Sunday, 20 September 2009

Guilty until proven... guilty

The government, desperate to prove its green credentials is seriously considering a controversial plan to make motorists automatically liable in crashes involving bikes or pedestrians. The proposal is particularly insidious as there are many instances where cyclists are to blame for crashes, as in the case of red light jumping. However the government, having failed to persuade the requisite number of people to take to their bikes has fallen upon its default option of trying to change society by changing the law.

Clashes between cars and cyclists are common in London, which has actually seen a large rise in the number of people taking to the bike. The government's rather ropey logic has allowed it to conclude that it is therefore fine to blame the car driver. And so it has charged the transport secretary, Lord Adonis, with the task of formulating a policy that would blame the motorist, even when the cyclist was quite clearly to blame.

A spokesman for the Department of Transport said: "There is nothing wrong with this policy. By stating that the guilty can be considered innocent, the government is doing nothing new. It has itself been claiming total innocence in cases where it is plainly guilty for some years now. So we are very much at home with this policy." However a spokeman for a leading motoring organisation responded by saying: "Bad policy-making is almost the norm for this government, that thinks that you can change virtually anything in society by changing the law... It is clear that the wheels came off this Government some time ago."