Department for Freedom of Choice?

A Government Minister has shone a welcome beam of liberty into proceedings, by rejecting the idea of compulsory high visibility clothing.

Dan Jarvis, Shadow Minister of Justice and Labour MP for Barnsley Central, posed a ‘Parliamentary Question’ to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Robert Goodwill MP. Jarvis, who has served in the military, engaged with the Minister by asking: ‘what steps he is taking to encourage cyclists to wear high visibility clothing.’

Goodwill, who is also the Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, gave a response which will be welcomed by all freedom loving riders everywhere: ‘The safety of vulnerable road users is a priority for this Government and we recommend that cyclists wear clothing that makes them sufficiently visible to other road users. However, wearing high visibility clothing is a matter of individual choice, and I would want to resist imposing additional regulations which could lead to people choosing not to cycle and would be difficult to enforce. We encourage the wearing of high visibility clothing through the Highway Code, THINK! Cyclist campaign, and Tales of the Road.

In addition, children who take part in Bikeability cycle training courses have discussions on safety equipment and what to wear; this includes high visibility clothing.’ MAG Chairman, John Mitchell, is very encouraged by the Minister’s commentary. ‘Robert Goodwill is on very good terms with Scarborough MAG. I’d be surprised if he’s not a member before long.’ President Ian Mutch agrees. ‘Not all politicians are against us, and the Minister’s opposition to compulsory hi-vis attire is proof of that. I hope it’s a sign that at least one department still values freedom of choice. Dare I say it, this is also an example of common cause between cyclists and bikers. Sometimes working together can have its advantages.’

[Thanks to George Legg, Western Region National Committee Liaison Officer, for researching the exchange which can be found HERE