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Saturday, 25 January 2014

The truth is offensive to some on the road.

'But for the record, my statement is: 'There are only two types of road user that the community cannot manage without; walking and driving'.  The Spandex Taliban continue to pretend, in their childish manner of poking fun, that it translates somehow to 'Every car journey is essential'.'

'My colleagues and I support cycling and horse riding in their essential road transport needs.'

I must, for the sake of not having to repeat and regurgitate the same points on social media, address a couple of glaring road safety issues here on this blog so that, in future, for those with the sad disability of not being able to understand simple statements of truth, direct them to it thus saving me valuable time.

I am a cyclist. Not of the Spandex and Lycra clad, racing style al la Wiggins variety but more akin to the nice sedate upright style favoured in Europe and indeed towns like Oxford and Cambridge too.

In response to the demands of the cycling lobby, I have been looking at road cycling and for those interested, we have a whole section on the Drivers' Union Website under road safety, at Drivers' Union There you will be able to see how in peril road cyclists are as the crashes, injuries and deaths of top cyclists prove as do the sad examples of ordinary road cyclist casualties too. All this is not my opinion but factual events from which intelligent conclusions must be drawn.

The epithet: 'There is no fury like that of a woman scorned' is not true because the fury, insults, venom and bile directed at me, for merely looking at cycling safety on a pro driver basis, supports the proposition that anyone prepared to don Lycra and Spandex to ride their bike, especially head cam mounted too, can safely be added to 'the woman' in the epithet.

When we have such cycling luminaries as Carlton Reid, Clive Andrews and Barry Sheerman MP as well as the followers of at least three dishonest anti Keith Peat parody social accounts, then clearly Spandex/Lycra cyclists are a very touchy breed prone to dishonesty and personal abuse to protect their peculiar ideas.

Likewise there is the Horsey Set. Strangely having so much in common with the Cycling Crowd, in that both think they have unfettered right, well fettered in the case of a horse, to obstruct and slow other road users to the extent that, if drivers dare to be human and fail to live up to either group's expectations whilst passing, they can expect a reaction ranging from scorn to outright abuse and confrontation. See. Horses on public roads  The head cams are there specifically to catch drivers doing something wrong and to film any confrontation incited just for the camera. I advise all drivers to mount CCTV on their cars for their own protection.

But let's get my position on the record for once and for all.

I support horse riders by fighting for what they need most; their cars, 4 x4s, their horse boxes and to ensure that, this vital aspect of their lives, is better than it has been hitherto, with more justice for drivers, better road safety and less cost.  Let's face it, you can't keep horses without motors and driving and indeed you can't sustain your lifestyle without all that either. Given the choice: 'Horses or motor vehicles? You would have to give up the horses. So my colleagues and I are working for one of the most important and crucial aspects of your lifestyle that allows you to have and use horses.

But does society need these animals out on roads anymore? No it doesn't. So, from a drivers perspective, horses are an unnecessary hazard, liability, delay and bad news. Sorry but that is a truth and a fact. Drivers are entitled to wonder why they are having this liability imposed on them for the gratification and enjoyment of a privileged few and it's my job to ask the question without being ridiculed for doing so. The questions I asked here need to be answered for the sake of all driver safety and wellbeing. 'Why are horses still being ridden or driven on UKs roads in 2014?' is a good question and so far there hasn't been one single rational justification in response.

Likewise I support cyclists too in that every cyclist depends on drivers directly or indirectly and most depend on their own driving too. I am doing a service for cyclists in the more important aspect of their lives, motor transport.

Rather like horses, how on earth can cyclists be a boon to drivers? From a driver's perspective, they are a hazard, liability and an obstruction to best progress. That's a reality. But in making all the demands that cyclists are, our politicians would be failing in their duty not to include in their consideration, 'Who must we have on the road to sustain society?'  After all it is the cyclists who are saying how dangerous cycling is, demanding and getting valuable road space and public funds to make it safer so the question 'do we need them?' surely is a fair one isn't it? Or isn't anyone supposed to ask reasonable questions without being abused? From the violent reactions to it, the Cycle Lobby think not. Well I am asking it and trying to get more drivers to ask it for their own good too.

But for the record, my statement is: 'There are only two types of road user that the community cannot manage without; walking and driving'.  The Spandex Taliban continue to pretend, in their childish manner of poking fun, that it translates somehow to 'Every car journey is essential'. That dishonesty I can conclude is an admission that they cannot deny the real statement.

