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Appalling DfT THINK! video

The DfT today published what must be one of the worst 'road safety' videos ever. Titled 'THINK! Cycle Safety: Hang back from lorries turning left', it shows various examples of 'things you shouldn't get caught between', including two boxers punching each other, and, in a gratuitously gory scene, a butcher chopping meat.

The video shows a lorry turning left and apparently crushing a cyclist. It is unclear whether the person on the bike undertook the lorry, or if the lorry overtook the cyclist before turning left, but the message is: 'Don't get caught between a lorry and a left turn'. 

Most experienced cyclists are already cautious around large vehicles, and the message will be wasted on them. More importantly, the video appears to give a licence to the drivers of vehicles which can kill vulnerable road users, to drive as aggressively and carelessly as they want: 'don't worry, it's not you who will end up dead, and the government is on your side', is my interpretation.

It should be pointed out that infrastructure which is used in towns and cities around the country - left hand cycle lanes leading to Advanced Stop Zones for cyclists - encourage people on bikes to pass to the left hand side of traffic at lights.

Chris Boardman accused the DfT of making death fun, and called the campaign 'desperately midguided'. 

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones is the Minister in the DfT responsible for road safety, and for cycling. He has recently taken on the cycling brief, and it seems an inauspicious start. It can only be hoped that he wasn't directly involved in producing this offensive film, and that he will apologise promptly, and take action to undo the damage it has caused.

As a final thought, would anyone think it appropriate to make a film about a tube passenger being torn limb from limb by an Underground train, in support of a 'mind the gap' campaign? I suggest it's very unlikely. It seems it's fine to imagine a person being crushed or ripped apart, but only if they happen to be riding a bike at the time - otherwise, it would be unacceptable. It should be unacceptable in all circumstances.

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Station Parade has worst air quality in Harrogate district

15th September 2016

Station Parade taxi rank, Harrogate

Harrogate's air quality deteriorated in 2015. The worst single location for nitrogen dioxide pollution is the taxi rank on Station Parade, Harrogate. Read about Station Parade has worst air quality in Harrogate.

Use part of sugar tax for active travel to school, campaigners urge

17th September 2016

In a letter to the Guardian, campaigners have urged the government to commit the unallocated part of the sugar tax to enabling children to walk or cycle to school. Sam Jones of Cycling UK explains that only £169m of the total £520m expected to be raised has so far been allocated. 

The letter points out that only 2% of children go to school by bike, and 41% walk. Sugar tax funds could be used to strengthen the governement's cycling and walking strategy. Walking or cycling to school builds physical activity into a daily routine. 'During the Olympics, the government showed what can be achieved through substantial investment in sport. Now let us invest in more than just gold medals, by funding the health and prosperity of our next generation.' 

The letter's signatories include the Chief Executives of the British Liver Trust, Cycling UK, Sustrans, and the Royal Society for Public Health.

Station Parade taxi rank, HarrogateChris BoardmanStation Parade, Harrogate

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