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Something Positive

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Hi everyone,

As usual it has been a while since I posted anything. After the recent tragedy at the Severn bridge road race I was contacted by my friend John Heaton-Armstrong (who has written for this blog before) with some positive action we can all take from this in order to move forward and make road racing safer:

The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme was introduced into the 2002 Police Reform Act by the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

In summary, the legislation allows the Chief Constable to confer powers normally reserved to the Police Service to accredited persons employed by accredited companies.

The powers currently in force in Wales and Essex are;

1. The power of a constable engaged in the regulation of traffic in a road to direct a person either driving or propelling a vehicle to stop etc...

2. The power of a constable in uniform to...direct a person on foot to stop.

In the event that these directions are not complied with, s.35 and s.37 state that the person(s) will be guilty of an offence. Paragraph 3A s.5 gives a marshal the power to require the name and address of someone who fails to stop.

The bottom line is that the main problem which resulted in this accident (i.e. the lack of a rolling road closure) has a solution, but this solution remains at the discretion of each Chief Constable, and experience shows that ACPO are very resistant to pressure from central government.

The demise of top-flight amateur racing in the UK, and professional racing in addition might be halted by this sort of change, but looking to a body (i.e. British Cycling) who have allowed the number of top flight races in the UK to fall by >50% in the last 5 years does not seem a logical decision.

There is currently an e-petition to give the National Escort Group the powers referred to above, but this being directed to government demonstrates why efforts to date have been so ineffective - the address is being made to the wrong audience. This change rather needs to be advocated to local government, and the newly instituted Police and Crime Commissioners, otherwise it is extremely unlikely that change will be made in the near future.

Of course the underlying problem is that the legislation relating to cycle racing on the roads was brought into law in 1960, but getting this updated will take many months, and there is a real danger that, in that time, racing will all but have disappeared.
So in response to this I have written the following which I will send to my local MP and PCC:

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you in response to the tragic incident that occurred just last week in which a young man died whilst participating in The Severn Bridge Road Race in Devon.

I believe the incident was preventable and draws attention not only to the out of date laws pertaining to The Cycle Racing on Highways Regulations (written in 1960), but also a failure to take proper advantage of The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (introduced into the 2002 Police Reform Act by the 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act).

Whilst I concede that the regulations take time to be redrafted, in the meantime I believe it would be prudent to use the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme to allow The National Escort Group (http://www.neggb.org.uk/) to be given powers to stop traffic.

As a professional cyclist I have raced in many countries in Europe and the rest of the world and I have found the UK to be the most dangerous by far. Given the nature of road racing, the current upsurge in popularity in road cycling and the current mood in the country pertaining to sport I urge you to act swiftly and appropriately, as I fear the incident that took 23 year old Junior Heffernan's life may happen again. In my years of racing in the UK I have found the NEG, even in its current, neutered form to be the most effective method of creating a safe racing environment. Their professionalism, experience and dedication is exemplary and if any group of people needed extra power to control traffic it is them, for the good of safe road racing in the country.

Regards,

David Mclean,

Please feel free to use this letter as a template to write your own letters to your local MP and PCC. You can find out how to contact them here:

Local MP: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/.
Local PCC: http://www.policecrimecommissioner.co.uk/.

It only takes a minute.

Also, whilst possibly less effective there is still no reason not to sign the petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46709.

Thanks.

Updated 08-03-2013 at 05:22 PM by David Mclean

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Comments

  1. dds11's Avatar
    If marshals had stopped the car at the Ed Taylor I wouldn't have a titanium plate on my collarbone for the rest of my life.
    Digby
  2. David Mclean's Avatar
    The discussion is hotting up on VR: http://www.veloriders.co.uk/phpBB2/v....php?p=1293393