But I will go a bit further by addressing a typical example: 'Driving to the golf club is not essential road use' Yes it is. You cannot transport golf clubs on foot far enough or fast enough without motor transport. This keeps the golfing industry going. Why not say 'driving to the stables to muck the horse out and hitch the trailer for hay is taboo too?' Holidays? Packing a car up with wife & kids plus luggage and bikes to go to France can hardly be done on a bike but it keeps the ferry trade and holiday resorts in business too. But the essence of the use is that being on the road is always to go from A to B for a purpose; it's not for being on the road just for being on the road's sake and to imperiously expect your preference, to dictate your speeds to other road users.  It is very worrying that The Cycle Lobby are either too dumb to comprehend this or too dishonest. Either way, should politicians be taking so much notice of them or their demands?

It's about time the Cycle Lobby were give short shrift. 'Like it or get off your bikes.'



  1. "The head cams are there specifically to catch drivers doing something wrong and to film any planned confrontation just for the camera." Oh come on Keith. People use cameras to cover their backs, in case something happens they have that footage to prove what really happened. Some people might purposefully look for confrontation *cough* You chasing down cyclists? *cough* but the majority of people do not!

    "Likewise I support cyclists too in that every cyclist depends on drivers directly or indirectly and most depend on their own driving too. I am doing a service for cyclists in the more important aspect of their lives, motor transport. "
    Keith, you failed to explain in this article why cyclists depend on drivers?

    Ok keith, the big question.... Why is privatised motorised transportation any more essential than other forms of private transportation? Note. I said privatised transportation, not commercial and not public. So not the buses and not HGV's delivery goods. Why is someones journey to the supermarket by car more essential than some ones journey to the supermarket by bicycle? Why is someones journey to work by car more essential than someones journey to work by bicycle?

  2. Oh dear. I am now having to re-gurgitate something else explained already ad nauseam. Don't you think you depend on drivers? Of course you do. No drivers, no basics. No water, food, power, warmth, clothing, NHS, Emergency services. medicine, public and commercial transport. Don't you know that?

    Private transport? Oh so how are the connections made to public transport? You don't sleep in an airport or at a bus station or on a railway platform do you? My son commutes 18 miles by car to drive his train. NHS staff fill the staff car parks. How does your water worker get to work or your lorry driver? Massive retail outlets surrounded by car parks to shift the goods the lorry brought in. Do you think your cycle shop owner manages with just cycling around? The people who care for elderly. Get their needs and get it too them. It goes on and on. I shouldn't have to explain all this to grown ups. It should be already an accepted fact.

  3. You claim you are a cyclist, Keith, so you obviously appreciate that the bicycle is the motorist's friend as it allows you to use a cleaner, quieter, cheaper, safer and more efficient and enjoyable form of transport when the circumstances allow and this reduces the huge problems of traffic congestion and has various health benefits. I assume you agree that better cycling infrastructure to encourage more cyclists to follow your good example and perhaps provide you with more opportunities to cycle yourself is an important step towards improving transport conditions and quality of life in the UK, just as it has in the Netherlands.

    1. Yes I am a cyclist but always knew my cycling was a secondary option, actually 4th option to walking, driving, & motorcycling in that order. I can take or leave cycling as all cyclist do at some point in their lives. And I have never asked for or expected a cycling infrastructure as you call it. Roads developed over 1000s of years and if they're too dangerous, don't cycle. No one is forcing you.

    2. You are correct. No one is forcing anyone to cycle. But why does that mean that those that do cycle, or would like to, should not be afforded a safer means of doing so when appropriate, given the huge benefits of cycling for society? You say you are happy to cycle as a 4th option but cycling infrastructure and cycle-friendly policies have resulted in very significant cycling levels in the Netherlands which has reduced traffic congestion, pollution, death and injury on the roads, and obesity-related problems. Can you explain why you do not welcome these measures as a benefit to our society?

    3. But I don't agree there's benefits. It's a myth. How can it benefit society to impede, delay and add liability on essential infrastructure? Don't tell me health. Just look at the casualty lists so there are safer ways of getting exercise.

      As a cyclist I want the money spent on NHS or Emergency Services or flood defences.

      As I say, either cycle or don't. If you demand things, then I can ask that priority is given to what we must have first.

