A new proposal from the Department of Transport recommends a 15mph speed limit to help protect cyclists. It's a pedal revolution in the right direction, says Chris Harvey
I admit I was taken aback earlier this week when the Department of Transport released a proposal for designated “cycle streets” in cities.
All too often, the narrative around cycle safety focuses negatively on cyclists' behaviour. Take, for example, MP Kate Hoey (who once labelled cyclists "law-breaking lycra louts"), who now thinks that cyclists should have to pay for safety measures to protect them from motorists. Or Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin's suggestion that cyclists have to "do their bit" to make the roads safer. Even Boris Johnson, who is normally admirably pro-cycling, copped flack from the cycling community after appearing to suggest that a series of fatalities on London's roads was down to "very risky" cycling manoeuvres.
So it's genuinely refreshing to see a proposal that aims to make the roads fundamentally safer for people to use. The plan would see cyclists given priority over motorists on “lightly trafficked roads where cycle flows are high”. A 15mph speed limit would be imposed, along with a potential £100 fine (and three penalty points) for overtaking a cyclist.
Quite frankly, it’s about time this kind of measure was introduced.