Anti-Cyclist Bias in the UK

The Independent

Bob Mionske, author of Bicycling & The Law, has extensively covered anti-cyclist bias here in the U.S. I’d assumed this was an issue unique to our country, but according to a recent article in the Independent, bicyclists in the U.K. are also underprotected by their police and court system. From the article:

Debra Rolfe, the campaign co-ordinator for CTC, said: “We don’t think the law does enough to protect cyclists. There are a lot of areas where the law frequently does let down cyclists — whether at the level of the police failing to collect enough evidence to the CPS not prosecuting or the courts often convicting to a lesser offence.

“This needs to change because it’s becoming clear that cycling is the answer to many of society’s ills — whether that be climate change, obesity or improving busy roads. Cyclists need to be treated like they belong on the roads.”

This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed wherever it exists.

Read the full article
Mionske on Bias
More Mionske on Bias

3 Responses to “Anti-Cyclist Bias in the UK”

  • Tucker says:

    “This needs to change because it’s becoming clear that cycling is the answer to many of society’s ills – whether that be climate change, obesity or improving busy roads.”

    I understand this position, but I disagree. Things need to change because unfair bias in matters of law is immoral, regardless of whether the person is riding a bike (or has a particular skin color or is of a particular age or gender). What is likely happening in the UK is like what happens in the U.S. – lousy and hegemonic prejudice guiding decisions of law enforcement and the courts. What it highlights is just how much the law (and things pertaining to the law) are still very human in nature and thus are subject to the uncritical whims of those who wield power and have the responsibility to enforce the law. I agree with the arguments that promote cycling for health and a better planet, and I think cyclists should be praised for those things, but they should be treated fairly in terms of the law and protection because cyclists are human beings and citizens and they should enjoy the rights they deserve.

  • Doug P says:

    @Tucker Wow. Well said. I would have said the treatment of cyclists in the US, and apparently in the UK as well, mirrors society as a whole, and speaks to a long tradition of mistreatment of minorities…which is the central problem confronting Democratic societies…how to prevent Democracy from becoming the “dictatorship of the majority”. For example, in a “pure” Democracy, if the brown eyed people, who are in the majority, decided that all blue-eyed people should be rounded up and killed, what’s to prevent that? Fortunately, we have evolved a complicated system, with checks and balances, which to some degree tamps down this tendency to tyrannize minorities. Those who promote above all else “the will of the people”, and decry the power of our precious checks and balances are falling into the trap of tyrannic thinking.

  • Phil says:

    I am routinely threatened and abused by motorists on my daily commute*, both verbally and by using the vehicle to attempt to intimidate me. I cycle safely, anticipate likely trouble and refuse to be intimidated. The police do little or nothing to curb poor driving or illegal parking ( which frequently creates hazards ) by motorists in my experience.
    *Curiously, less so around town- more potential witnesses…

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