    4. You only have to look at the evidence to see the benefits of cycling, Keith. The point is that most car journeys are short enough to be done by bicycle. Once cyclists are given protection from the dangers of careless driving then the demand results in a large number of journeys being done by bicycle instead of motor car and the problems of traffic congestion are alleviated. Are you seriously suggesting that the emissions, noise pollution, KSIs, and obesity-related problems which result from an over-dependence on the motor vehicle are a myth? Investment in cycling is an extremely cost-effective measure which reduces demand for NHS services. You only have to visit Amsterdam or Copenhagen to see how cycling can improve our quality of life.

    5. You repeat a myth. So what is lots of car journeys are cycling distance? We cycle but that doesn't mean everyone else must. But journeys are about time/speed/load/distance/purpose No-one has analysed all this. They have just published a Ministry of Guesswork number. How do they know if the drivers' just picked up a bag of cement?

      Oh the obesity debate. It's more about bad diet and sedentary habits. But there's safer ways of exercising than cycling. It shows how the cycle lobby are clutching at straws on that one.

      But with the motor vehicle life expectancy has gone up not down. But since the Olympics and more cycling, more cyclists have died. How healthy is that?

      But again we have strayed from the simple statement at the head of the blog.

  4. Keith - I regularly cycle 12 miles each way to get the train to get to work. In my office there are many cyclists who cycle further, for a period, I cycled 22m each way. Maybe your son could give it a try? The main station has acres devoted to car parking and about half a football pitch devoted to parking the same number of cycles.

    I guess like me you live must live in the country and in this scenario having a car is essential for a number of obvious reasons. However, near me, there is a hospital on the edge of a mid sized town with good rail connections. It has a massive car park that staff moan they have to pay (i.e want to be subsidized by the general taxpayer) to use and people from the town choose to drive there (making it harder for those of us who have to use it and have a genuine need to drive) rather that use the frequent bus service that runs throughout the day: the town centre is about 3 miles away - 10 mins or so on a bike and they even ran a free bus for staff who arrived by train; yet they still want free parking. Like many who only drive - you represent the selfishness that comes from sitting in a big steel bubble with lethal blind-spots and the resulting limits that places on your understanding of the world through which you move.

    I agree with your 'do we need them' point, in towns, cars are not essential, they just use up space. Car drivers pass a test once - they are not retested unless they are banned for a length of time. Laws are updated, car technology improves - all things that in every other area would demand additional training and a viva to ensure that you knew the basics. sadly not in the world of car drivers. Number of car drivers I have come across who are unfamiliar with rule 163 for example, suggests that if the car is as essential as you say, they should be properly trained.

  5. I don't intend to start answering the answers to comments that missed the point anyway so I will be brief. Had you read the blog you would see I cycle.

    Address the simple statement, which I took the trouble to copy into the top so people wouldn't need to search for it.

    Of course some people cycle to work. But most can't, won't, don't want to and never will. Even in London, most commuters drove to stations. But work in London so they can run cars since society and the economy is based on that. Good job we don't depend on cycling when it's wet, cold, windy or blizzarding. I think you live in a make believe world. There are only two types of road user the community must have. Walkers & drivers. Cycling is too recent and limited to have played any part in nation building.

    1. Keith, Most people in London do not drive to the station. There are not parking stations at tube stations and it is very limited at major train stations. People buy or rent their properties based on how close they are to local transport links, be that train stations, bus stops, tube stations or tram stops.

      I do not know of any one that drives their car to their local train station within zone 5 of the London network.

      I'll add that your comment "for those with the sad disability of not being able to understand simple statements of truth" The reason people where questioning what you said is because your comments where a. not simple statements and b. where not founded on truth. Perhaps you should look at why people make good comments and try and adapt your writing / explanation skills around it. It would create a more enjoyable reading experience here :) Good day to you.

    2. Oh do read please. Most commuters come from way off and yes drive to stations and most in the suburbs work in London but depend on cars. London couldn't operate without drivers but doesn't depend on cyclists.

      So you deny the simple statement at the head of this piece? If so yes you are very sad and possibly in denial.

  6. If your argument is - without any form of motorised transport, we all die - you are over simplifying the issue.

    Community/ society can exist with our retired people and musicians, but if they need medical care I'm glad we have system that provides for them.

    No one is advocating the removal of cars. People are saying that car drivers have a duty of care.

  7. You cannot 'over simplify' a fact. You second para is not clear. But all systems depend on motor transport, including private.

    No-one argues about the responsibility of car users and they are aware of their duty of care that's why road accidents and casualties are so low given the high mileage.

    The precedence and importance aspect isn't in response to there being the removal of cars at all but usually in reaction to cyclist statements.

