It probably wasn’t needed but if anything epitomises the disconnect between ‘normal’ people and the metropolitan elite, it’s the ‘temporary COVID’ cycles lanes that are causing traffic chaos in many cities around the country including Hove and Worthing.
We appear to be run by a Government pandering to the unelected politically correct do-gooding liberals who seem to have taken over virtually all our national institutions and most of the media and shout loudest on social media, even though any political party promoting their policies are resoundingly rejected at the polls.
You can only imagine that some bright spark came up with the idea to tie in with Boris’ soundbite of the economy growing back ‘stronger and greener’. All very laudable but to the many town centre shops and businesses on their knees due to COVID, survival rather than ‘green’ is the priority, not keeping grumpy Greta and her Extinction Rebellion mates happy.
Given the local outrage (and evident lack of use), you would hope common sense will prevail in Worthing but in Brighton and Hove you wonder if the only thing temporary about ‘Temporary Cycle Lanes’ is the word temporary.
It doesn’t take much for friction to emerge between motorists and cyclists and the cycle lanes have done the trick. Motorists complain that cyclists often break the rules (go through red lights), don’t bother to use cycle lanes when provided and don’t pay road tax or have to have insurance.
As a driver, but also a keen cyclist, it is difficult to disagree, but the flipside is some drivers don’t give you enough room and many cycle paths (which are often poorly maintained with pot holes, vegetation and debris), also have frequent stops and are only suitable for leisure cycling rather than cycling at any sort of pace.
Cyclists are obviously more vulnerable and there have been bids to move to ‘strict liability’ where the motorist is automatically liable if a cyclist is injured but should a motorist really be blamed when a cyclist has no lights, is wearing dark clothes, no helmet, earphones in and no hands on the handlebars as they play with their mobiles. Another issue is where cyclists cause the accident, and unlike motorists with number plates, there is no means of identification, so it would be more difficult to enforce things like compulsory insurance. I have seen suggestions that cyclist wear a bib with a registered number but good luck with that.
The truth is probably most of us can feel that ‘we own the road’ when behind the wheel but are generally fairly sensible and reasonable. Likewise, cyclists can have a similar attitude to pedestrians. Most problems will be caused by the real idiots (drivers and cyclists) who won’t abide by any rules, so even the brightest spark will struggle with a solution for them.