Safety groups condemn an `oddball' idea

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The Independent Online
Pressure groups across the country last night rallied against the Liberal Democrat's proposals, saying that the consultation document failed to address the long-term issues of pollution and disregarded road safety.

Figures issued by the Department of Transport show that for every mile travelled, motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than car drivers.

Roger Vincent, from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said that this figure, coupled with the fact that motorcyclists were three times more likely to hit pedestrians than car drivers, should be addressed.

"Motorcyclists are one of the most vulnerable groups of road users and anyone contemplating one surely needs to weigh that fact against the environmental and traffic benefits," he said.

Lynn Soloman from the environmental lobby group Transport 2000 called the proposals "oddball" and "unrealistic":

"We can't see how they can see motorcycles as a solution to traffic problems," she said. "What we need to create is a sustainable transport system encouraging short trips to the work-place and local amenities by walking or by bicycle. This is much more important than majoring on motor- cycles."

Brigitte Chaudhry, secretary of RoadPeace, the national charity for road- crash victims, whose son Mansoor was killed in a motorcycle accident six years ago, said that many parents found it hard enough already to stop their children riding motorcycles: "If I had known that my son was was going to die riding a motorbike, I would have discouraged him from doing it," she said.

Most young British drivers are encouraged to drive fast and take risks by the presence of passengers, loud music or high spirits, a survey has revealed.

Although drivers under 25 were aware of what influenced their driving, 65 per cent said they did not care about traffic regulations or being fined.

The Europe-wide survey showed that 1,300 young people were killed and 125,000 injured on Britain's roads last year - three-quarters of all road victims, even though young drivers represent only 10 per cent of licence holders. A total of 83 per cent drive fast because of loud music or high spirits.

To combat the problem, the RAC and Auto Express have announced a "Campaign Against Rage".

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