A short debate in the Lords yesterday was tabled:
‘To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are satisfied with the present arrangements for monitoring and patrolling motorways.’
Alas, during the debate Lord Davies of Oldham took the opportunity to move the discussion from motorways and the subject of number plate recognition so that he could say:
We also know that road dangers are partly increased by criminal activity of a sporting kind through motorcyclists going out to break the law at horrendous speeds and taking enormous risks. While I assume that they are not quite the hardened criminals the noble Lord, Lord Dear, was identifying, the activities of these groups’ render a road very dangerous when they decide to use it for fast practice. Increased police activity on that phenomenon would be enormously desirable.
It is a shame that he didn’t see fit to qualify his comments; it appears he regards all motorcyclists as criminals.
Speed and levels of risk are often a matter of perception. To base a statement in The House on this unsubstantiated, value-laden, hyperbole moves the discussion into the realms of unqualified and frankly offensive accusations that all motorcyclists are criminals who ride motorcycles with the sole intention of breaking laws. To single out one road user group invites a return to the special police attention and unfounded harrassment that generated such a level of ill-feeling toward the force in the past.
It is upsetting to think that those in positions of power remain so very ready to appear ignorant and full of prejudice.