Piers Morgan in a car is a danger to us all

Nicholas Faith's nasty little letter (Letters, 28 February) indicates exactly what is wrong with the way we think of safety on the road.

I have just completed another study of pedestrian and cyclist "accidents" in a typical London borough, showing yet again that pedestrians are hundreds of times less likely to be in collisions involving cyclists than motor vehicles. Even considering the smaller number of cyclists, the average cyclist simply does not endanger pedestrians or other road users anything like as much as the average motor vehicle driver. The collisions involving cyclists were legally the responsibility of motor vehicle drivers in the vast majority of cases. (Not that legality need be the only factor. After all, motorists have been protected from their dangerous behaviour by engineering vehicles and the road environment irrespective of legality for decades.)

The scale of dangerous behaviour by motorists is well above the hundreds of thousands injured or millions of car crashes, at literally billions of incidents of rule and law infractions annually. That reason alone - the closeness of ordinary driving to the types of criminal negligence potentially harmful to other human beings - is enough for you not to have published Piers Morgan's casual celebration of motor violence, let alone Faith's supportive echo of it.

If anybody has the right to be aggrieved, it is non-motorists who witness the lenient treatment of drivers who have killed or maimed others, and of those with far greater destructive potential than bicyclists who are highly unlikely to have any kind of law enforced on them in virtually all cases of their wrongdoing. Yes, it will be drivers: any cyclists are exceptions proving the rule.

I could discuss the rotten prejudice which lumps in all cyclists together, or the cases where pedestrians are legally at fault in knocking down two-wheelers. But there is simply no point discussing road safety with people like Morgan who simply will not accept responsibility for what they do behind the wheel of a car.

Dr Robert Davis
Principal Policy Adviser, Road Danger Reduction Forum
London NW10

This article first appeared in the 06 March 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The New Statesman Profile - Caprice