    For example Road CC just published in response to the news that pedestrians casualties from cyclists is high to the effect that from motor vehicles it's higher. Response? 1) In MV accidents pedestrians are 75% to blame 2) Yes but drivers keep us all alive and healthy so they preserve far more than they kill and injure and they are essential to the community. Why does explaining the virtues and importance of drivers upset certain cyclists so much? The attitude is that being pro driver translates to being anti cyclists. I cannot help that.

  8. sorry - was late when i was typing that. it's not as important as this

    "Yes but drivers keep us all alive and healthy so they preserve far more than they kill and injure and they are essential to the community."

    Holy shit KP. You wonder why some cyclists respond badly/ aggressively to your points? You've basically just said that its ok for a driver to kill a cyclist/ pedestrian because overall they are more important to the community and they do more good than harm.

    What about a driver who kills another driver? Should they be punished more several because they have removed an essential member of the community?

    Should people be ok with the casualty/ death rates from motor vehicles?

    The point you frequently miss is that the vehicles we use are not as important as the functions performed by the people on/ in them. Most cyclists you interact with are asking for a safer mix, you are saying bikes shouldn't be on the road. Can you see the difference? People are suggesting that more can be done to make the roads safer. Surely you think things like seat belts, air bags, abs, high mounted brake lights, MOTs etc are necessary? So why not more safety measures? Why not look at the infrastructure to allow safer journeys for all?

  9. Well of course when humans mingle with essential machines there will be death and injury but it's not banned like guns because it keeps all of us alive and we depend on it.

    You have sidetracked from the simple statement again. It's not
    about individuals and what they do but road transport modes. Only walkiing and driving are needed by the community. I dont say ban cycling at all but am entited to note reality.

    Anyway thanks for your input.

  10. You do know, Keith, why UK cyclists are more likely to be wearing lycra that their continental cousins? Isn't it something to do with DfT guidance, and your own remarks, about cyclists having to cope with the roads as they are? As DfT approved book 'Cyclecraft' makes plain, the whole idea is they are supposed to be bleedin athletes, so as not to impede traffic. So, you are asking them to be quick of the mark, on the one hand, and abusing them for wearing the kind of kit that goes with that 'vehicular cycling' approach, on the other. Isn't that a bit odd?

    BTW, Have you read 'CycleCraft'? Given your level of interest in the 'fad' of cycling, one might think you'd make the time to study your enemy, as it were, and read up what the Department for Transport is telling cyclists to do these days.

    1. Hi T. I use the terms Lycra & Spandex to save a lot of time describing a type of cyclist. It isn't a criticism of their clothing and I really don't care what people wear. As I point out that there isn't much point having a powerful sports car or motor bike and not driving them accordingly. The same with cycling. Not much point in rigging one'self as a Bradley Wiggins then riding nice upright and sedately a la Copenhagen or Brugges is there? I don't think I expect them to be 'quick off the mark'

      I am a cyclist and they are not an enemy of mine. However they have designated me as such just because I state the case of drivers. It seems that in many, pro driver comment causes rage and translates to being anti cyclist too. As in your post, the rage is based on something I haven't written at all, often invented to justify rage.

      Why should I need to know 'CycleCraft'? Does it advise dominating the road and imposing cycle speed on others? If so then it really isn't very useful.

  11. That's a bit unfair, isn't it? Nothing I wrote that comes over as 'rage', is there?

    I just wondered, given that 'cycling' has it's own heading on this website/blog thingy -and you have a lot to say about road safety and cycling- whether you had read the Department for Transport handbook on the matter?

    I'm pretty sure wondering about that isn't 'rage'. Maybe, if you read it, and it was obvious it gave bad advice, you'd be able to criticise the nonsense in detail, you know, citing chapter and verse? That could really help you get through to the AA, don't you think?

    I'm not sure that 'CycleCraft' advises "imposing cycle speed on others". I think it tells you to facilitate safe overtaking whenever possible, which is more or less what the Highway Code advises, isn't it? Which is a good thing, as they are published by the same lot.

    I suppose all the detail and interest in the book is, in what does and doesn't constitute a safe move. But's just up your street, isn't it? You take an interest in debates about safety, don't you?

  12. You have not read my reply. It is saddling me with remarks I haven't made, as you have, on which most of the rage and insult directed at me is based that wasn't suggesting you were in rage.

    I am not a cycling expert although I have been cycling for about sixty seven years, much of it London commuting but I wasn't ever a professional. I really have no interest in Cycle Craft at all and this blog is not specifically about cycling but matters driving which happens to include negotiating cyclists. Naturally I have the right to answer cyclist's moans, complaints, demands etc on drivers, including calls for their prosecution and even jail.It is apparent that cyclists are not tolerant of opposition at all.

