Saturday, 5 April 2008

The news

A police investigation is under way after a Conservative MP knocked over a cyclist with his 4x4 outside Parliament. Chelmsford West Conservative MP Simon Burns collided with the male cyclist as he drove his Range Rover out of the House of Commons.

The collision sent the cyclist into the air before he landed face down outside the gates yesterday evening. The man, in his twenties, was airlifted to Royal London Hospital with serious injuries but is now in a stable condition and expected to make a full recovery.

An environment protester in Parliament Square, who witnessed the accident-said: "The car came out pretty fast and he obviously didn't see the cyclist who was just going along with the traffic. "The cyclist tried to brake but his front wheel locked. He went over his handlebars and hit the wing of the car before falling on the ground in front of the car.


Transport for London's road safety policy was today labelled "unacceptable" by the father of a cyclist killed by a lorry.

Peter Wright said TfL should have taken action at a junction in King's Cross before his daughter Madeleine, 26, was crushed to death there while travelling to work.

Her inquest, held at St Pancras coroner's court, heard there had been 22 collisions at the traffic lights in the three years before Miss Wright's death on 9 March last year.

These were classed as "slight collisions" resulting in minor injuries at worst. They involved nine cyclists and 13 pedestrians. Chris Lines, head of TfL's Road Safety Unit, told the inquest that despite the number of "slight collisions" at the junction it was not deemed a high priority and changes were not made due to budget constraints.


County council statistics show one serious crash and five injuries within the last five years close to the school, but a spokesman said this was not enough to take action.


Sacks of money and hours of political rhetoric have been devoted by the Mayor to the environment and climate change. But London's C02 emissions have actually risen since 2003, while the UK's overall have been flat. Air quality in London has fallen on Ken's watch.

Do you know of any political party that has a policy on subways? Subways are a symptom of a transport system that forces pedestrians and cyclists underground and gives priority to motor vehicles. Subways end up being squalid, dirty and unpleasant places, which can result in violent attacks on cyclists.

It happens every day. But the moral panic that accompanies killing with knives is not matched by any overt concern for this sort of violent death. Cars kill more young people than knives, including an 11 year-old, another 11 year-old, an 8 year old, A 14-year-old and a 22 months old toddler. And you can hardly have avoided seeing a big news story that 5 people died in a plane crash. But you probably didn’t even notice 4 killed in a car crash.

Will Self is feeling better:

I've written before that I view driving as basically an addiction, and nothing has proved this to me more starkly than giving up the car altogether. I thought I'd experience dreadful-cold turkey - but instead I've felt only the liberation of no longer being hectored by signs and lines.


The decision to sentence a drink driver who was six times over the limit to four months in jail has been condemned by campaigners. The Campaign Against Drinking and Driving (CADD) said he should have been given the maximum six-month sentence. Carole Whittingham, from CADD, said it was the worst case of drink and driving that the group had heard of.

She said: "What sort of message is that sending out? The sentencing powers are there. The problem is magistrates are not using them to full effect. "People like this man are being brought to court time and time again and effectively getting slapped on the wrist."

More leniency in Scotland, where

Airdrie Sheriff Court had heard that Anwar was caught driving at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Glasgow, fast enough to qualify for instant disqualification. Anwar admitted the offence, but Sheriff John C. Morris accepted his plea not to be banned and allowed him to keep his licence. Instead, he was fined £200 and given six penalty points.

Lorna Jackson, from the road safety charity Brake, called the decision "astonishing". She said: "Regardless of the number of wives or businesses this man drives to, he broke a law which is there to protect everyone. "Travelling just a few miles over the limit in a 30mph zone can be the difference between life and death if you hit someone, let alone driving at more than twice the speed limit. For the courts to allow someone to keep their licence when they have so blatantly flouted the law and put peoples' lives at risk, on the basis of an excuse such as this, is astonishing."

Lastly, look who’s been spotted parking in a disabled bay.