I sent a sizzling letter to The Herald this last week, but they declined to publish.What did I say wrong? Never mind, here it is.
There seems to be some very specific priorities set in the legal enforcement of who may use sections of our roads network. In yesterday’s Herald it was reported that across the UK one million fines are handed out every year to drivers for illegal use of bus-only lanes. Glasgow alone had an astonishing 339,000 fines for inappropriate bus lane use.
I do not quibble with the imposition of these fines but I would like to point out the very selective nature of this penalisation, given that there seems to be no sanction on drivers who drive in cycle lanes or drivers who park and obstruct pavements. The Highway Code is unequivocal in stating that drivers must never drive in cycle lanes marked by a solid line, or only drive in those marked by dashed lines if unavoidable. Similarly, the Highway Code is clear that one can never drive onto a pavement to park. Drivers ignore these obligations as a matter of course and the police almost never enforce them.
Whilst I would not relish the headline that one million drivers had been fined for pavement parking or driving in a cycle lane, it would at least indicate that the legal system is taking the rights of pedestrians and cyclists as seriously as those of the bus network. Active travel (walking and cycling) will never become a reality in Glasgow unless we start by making the existing cycle ways and pavements safe, vehicle-free places. What is the point in building, for example, another cycle lane if it’s to be used by cars?