Tuesday 4 July 2017

Victim Blaming Cambridge Police Launch 'Share the Road' attack

So in many ways Cambridge is the capital of British cycling - we've a higher cycling modal share than other cities, we've a history and culture of cycling.

But lets be clear - our police service, local authorities, and indeed our new Greater Cambridge Partnership (a re-branding of Greater Cambridge City Deal - that name being damaged goods after numerous terrible schemes already on the ground) remain entirely hostile to cycling and primarily focused on facilitating motoring.

Take, for example, Green End Road. They've put paint on the road and thats it basically - you can legally block the narrow bike lane by parking your car and be certain that as you skim cyclists elbows whizzing past the absurdly narrow bike lane well above the speed limit, the Cops won't give a toss, and as a result 20mph limits have had no impact in Cambridge.

If you really want a single, simple snap-shot of our victim blaming culture look at this:

Lets take this apart. 

Cyclists are harmed disproportionately on the roads of this county. There are numerous ways to respond to this, of course - most rationally we could look at what does harm to cyclists and police it. Since West Midlands Police kicked off Operation Close Pass and started proactively policing for cyclist safety their campaign has been taken on by numerous other forces - with hugely positive press for doing so. But here in Cambridge we can't even get the cops to pursue motorists with crystal clear video evidence of wrongdoing

So, sadly, our police have not responded to this problem by saying they'll police in the interest of reducing road danger for cyclists - they've told us to #sharetheroad. The mutual respect fallacy. This bizarre idea that we somehow don't respect motorists so its all our own fault. The idea we're not sharing, we're not playing nice. Its complete bollocks, of course.

And best of all, they're reinforcing this vacuous message with an (un-commented) photograph of a van, crossing the solid white line en route to the blind crest of a the bridge on Mill Road, thus overtaking a lady carrying a child on the back of her bike (she's blameless here). And, comically, to really make sure we know our place, they've chosen a shot of a vehicle belonging to Cambridge City Council to show this point. Yep, a local authority van driver taking a liberty with cyclist safety.

Share The Road, they say. With drivers overtaking over solid white lines on the blind crest of a bridge in vehicles belonging to your local authority, and we as your Police force are so clueless about road safety we'll tweet this photographic evidence of bad driving not only without comment but we'll use it in a victim-blaming response to the shocking rate of cyclist injuries which we'll do absolutely nothing about.

We tend to get over-excited about the occasional bit of decent but ultimately disconnected cycle route in Cambridge. We could foolishly believe that we're an exception. But we're not - if anything, the reliance that the City Council has on car-parking fees and the Blue-Rinse Fenlanders who dominate the County Council mean that we're a more car-sick city than most. But if you really want evidence of how we're treated, look at that tweet from the Police force. They don't exactly hate us, they simply think everything is our own fault. They are motorists - we're policed by, and for, drivers. 

Go on, Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Prove me wrong. Prove us all wrong. Shake off #badlyparkedbike, and lets see you take on #OperationClosePass. 

Will they do that? Will they feck.

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