    Your long responses do not address the point of this post. To lay out my true and real statement at the top as opposed to the continuously invented version by pro cycle anti driver lobbyists who then go on to ridicule their own invented version without addressing what I do say.

    It's a tactic that is not only dishonest and does no credit to cyclists but in the life and death matter of road safety, a distortion of truth can be and often is fatal. I am afraid that dealing with dishonest cyclist comment takes up more of my time than I would wish or expect since there's much more to driving problems and road safety than just cycling and cyclists.

    You either accept that there are only two classes of road user that society must have on the road and that's walkers and drivers or you don't. It seems only cyclists are finding that impossible to accept. That isn't my problem though.

  13. It's not like I'm saying that without reading up 'Cyclecraft' you haven't a clue what you are talking about. I just mean that, when you want to hold cyclists to account for breaking the rules, 'Cyclecraft' would be a really good source book to help you do that.

    On the other thing, sorry -looks like I misunderstood you. When you said "As in your post, the rage is based on something I haven't written at all, often invented to justify rage" - I thought you were saying that there was rage in my post. Thanks for putting me right about that, and to get ahead of you I'll just take it as read that when you seem to accuse me of dishonest tactics in your follow-up, that isn't quite what you meant there, either.

    About what its for you the fundamental point:
    "You either accept that there are only two classes of road user that society must have on the road and that's walkers and drivers or you don't."

    -I'm a bit unclear.

    Is that true of "society" just absolutely, like, all societies everywhere?

    Or are you saying it's true of *this* society?

    There are certainly lots of societies where, although they do need drivers, they also need cyclists as well- would completely fall apart without them. Actually, sometimes when you talk about Bumper-to-Bumper conditions, you seem to be agreeing with that very point. I mean, you seem to allow that cyclists could be 'essential' not just in Amsterdam and Copenhagen and all those foreign places, but maybe even in London, too! Do you remember? You said you used to commute on two wheels in town, and that was probably an essential commute, wasn't it.

    Now, if you are saying that it is only the present society of the East Midlands and some similar places in which "essential" road users boil down to just walkers and drivers, then hey - I think you are almost agreeing with all those people who you think you are arguing against! I've heard them say almost the same thing. Not enough 'Utility Cycling', they say, before going on to suggest some way of making it easier to grandma to go to the beach on a bike.

    That's a consoling thought, isn't it? I mean, that maybe you secretly agree with these people, after all?

  14. Generally I am talking about our society and especially where we have such a vociferous and challenging Cycle Lobby which seems to be unique in terms of style and is unlike the EU sedate upright, or our equivalent say in Oxford or Cambridge. But perhaps there actually isn't a society that would collapse without cyclists anyway because none were ever built on manpowered transport but would still rely on horse, donkey or bullock.

    No I don't agree that cyclists would ever be essential in London, Coopenhagen or Amsterdam. No my cycling commute was never essential thank God. It's far too demanding in blizzard, Ice, snow and high winds. Thank God society never needs cyclists in bad weather.

    No the statement stands on all roads, not just the East Midlands. There are only two kinds of road user that we must have or we die and that is walkers and drivers. We must base all roads policy and expenditure on that basis. That isn't to say 'no cyclists' but that cyclist's demands must be considered in that context. Basically, 'They like it or get off and no-one would care'.

    Of course cyclists hate me for opening up that aspect up but to try to ridicule it and pretend it isn't valid comment worthy of consideration does them no justice. It's not their call anyway. I am putting it to the decision makers. The Cycle Lobby cannot expect only their case to be listened to.

  15. "Why are horses still being ridden or driven on UKs roads in 2014?' "
    Until the brewery closed Young's still used Drays to deliver in and around Wandsworth. This wasn't as a sense of tradition and because it looked nice, it was because it was the most efficient and economical means of making local deliveries.

    1. Yes I remember them fondly but they were a gimmick even then. Youngs sold beer all over London but their drays were only local and very costly to maintain too. Had Youngs had the choice drays or lorries,even then they would've chosen lorries.

      So if that is the nearest we can get as an example why we still have horses on the roads in 2014, a long discarded and obsolete advertising gimmick, I rest my case.

      BTW Whitbreads another London brewer did the same and still does I believe.Romantic? Yes of course. They keep the Lord Mayor's coach and it's their horses that pull it in The Lord Mayor's Show.