It looks like a rat and acts like one, but it is in fact Transport Secretary Chris Grayling [Image: Getty].
You can’t say Chris Grayling is out of touch because the bruises on the cyclist may tell a different story!
Nevertheless, the Tory Transport Secretary has managed to plant his foot firmly in his mouth – yet again! – with the astonishing claim that cyclists are not “road users”, only weeks after he knocked one down while getting out of his expensive ministerial car.
Mr Grayling had given an interview in the Evening Standard in which he had said “cycle lanes cause problems for road users”, so in Transport Questions in the House of Commons, Labour MP Daniel Zeichner tackled him on it, asking: “I was wondering if he could clarify for the house exactly who he thinks road users are?”
Here’s the response: “Where you have cycle lanes, cyclists are the users of cycle lanes and the road users are the users of the road. It’s very simple.”
Not really, Mr Grayling! Cycle lanes are part of the roads, and cyclists are just as much road users as motorists or – for that matter – people on horseback or in horse-drawn coaches!
But never fear! Here’s Olympic cycling legend Chris Boardman, who took Gold in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, to explain.
Mr Boardman, a policy advisor for British cycling, said he was “embarrassed” by Mr Grayling’s claim.
“The Transport Secretary’s comments demonstrate an astonishing lack of knowledge about how seven million people regularly use the roads in this country,” he explained.
“I feel embarrassed for him. If he truly thinks the roads are not for cyclists then what am I paying my taxes for?”
Mr Boardman added that cycling was at “crisis point” and segregated lanes were “incredible rare”, and it was going to be “impossible to meet government targets on a diminishing budget of less than £1 per head.
“This is in stark contrast to the Netherlands and Denmark where more than £20 per head is spent.
“If there was ever anyone who needed to actually get on a bike and hear about the true state of cycling infrastructure, it is Chris Grayling and I’d be delighted to go on a ride with him.”
Underpinning all of this is the frankly staggering fact that Mr Grayling is the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport. He should know all this!
He should understand that cycling is in crisis because his policies are causing the crisis!
But then, when Mr Grayling knocked over cyclist Jaiqi Liu, he didn’t even know enough to realise he had been in a road accident and needed to hand over his contact details to the injured party.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said neither party asked for the other’s details and the matter had been settled amicably since – but that’s not the point.
As Transport Secretary, Mr Grayling should have known what to do. How long must the UK put up with the ignorance of the Tories?
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