It’s been a bad month for road danger reduction

road rage

It has been a bad month for road danger. The media circus surrounding the tragic death of a woman in London who died following a collision involving a cyclist has prompted the Government to order an urgent review of cycling and the law, and write to all major cycling organisations to ask them to remind their members to respect the highway code.

Nothing wrong with any of that you might think. However, in the wider context of the leniency shown to drivers who kill or injure, and the desperate need for a complete overhaul of the legal framework and policing that is required if road danger is to be reduced for everyone, the inconsistency is more than a little disappointing. Given that of 1,730 people killed on British roads in 2015 just two – 0.12% – were killed in collisions with cyclists, it appears that transport minister Jesse Norman is being driven by media obsessions rather than fact.

The cyclist in the case was sentenced to 18 months in prison. However, since then, in separate incidents, a driver has been convicted of running over and killing a 5-year-old girl as she walked on the pavement. He received 16 weeks in prison. Another lorry driver ran into a teenage girl causing life-changing injuries before fleeing the scene. He escaped prison and was handed a £500 fine.  And most recently, a parent who became angry at being prevented from driving into the school grounds deliberately ran over a teacher – throwing him into the air. He was driving a car with not insurance or MOT and used his vehicle as weapon against the teacher with potentially lethal consequences. He received a sentence of 10 months in prison.

Almost as appalling as the incident itself, which is pictured at the top of this page, has been the reaction to this story by some drivers who feel the teacher was somehow to blame. One twitter user suggested the absence of a bollard was to blame, a comment that was supported by Surrey police.

police comment

At a school not far from the ETA office, drivers park on the zebra crossing on the road outside the gates while they drop off their kids. Unfortunately, nobody is in a position to put bollards in the middle of the road to prevent this happening and neither should the school in the news article above have to fortify itself in order to protect itself from angry drivers.

Nothing that Jesse Norman has done is wrong. However, the charity Roadpeace believes the forthcoming review of the law relating to cycling is likely to displace the government’s wider sentencing review. If so, the government is seeking to ignore the cause of more than 99% of road deaths to focus on just 0.12% of them. If we are to reduce danger on our roads for everyone’s benefit, let’s not be back to front about it.

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The ETA has been voted Britain’s most ethical insurance company 2017.

The Good Shopping Guide each year reveals the good, the bad, and the ugly of the world’s companies and brands, with a view to supporting the growth of social responsibility and ethical business as well as a more sustainable, just society.

Beating household-name insurance companies such as John Lewis and the Co-op, we earned an ethical company index score of 89 – earning us joint-first place with Naturesave.

Ethical insurance company 2017

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The ETA was established in 1990 as an ethical provider of green, reliable travel services. Twenty seven years on, we continue to offer cycle insurancetravel insurance and breakdown cover  while putting concern for the environment at the heart of all we do.



  1. Christina Hadleigh


    The sooner Cyclists start to realise that riding in pedestrian areas (pavements, Proms & Boulevards) has alway been an offence since the Highway code was law.
    In Brighton, cyclists seem to think they are a law unto themselves, riding on pavement and all over large pedestrian areas. When you confront them, you get a mouth full of abuse, or stupid comments like; OH! I’m new to the area, or just plain old F++k off. These cycling terrorist of the pavement are a real meanness and a danger along narrow pavements with pensioners trying to walk along. pedestrians should be able to feel safe in these areas.. And those CYCLING IDIOTS who flaunt with death by cycling in the WRONG direction along ONE WAY ROADS & STREETS… How tempting it is to force them into the curb and make them Stop and THINK about their own STUPIDITY….

    • John Holmes


      Christina, in the context of the 99% of road deaths caused by motorised vehicles – including children crushed and killed as they walk along the pavement – your reaction to the article appears a little irrational. Furthermore, Brighton has contra-flow facilities for cyclists that allow them to cycle against oncoming traffic, so your fantasy about forcing cyclists into the curb to teach them a lesson may well be ill informed, not to mention disturbing.

  2. Christina Hadleigh


    Make all bikes have visible registration number stickers so street CCTV can read it, and third party insurance, so the poor motorist or pedestrian can claim compensation for injury or motor repairs.
    Plus the regular jumping of red lights should incur confiscation of their bike and any subsequent bike bought while a cycling ban is in place and weekly cycling awareness courses …
    That should teach them some respect for other road and pavement users……………

    • Yannick Read


      Christina, if you have all that in store for errant cyclists, what on earth do you have planned for the motorists who are killing our children?

