CTC launches campaign for ‘Road Justice’

12.00 | 8 October 2013 | | 7 comments

CTC, the national cycling charity, has published a map showing the areas of the UK where drivers have the highest number of penalty points, and is calling on the public to support its ‘Road Justice’ campaign.

The map of Great Britain is divided into postcodes and allows users to see what percentage of drivers have penalty points in any particular area.

CTC says that in some locations, like Glasgow, Liverpool and south Dorset, more drivers are being caught breaking the law and as a result a high proportion have penalty points. CTC also highlights other areas – such as east Kent, the Isle of Wight, Devon and Cornwall – where it says fewer drivers are being caught.

While this may be a result of different standards of driving and different demographics, CTC says it is “mostly a result of the number of, and resources for, road traffic police”.

The map and an accompanying petition are part of CTC’s ‘Road Justice’ campaign (formerly known as Stop-SMIDSY) which aims to address the “far too common attitude that simply saying ‘Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You’ somehow erases an act of bad driving”.

Through Road Justice, CTC says it is seeking to make roads in the UK “safer for all road users by encouraging the police, the prosecution services and the courts to put policies and practices in place which demonstrate that bad driving is being taken seriously and being actively discouraged”.

CTC says the number of traffic police has reduced by 29% in the last 10 years, and is encouraging people to sign the Road Justice petition which asks police forces to make a pledge to improve roads policing in their area.


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    Flawed from the beginning – the number of drivers with penalty points will depend far more on roads policing of all types, and undeed on the availability of points-free courses than on differences in driving skills from one area to another.

    Two more causes of SMIDSY:

    • Thicker windscreen pillars, that probably cost far more lives and limbs than are saved in (very rare) accidents in which vehicles overturn.

    • Motion induced blindness – a visual problem well understood in aviation but more or less ignored on the roads – the plain truth is that in many such accidents drivers are simply not to blame, because they have never been made aware of the problem or how to avoid it. See http://www.fightbackwithfacts.com/motion-induced-blindness-sorry-mate-i-didnt-see-you-and-why/

    How about a TV documentary about it – could be very effective and very cost-effective. And also in awareness courses?

    Idris Francis Fight Back With Facts Petersfield
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    In the interests of rosad safety and good behaviour on the roads, I presume the CTC wouldn’t object to cyclists being registered so that their own misdemeanours on the road don’t go unchecked? If a cyclist was spotted riding through a red light, any reason why he/she shouldn’t incur points on their driving license, if they had one?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    You are just about bang-on with most of it Bob, but the perceptual problems you have outlined are hardly unproven. There are of course many more reasons why people have such difficulty in ‘seeing’ bikes and cycles, but essentially they do not have an easily rotatable schema in the human memory (they look entirely different from head on than they do from side on) and so the only way they can be detected is if and when they exhibit anomalous movement relative to the visual field. There is rarely any evil intent by the motorists involved in this type of collision and to suggest that everybody involved is a bad person/driver is entirely wrong.

    If the CTC want a safer system then they will have to realise that you can’t just punish the odd miscreant within that system in the vain hope that it will somehow improve it (bad apple theory), but instead they will have to understand why people’s actions made sense to them at the time considering the context of the events that they found themselves in.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    CTC make some good points but how would they propose funding their 10 recommendations? Despite the national debt, huge resources that we can ill-afford are already being ploughed into road safety so allocating even more funding is surely not an option.

    The CTC report severely criticises the police, particularly the way CTC presents case studies. I’d like to see the original police reports before accepting such accusations because my experience is that the police do an excellent job with the resources at their disposal.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    Have they not realised that Smidsy is not the fault of the driver of any motor vehicle. It’s because we were made imperfect, by that I mean our ability to see, scientists and genealogists have worked it out:
    • We cannot see what we are not looking for and
    • When we see it we disregard it and
    • We cannot decide how big it is cos its not looming and
    • Its speed isn’t calculable so it’s not known when it will get to you.

    Anything else I have missed I apologise for – please feel free to add to the list as to why cyclists are not seen.

    PS: these are all various reasons put forward for smidsy’s against motorcyclists as yet unproven but it appears that in future its possible that all smidsys are the motorcyclists fault due to all the above.

    bob craven Lancs
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    It would be useful if CTC could explain how they have come to their conclusions. They say that a reduction in roads policing has resulted in a lower number of drivers being caught committing offences. Whilst this may certainly have an effect the issue is far more complex than that. I’m interested in finding out more.

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    With the relatively recent increase in diversionary programmes such as those offered through NDORS, the number of penalty points held in a demographic area cannot be indicative of the level of driving. Offences may well be being committed and the drivers being caught, but being offered an alternative to points.

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