Its a little sad that the BBC seem to be completely failing to debate the "Tweet and Run" event very clearly or in any informed manner. They have a policy of getting the random person on the street to respond. Here is a classic example of someone who has some understanding of the underlying issues ending up against someone who seems to believe that if you say things loudly enough they become true.
Here is the Jeremy Vine Show where Jeremy saw the important thing was to keep goading people into shouting others down, almost as much as he did. He seemingly wanted to get stuck in the tittle-tattle of the debate, and not go anyway near trying to find and inform some of the more cogent points. That is getting the UK into a place where we have mutual respect for our individual transport mode choice.
First, if you haven't, sign The Times Cyclesafe petition. If you are a taxpayer, parent, driver, or commuter it'll help you as well.
There are some simple things around this debate.
- There is no 'road tax'. It doesn't exist. The tax disc on vehicles is designed as a tax on pollution caused. The money it raises does not pay for road maintenance. Council tax and government grants do.
- 'Car tax' does roughly raise the same amount of money that the NHS spends on assisting with poluution-caused illnesses. If the same tax was levied on bicycles, they would be zero-rated, just like many low-emission cars already. And would cost millions to administer, paid for by those with polluting cars.
- Actually driving a car is subsidised in this country. Looking at all the costs caused by motor vehicles (including pollution, other health issues like obesity, road damage caused by cars, congestion) against that raised by driving and there's a £10bn shortfall.
- Money spent on cycling infrastructure saves vasts amount of money. In the short term it invigorates local businesses and reduces congestion. In the long term it makes massive health savings.
- Most people (over 80%) who ride a bike, also drive a car. In fact, a higher percentage of people than the general population.
- People driving kill and seriously injured 100 more times than people riding bikes. We need to train ourselves better, especially when in control of heavy, fast machines. Or even better, decide that segregated infrastructure will save and encourage more.
- As a percentage, people driving go through red lights just as much as people riding but kill and injure many more.
- People want to cycle but find the road environment far too scary. They ride on the pavements. Many pavements have been converted for shared-use which makes it legal in those places.
- Helmets and Hi-viz do not make people riding any safer. Helmets would make car passengers safer though.
- Lorries turning left at lights is a disproportionate cause of urban cycling deaths. Usually it is the drivers fault failing to indicate or properly look.
Multiple sources from my page: http://radwagon.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/common-misconceptions-on-road.html
I Pay Road Tax: IPayRoadTax.com
The Times Cyclesafe campaign: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety
The Guardian Bike Blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog
The Telegraph Recreational Cycling: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/active/recreational-cycling/
European Cyclist's Federation: http://www.ecf.com/