    • Chris


      So it’s ok for motorists to drive on to the pavement and kill people, as long as they have a registration number and insurance? How many drivers inn their cars have been injured by cyclists? Your views, unfortunately, only add to the evidence about this society’s attitude to road users which blames users of benign vehicles for the carnage caused by motorists. I’ve been forced in to the curb by such a motorist as yourself who overtook me and didn’t like the fact that I was ahead of him on the road. 3 times he deliberately drove at me. That is using your vehicle as a lethal weapon and should be treated as such.
      By the way, not all the Highway Code is Law – but then facts don’t seem to count in your ill-informed diatribe

  3. Christina Hadleigh


    JH You can offer all sorts of cycling lanes, but wether cyclists take any notice is another matter, most don’t like being told to cycle in the right cycle lanes. Theres an old saying about a Horse and water.
    Most one-way streets in Brighton are too narrow for cycle lanes, those that are suitable, are marked on the righthand side of the road/street, but there aren’t that many, the rest have cycle lanes next to the bus lane.
    SHERLOCK, by the sound of it, your a cyclist. So theres only half a brain answering my comments…..

  4. Chris


    Please remove this troll’s comments from the website.

  5. Christina Hadleigh


    So any comment that doesn’t suit your views, means it’s written by a troll.
    Your such small minded people….

    • Chris


      “you’re” not “your”, “pedestrians'” not “pedestrian’s”, “whether” not “wether”, “menace” not “meanness”, “there’s” not “theres” – and just because you think somebody is a cyclist you say THEY have “half a brain”! – pots and kettles come to mind.
      Please go on a cycling awareness course.

      • Paul K


        Calm down you guys. Anger and frustration. When anyone talks about other road users it all comes out. I drive a lot in London, so I know. Please show respect for one another and some good old-fashioned courtesy. I’m not holier-than-thou, but I am learning to be calmer when I’m on the road. Keep below the speed limit, be alert and don’t react angrily. It’s harder than it sounds but worth the effort. I play calm music or listen to a talking book when driving. At the end of my journey I’m less stressed and better company. Cyclists – remember how lucky you are not to be stuck in that jam. Pedestrians be happy you’re not in Lycra. Drivers marvel at how much tax you pay for the privilege. Idiots are idiots, just don’t become one.

    • Tony


      I’m reading this in amazement; there is only one small minded point of view here.

  6. Don Forrester


    How long has the Highway Code been law have I missed something? Initial reports on the woman being knocked over by a cyclist , reported that she stepped into the road using her mobile phone, but then if you want to blame a cyclist that is ok,

  7. John Riley


    Christina in the last week our local newspaper has reported on four hit and run accidents two of which were fatalities. One who survived was walking across a pedestrian crossing, having number plates hasn’t made their detection any easier. Also local police operations have picked up several people driving while banned and even more without insurance.
    The fact that this article is trying to get over is that anyone of us is more likely to be killed or injured while driving, cycling or walking by someone driving a motorised vehicle than by someone cycling.

  8. Sam


    Christina H.
    To post such comments on an article showing objective evidence that cars are vastly responsible for completely unacceptable levels of death and injury implies to me that you are trolling.

    “Most one-way streets in Brighton are too narrow for cycle lanes” Really? Perhaps they are too narrow for cars and should be given over to less dangerous forms of transport.

  9. Tony


    Excellent article, sadly only too true. As a driver I wish something would be done to make all of us take more responsibility when driving. Sentencing is pathetic when it costs less to pay a fine for having no insurance than it costs for the insurance its self – where is the incentive to abide by the law?

  10. Simon fuller


    I am a cyclist pedestrian and car driver. It amazes me that so many people fail to see or choose to fail to see the glaringly obvious fact. Too many cars and motor vehicles on the road causing congestion delay frustration danger and pollution, both emissions damaging people’s health and carbon emissions relentlessly increasing dangerous climate change. More provision for cyclists means less car journeys. We need a transport revolution with a comprehensive network of dedicated routes for cycles and electric bikes scooters and small single person electric vehicles. Pedestrians need their own space. The rest need their own space and need to go all electric asap. Vulnerable people need full protection of the law. Human nature can be so biased selfish and blind. Let’s all stop slagging each other off and think about a proper solution to the problem. Simon fuller.

  11. Christopher


    Pedestrian, cyclist, car-driver here (like most cyclists). I see bad behaviour by all road users, but it’s the motorists who scare me most often. When pedestrians and cyclists do something stupid they are most likely to come-off worse. When drivers do something stupid, it’s often someone else who pays the price.
    I see lots of cars and vans parked on the footway (pavement), and being driven on the pavement too. I am often overtaken when cycling only to pass the motorist who’s stuck in a traffic queue. Some motorists really do not like being overtaken, by a cyclist. It’s not unusual to see motorists on the phone. Want to experience a motorist’s wrath? Then as a cyclist, tell them they’re not allowed to use the phone while driving.
    Then there are the ignorant drivers who really don’t know the rules and

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