The Department for Transport is taking part in the Coalition Government’s ‘red tape challenge’, an initiative aimed at reducing bureaucracy.
"We are calling on all road users, businesses, and local authorities to tell us about the regulations you would like scrapped or simplified," said a statement on the DfT’s red tape challenge website. All road users? Not quite. There’s no representative from a cycling group (nor a pedestrian group or an equestrian group, for that matter).
Clearly, the DfT sees road users as car drivers, truckers and passengers in buses. The expert panel is made up of Simon Best of the Institute of Advanced Motorists; Theo de Pencier of the Freight Transport Association; Rob Gifford of the Parliamentary Advisory Committee on Transport Safety; Edmund King, president of the AA; John Lewis of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association; David Quarmby of the RAC Foundation for Motoring; and Steve Salmon of the Confederation for Passenger Transport.
There’s no seat at the table for a cycling expert from the CTC or the Bicycle Association or other cycling organisation. Edmund King, a cyclist as well as a motorist, offered to represent cyclist interests on the panel.
The DfT has been dismissive of cycling representation:
"Out of all the regulations under consideration, there are relatively few regulations specifically governing the use of cycling – only five in the whole of this section of the red tape challenge. However, we are still very interested to hear what cyclists have to say about those five and any other regulations that may affect cycling – and we are working with everyone across the whole road transport sector to encourage responses to the Challenge."
Even without official representation cyclists have voiced their opinions on the red-tape challenge website, asking for more protection in law and for the amendment of the Cycle Racing on Highways Regulations 1960 which provide for the authorisation of cycle racing events on the public highway.
Of particular interest to the bicycle trade, regulations such as the law that requires reflectors to be fitted to all pedals – even clipless, often an impossibility – are also mentioned on the website but, without representation, such cycling-specific red-tape may go unnoticed.
BikeBiz.com understands that an MP will soon ask a parliamentary question of the Transport minister asking why the expert panel is missing a representative of a cycle organisation.