Just over a week ago, I blogged a call for my fellow Brits to sign a petition.
Today, with a little over 20000 signatures on the petition, the news is that the government has indeed listened and revised the offending clauses in the highway code. The CTC reports on it here.
My thoughts on what may really have happened, as posted to uk.rec.cycling in a thread on the good news:
Scenario. Powers that be are discussing the Highway Code.
They’ve had objections to some of the points in it, like the “use psychlepaths where practical” one, so they take evidence about how it could change. But it was never a big issue, nor very clear what the issue was, and they’re not paying very much attention. They give someone an Action to reword it.
By the time that person reaches this action item, he/she has no recollection of what was wrong with the wording and why it has to change. After all, it was never a big issue. So we end up with a minimal but random change.
Then they publish the changes as a draft, and it blows up in their faces. But that in itself isn’t really enough: they’re well used to criticism. They need some positive criticism: a better wording, together with an explanation of why. Maybe that was the CTC’s role, in which case it was indeed a crucial one.
The rest is, with a bit of luck, history.
Congratulations to Daniel Dignam, Ming Campbell, and others who made an issue of it. And to whoever came up with the new wording.
[UPDATE] The government has now issued an official response to the petition.