By Kevin Emery – Posted on 30 October 2009
Eco-friendly saviours of the planet or self-regarding maniacs who represent hazard to road safety? That’s how British political magazine The Spectator is billing a debate it’s holding in London on the topic ‘Cyclists are a menace’. It will be held at Savoy Place on Monday, November 30. And cyclists are being urged to attend to have their say.
The debate couldn’t have come at a better time after the recent comments condemning cyclists contained in a House of Commons response to a National Audit Offic report on pedestrian and cyclist safety, not to mention the uproar surrounding TV chef James Martin’s anit-cyclist comments in the Mail on Sunday a couple of months ago, and it should be a lively affair.
It will be chaired by BBC political presenter Andrew Neil, and speakers against the motion include ex-Labour MP and former London mayor Ken Livingstone, London editor of the Telegraph Media Group and daily cyclist Andrew Gilligan, and Andrew Gimson, parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Telegraph and author of Boris – The Rise of Boris Johnson.
Speakers for the motion are Labour MP Stephen Pound, author and Daily mail journalist David Thomas, and Baroness Sharples. Government policymakers will also be attending to find out the thoughts of the grassroots audience.
The debate starts at 6pm and runs until 8.30pm, and seating is limited so it’s recommended you book, and tickets are £25. To book visit the Spectator website.
MPs responded to the National Audit Office report by calling for a clamp down on anti social cycling, and Tory MP David Curry’s said that some cyclists were: “irresponsible and arrogant road users” and that many people believed they took no notice of red lights and believed traffic cones were “not for them”.
“We seem to regard cyclists as living in some sort of superior moral category when they actually do not have any.”
Whichever way the debate goes the fact that is happening at all can be seen as another sign that cycling is entering the mainstream no doubt 100 years ago they could well have have hosted a debate on whether “Motorists are a menace” we wonder how it went.