Sur­vey sparks hi-vis de­bate

Hal­fords re­port gar­ners strong opposition

Cycling Weekly - - Contents -

Hal­fords and a govern­ment min­is­ter both found them­selves on the re­ceiv­ing end of a pub­lic back­lash last week as they sep­a­rately sug­gested cy­clists could be forced to wear hi-vis, hel­mets and even have number plates.

The Hal­fords re­port en­ti­tled Shar­ing the Road 2017, was based on a sur­vey con­ducted for it by polling or­gan­i­sa­tion Yougov, which found 59 per cent of peo­ple backed the in­tro­duc­tion of number plates for cy­clists.

Per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly this prompted a strong re­ac­tion from cy­clists who started the hash­tag #boy­cotthal­fords across so­cial me­dia. Twit­ter user Hamish Den­ton’s com­ment was typ­i­cal: “Just caught up with what Hal­fords have been up to. So dis­ap­pointed. Cre­at­ing self-serv­ing re­search that whips up di­vi­sion.”

Mean­while, roads min­is­ter Jesse Nor­man got sim­i­lar short shrift when he said, in an in­ter­view with The Guardian on Fri­day, that the govern­ment’s road safety re­view would con­sider whether cy­clists should be made to wear hi-vis cloth­ing and hel­mets.

Nor­man said that the re­view would “ask very gen­eral ques­tions and if the feed­back is that we should con­sider that stuff, then we’ll look at it” and pledged that con­clu­sions would be led by the ev­i­dence.

He added: “Ob­vi­ously there will be some peo­ple who feel very strongly that there should be hi-vis, and there will be plenty of peo­ple who think strongly the other way. It’ll be the same with hel­mets. The lit­er­a­ture on risk is quite a wellde­vel­oped one, I don’t need to tell you.”

But Bri­tish Cy­cling cam­paign man­ager Martin Key said the re­view should “fo­cus on is­sues that re­duce the source of road dan­ger, which is mainly the in­fra­struc­ture and mo­tor traf­fic”.

He added: “The terms of ref­er­ence of the re­view need draft­ing so that dog-whis­tle is­sues like hi-vis and hel­mets — that re­duce the num­bers of peo­ple cy­cling and make no dis­cernible dif­fer­ence to safety — re­main off the agenda.”

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