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A Man of Yet a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

Government Announces Plans To Reduce Road Accidents Involving Cyclists

The Government has today announced plans aimed at reducing the number of road accidents involving cyclists.

‘Successive governments have been worried about the safety of cyclists in Britain for very many years,’ admitted Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin. ‘The problem has escalated significantly, however, during the past twelve months as thousands of our more impressionable and trend-conscious citizens have acted out fantasies of being either Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pendleton. As a result,’ he concluded, ‘we must take action to reduce the risks. We intend to adopt a three year cycling safety strategy proposed by the National Road Safety Association, the NRSA.’

‘It would be quite pointless,’ explained Dr. Joan Juay Street, Spanish born Chair of the NRSA, ‘to attempt to introduce even elementary safety regulation in relation to bicycles. This has been proposed in the past, and there has always been massive opposition from cyclists. The prospect of legislation to improve their safety has always been viewed by them as an attack on their civil liberties comparable to Hitler invading Poland. We are therefore adopting an indirect approach:

'The first phase involves the production of a new type of road vehicle. The design criteria are very simple: It has to be powered only by the driver, it has to be easily able to travel at twenty or thirty miles an hour, and it has to be inherently unstable. We are running a competition for primary school children to design one. We think they will make it look nice,’ explained Dr. Street, ‘but their degree of technical knowledge should ensure that it is breathtakingly dangerous in use. We are going to call it a “peramburover”.

‘We are then going to market peramburovers so that, by the end of the first year of the strategy, as many people as possible will own one.’

‘The law in relation to peramburovers will, of course, be as important as the design of the vehicles, themselves,’ explained Sergeant Fred Peddler, police advisor to the NRSA. ‘Anyone of any age will be able to easily own one, and there will be no requirement for any training or licensing whatsoever before driving one on the busiest of major roads. There will also be no compulsory safety equipment required by the driver, in any form. There may be a few laws made about roadworthiness, such as lights for use at night,’ he added. ‘We will ensure, however, that all these laws are virtually unenforceable and any penalties are derisory. Driving an unroadworthy peramburover completely naked in rush hour traffic while listening to music through headphones, filling in a crossword and swigging gin might lead to a caution for indecent exposure, but no legal action would be likely in relation to road safety.

‘Peramburover drivers will also be encouraged to ignore all inconvenient traffic regulations,’ Sergeant Peddler continued, ‘particularly in relation to traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, the direction of one-way streets and the distinction between roads and pavements. We also want to see as many peramburovers as possible on the roads during the rush hour, especially in major cities.

‘Further advice will be publicised in the peramburoverists’ newsletter, Kamikaze. This will include advanced peramburover driving techniques such as undertaking on the blind side of a bus or a large, turning, articulated lorry. Kamikaze will also have a page for adolescents, encouraging them on matters such as obtaining peramburovers that are ridiculously too small for them.’

Critics have argued that the above plans for the rollout of peramburovers will lead to carnage on our roads with massive numbers of pointless and unnecessary road casualties.

‘I rather fear that this will initially be the case,’ conceded Dr. Street. ‘The main task in the second year of the strategy will be to document all those accidents and make recommendations for increased safety. I suppose that might lead us to propose the same sort of basic, common sense regulations that govern the use of 50cc mopeds.

‘In the third year of the strategy,’ he continued, ‘the government will implement the new regulations and we will monitor the expected radical improvement in accident statistics.

‘The final part of the strategy,’ Dr. Street concluded, ‘will be to discuss our whole experience of the peramburover project with the cycling lobby to explore if any parallels can be drawn, and lessons learned, that might improve the safety of cyclists.’