on them, as they used to, at least you would hear them moving."

Lord Steel of Aikwood wants cyclists to be forced to don fluoro kit and lids:

"Members of the House…are more in danger of being injured by cyclists when using the pedestrian crossing outside than by motorists. It is a serious problem. Would it not be a good idea to insist that cyclists should wear fluorescent yellow shoulder belts during the daytime, at night have lights both front and back [sic], and wear protective head gear at all times?"

Baroness Crawley: "To put this slightly in context, I must say that the number of prosecutions of cyclists in England and Wales in 2004 was 830. The equivalent number of prosecutions for motoring offences in 2003—I do not have the 2004 figure—was 2,325,553."…/60126-01.htm#60126-01_star0

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