If you’re a cyclist involved in a crash, don’t stick around
John Stevenson
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The first thing that must be said is that this whole affair is a great tragedy for the victim and her family. It is difficult to imagine the loss they have suffered and will continue to experience for a very long time. It seems disrespectful to discuss around the case so soon after its ending, but as John rightly points out, this was a highly political trial and it will need to be analysed in detail over the next few months. Having said that, I’m not sure much is to be gained from re-running the trial as such. As we’ve already seen on twitter within minutes of John publishing the blog, whatever is said about the trial will be interpreted as a defence of Alliston — who is temporarily occupying the role of being the British nation’s public enemy number one. Not having read a proper report of the trial it is actually difficult to come to a sound judgment about Alliston from the lurid press and TV reporting. The more important issue immediately is whether the calls for a ‘review’ of the law come to fruition or not. It is difficult to see that any review would actually do anything to improve safety for cyclists or for pedestrians for that matter and is much more likely to do damage to cycling, perhaps by recommending compulsory helmets and high-vis. We may need to respond to an onslaught. On the other hand, it is possible that the heat of the moment will dissipate and the trial slip from public memory. But this does feel like a bad atmosphere which will sour our alrady slim prospects of bringing local authorities on board with the radical changes we need in the state of UK cycling (and indeed) walking conditions. We suffer very badly as transport cyclist lobbyists from the unwieldy clump of lobbying organisations we have in the UK. Thishas weakened our efforts and could now be our undoing. I don’t know what to do about it, but there are too many organisations all calling their own tune. We need to do better that that, but institutional inertia and maintenance of power bases rules it out.