We have now come to the end of a terrific summer of cycling (well almost, I hope to catch some of the Tour of Britain this Sunday). The day of Bradley Wiggins's triumph in the Olympic Time Trial at Hampton Court was deeply marred by the death of Dan Harris outside the Olympic Park. It was also the day I attended the sentencing of Joao Lopes at Isleworth Crown Court. Wiggins is rightly a sporting super-hero so I will say no more than that his comments at a press conference that evening on cyclists' safety headed in a seriously wrong direction.
It is though important that the momentum of this exceptional summer is sustained to encourage cycling not only (or even principally) as a sport but as an everyday activity that is beneficial on so many levels. This requires cycling to be not only objectively safe but subjectively perceived to be safe by the masses, who hear about far too many cyclist deaths and listen to Bradley Wiggins and Jon Snow refer to cycling as 'dangerous'.
Fortunately the balance has been redressed by another sporting hero, Chris Boardman, who was on the radio last week talking sense about cycling, the risks and how we should be focusing upon improving the cycling environment. I liked his analogy that if there is gun-fire on the streets do you deal with it by issuing body armour (otherwise you can hardly complain can you if you have not done everything to protect yourself?) or do you deal with the problem at source?
I have had numerous problems with my dealings with the criminal justice system as regular readers will recall. I am not alone, many others in far more serious cases have been dismayed at the frequent failure in the criminal justice system to play the part that it should in ensuring a safer cycling environment. It is essential that those who kill, maim, injure, endanger or threaten cyclists are brought to account by our criminal justice system.
I am therefore writing to my MP, in response to British Cycling's call, asking him to support Julian Huppert's Early Day Motion. I invite you to do the same. Sad to say but without such pressure calls, even from British Cycling, fall on deaf ears whatever the Government's publicly professed sentiments.