Friday, 21 September 2018

Councillor says charge the Pru Ride London to use Surrey's roads!

NOW that the threat of a cycling war with the Highways Agency over their stupid proposal to ban cyclists from the A63 at Hull has been averted, there comes a daft suggestion that the Prudential Ride London should be charged for using Surrey’s roads!

Not just this huge charity ride – billed as the biggest in the world and which donates £thousands to local causes  - but Britain’s biggest pro road race on the same day, which has UCI World Tour status;  plus every other cycling event, the smaller challenge rides, road races and time trials.

Councillor Claire Malcolmson has put forward this idea to the Mole Valley Local Committee, which was the lead story in my local paper recently.

 Mole Valley and Dorking figure on the route of the Prudential Ride London, and the pro races passes through the town four times – a grand sight.

In her view this will help introduce stricter regulation of races and rides in the county, and generate funds which would “contribute to dealing with local congestion and road infrastructure”!

Crackpot idea, of course.

Whatever the local committee may say, Surrey County Council won’t wear it. They are partners with London in hosting this event, introduced as part of the 2012 Olympic legacy.

A spokesman for Surrey said charging had been considered but “has not been taken forward”.

She told the local newspaper that since the Olympic road races came through Surrey, the area has “witnessed a huge influx of cyclists” which brought “more chances of mishaps on the roads to pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.”

Aha. If truth be known the councillor is probably a driver irritated by the road closures for the Pru events. She may also have been held up behind lines of cyclists and wants to get her own back. Here’s some advice: drop into third gear and just potter along until the riders turn off.

As regards solving congestion on the roads, the Pru already contributes to that by closing over 100s of miles of them for their events!

The councillor might like to consider that the obvious way to reduce congestion is for people not to drive as often as they do.

This has become a vital health issue if the pollution from diesel engines is to be reduced.

Britain is among one of the worst polluted lands in the world, it has been reported. Thousands of people are dying from illnesses caused by traffic pollution.

Instead of charging pollution-free cycling events from using the roads, charge the polluters.

Here’s an idea that for tech wizards to develop. Every time a driver switches on the ignition, it activates an app linked straight to his bank account which haemorrhages money direct to a fund to pay for the funeral services of all those dying from illnesses caused by the shit spewing from her/his exhaust.  

Friday, 14 September 2018


AFTER several months in a cycling utopia of endless car free roads somewhere on the planet,  I stir into blog action again with good news. The preposterous plan to ban cyclists from the A63 at Hull has been dropped by the dictatorship, Highways England.
We must thank Cycling UK for their energetic campaign to oppose this ban, raising almost 10,000 signatures in protest.
The highways authority stipulated protests should be by the neglected art of ink on paper and placing said sheet of paper in a sealed envelope affixed with a postage stamp.  Clearly, in this world of electronic data they thought this might deter protest.
It failed. Cycling UK acted as a collection point for letters and a cargo-bike laden with mail was pedalled into Highways England’s Leeds offices last February.
The A63 road forms one of the fastest time trial courses in the country, and although the highway authority didn’t say as such in so many words it was felt that the ban was targeted at time trial events there.
The V718 time trial course on this 15-mile stretch of the A63 is the fastest course in the land.
It is the very course Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins recorded a 17-58 “10” in May 2015.
However, according to Cycling Weekly time trialling on this road now faces an uncertain future.
The last event to be organised there was on August 26 and there are no future events listed.
Highways England says it will examine requests for future events on this section, together with Humberside Police and the East Riding Safety Forum.

Nevertheless, whatever time trialling’s future here, Highways England’s decision to withdraw their proposed ban (announced at the beginning the year) l is a victory for common sense.
It was feared such a ban would be the thin end of the wedge and spark bans on roads deemed by so-called experts as “unsafe” elsewhere in the country.  And if we’re honest many roads have become unsafe because cyclists have been designed out of the equation!
So, design them back in! That’s the problem which is not being addressed because at the root of the problem is this weird idea that roads are “motor roads” when they are not and never have been, they are for all of us to use.
This is the wider battle for Cycling UK.
They said they have been fighting for 140 years for the rights of cyclists, and were not prepared to let Highways England impose a ban when there was no real basis or justification.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns, added:
 “One of the arguments put forward was that cyclists couldn’t keep up with traffic, but on that basis they would have been banning cyclists on every A-road and many sections of B-road across the country.
“I’m delighted that common sense has prevailed and pleased that Highways England listened to our arguments.
“I’d like to thank all our supporters who took time to take part in the campaign and respond during the consultation period.”
Highways England
In a statement, Highways England said: “We want people using our roads to be safe and alongside Humberside Police were particularly concerned about how safe cyclists would be with increasing volumes of fast moving traffic on the A63 between North Cave and Hull.
“We’re really grateful to everyone who commented on our proposed ban, especially from cyclists themselves.
“We are already developing more cycling and safety improvements for the A63 and in the meantime we urge all road users to use this route safely.