Wednesday’s British news round-up

Comments from Phillip Darnton last week, chief executive of Cycling England, suggesting that he would like to see motorists being held legally responsible for collisions involving cyclists produced a furious reaction from the aptly-named Daily Mail columnist, Robert Hardman.  

Former royal correspondent Hardman penned a vitriolic attack on what he called “meandering two-wheeled morons” and Darnton’s suggestions, first published by The Sunday Times.

The Mail claimed that Cycling England, the government’s advisory body on two-wheeled matters, had “demanded” the changes in the law.

However, the quotes that appeared originally in the Times were taken out of context and then misinterpreted by the Mail. Cycling England’s role is only to comment on policy, not to insist on policy changes.

What Darnton suggested he would like to see is a change in the law, whereby the burden of proof falls on motorists in collisions with cyclists. However, this would not be as radical as it first appears.

It is not an automatic assumption of guilt, the driver of the more powerful vehicle (i.e. the car in this instance) takes responsibility for the collision but would then be able to prove negligence on the part of the cyclist if necessary.       

It is something that the government is thought to be considering, it is one of CTC’s long-term objectives, and it is something that is already successfully in place in Germany and Holland whose legal systems are geared much more in favour of vulnerable road users so where is the harm in implementing it in Britain?

Tom Barras (MS Tina) won the Bermuda Grand Prix for the second year in succession, taking two stages along the way.

Having competed in the event many times and winning the race in 2008, Barras returned to the island in the North Atlantic Ocean eager to perform.

“It’s always a pleasure to race in Bermuda,” said Barras.

”The standard of racing varies from year to year, but the style of criterium racing is very similar to the UK”.

On the first stage, a circuit race on the island, Barras escaped mid-way through the race with Gavin Mannion and fellow Briton Jason White, before out-sprinting his breakaway companions to take the race lead.

Barras was third in the time trial, limiting his losses, with the race still in the balance coming into the final stage, a tight circuit race in Hamilton.

The American Hot Tubes team fired attack after attack in a bid to try and topple Barras, but his team-mate Tony Gibb worked hard on the front to control the bunch. Barras had enough left over to win the final dash to the line and take the overall in the process.

Bermuda Grand Prix Overall Results
1. Tom Barras (MS Tina)

2. Jason White (
3. Gavin Mannion (Hot Tubes)
4. Garth Thomson (Bicycle Works)
5. Tony Gibb (MS Tina)
6. Stuart Wight (Hot Tubes)
7. Ian Boswell (Hot Tubes)
8. Lawson Craddock (Hot Tubes)
9. Neil De Ste Croix (Bicyle Works)
10. Grant Goudge (Bicycle Works)

Nikki Harris had the worst possible start to her cyclo-cross season preparations after crashing during the World road race Championships in Mendrisio.

The Belgium-based 22-year-old from Derbyshire landed heavily and sustained damaged ligaments and broke the AC joint in her shoulder.

“Falling off hurts a little more on tarmac than it does on grass in the mud!” Harris explained.

Harris will travel to Sheffield today [Wednesday] to see shoulder specialist David Potter, the same surgeon responsible for David Millar’s rapid recovery following his Paris-Nice accident in March.

Millar faced four weeks off the road after his operation, but could ride the turbo trainer after one week.

”He is the same surgeon so I am in good hands,” said Harris. “It is rubbish timing, but I can’t do much about it, so fingers crossed.

Nikki Harris, elite women
Above: Harris is hoping to make a swift return to ‘cross

The British trio of Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond and Daniel Lloyd, all of the Cervélo team, will head to the Circuit Franco-Belge, starting tomorrow in Templeuve in France.

Hammond was one of only two Britons to finish the men’s Word road race Championships in Mendrisio on Sunday and is clearly in good form after riding – and completing – the Vuelta a España.

The Circuit Franco-Belge starts tomorrow (Thursday) and ends on Sunday in Tournai.


Students and staff at Nottingham University Hospitals, the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University will be encouraged to walk and cycle to and from campus in an investment project worth well over £3million over the next two years. 

Working with the City Council, Sustrans will lend its expertise to a new scheme that promotes healthy, sustainable travel.

New cycle routes as well as bike hire and cycle training will be provided. The project will also offer tailor-made information on cycling to thousands of students and staff, together with financial incentives including discounts at bike shops.

”There is an enormous potential to improve the health of staff and students – and reduce traffic congestion around universities – by encouraging them to walk or cycle more of their everyday trips,” explained Sustrans’ Regional Director, Yvonne Gilligan.

”Students in Nottingham, as in most university towns and cities, live in close proximity to where they study so there is usually no need to rely on cars to get about.

“Nottingham is also fortunate to have forward thinking councils, universities and a hospital trust within the strongly supportive Greater Nottingham Transport Partnership plus a good deal of cycle infrastructure already in place”. 

Sustrans research and monitoring team will also measure the project’s impact with pedestrian and cycle counts, and surveys of staff and students.


Monday’s British news

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