Author Topic: What changes would you make to cycling law?  (Read 4445 times)

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #100 on: October 11, 2017, 05:46:27 pm »
No, there are no "moral'/fundamental/human rights" outside of those defined by law.

The thing about laws is that they tend to be restrictive rather than permissive. This is why there is often an outcry every time the government tries to introduce new laws that are perceived to be eroding personal freedoms, such as the freedom to ride a bike without being required to wear so-called safety equipment. There is currently no law stating what you may or may not wear when riding a bike, ergo you have the right to wear whatever you like.

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #101 on: October 11, 2017, 09:45:19 pm »
I find it difficult to talk about rights apart from responsibilities. I'm not sure it works to have a whole population espousing their rights, because those rights will almost certainly be incompatible somewhere.

So, whilst I arguably have the right to wear what I like on a bike, and I certainly have the right not to wear safety equipment, I have a responsibility to make sensible choices* (because others will be affected if I get injured, and indeed may have to rescue me and fund my care). Equally, I have the right to dress as I please on a bike, but I have a responsibility not to be needlessly offensive. If I'm not balancing those things in my mind, I am probably not going to reach a good decision, and I'm almost certainly not going to get on with my neighbours.

* Making sensible choices does not mean wearing all available safety equipment. It just means taking others into account.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #102 on: October 11, 2017, 10:11:10 pm »
I'm not sure it works to have a whole population espousing their rights, because those rights will almost certainly be incompatible somewhere.

That’s part of the reason we have laws: to provide a framework for arbitration between conflicting rights.

You talk about the responsibility for making sensible choices; the legislative body has a duty to make informed choices. It’s what prevents them from taking away our freedoms (ie by enacting new laws) without sound reasons. Of course, the current government would rather do away with all expert insight and make up legislation based purely on ideology.

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #103 on: October 12, 2017, 12:24:45 am »
In many ways this is just about language, but I think language can be helpful or unhelpful. I would suggest that, where the law arbitrates and decides to limit what I can do, I do not in fact have a right.

The idea of a moral right only stands if you can appeal to some external authority to determine what is moral. Otherwise, you have to appeal to your own judgment (which is a recipe for conflict) or to the collective view of the population (which is normally expressed in law anyway, and so not different from a legal right).

Your last sentence demonstrates the problems with appealing to your own judgment. Given that the government was voted in, there is likely to be a substantial proportion of the population who do not share your view. In any case, since our laws have in fact been made by governments of various colours over many years, all of which have, I suspect, avoided listening to advice that they found uncomfortable, it's not clear why our current body of law would be any worse as a representation of our rights than it has been at any time in the recent past.

Again, it's helpful to think of responsibilities alongside rights. I have the qualified right to a free education, the NHS and the roads, and in return I undertake my responsibilities to pay taxes to fund those things. I say qualified right because I'm not sure that these things could be held to be basic rights in any sense; they are excellent things that I value, and that our society collectively chooses to provide to its citizens and, whilst I hope they won't, society could legitimately decide to take them away at any time.

Pedaldog

  • AKA Dogbad.
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Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #104 on: October 12, 2017, 02:16:45 am »
Aren't "Rights" ability to do/say/be things that are not allowed to be changed or repealed by gubbinsments? Such as the Magna Carta?
Any other right can be withdrawn by legislation so is rather more a state of "License to ......."
Know-nothing Bozo.

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #105 on: October 12, 2017, 07:58:43 am »
No. For a start the rights in the Magna Carta were, I believe, very limited in extent and in to whom they applied. Most other rights must therefore derive from legislation, or social assumptions, since. And I'm not aware of any reason why the government could not repeal the Magna Carta anyway; Parliament is sovereign. It's just not clear why any likely UK government would want to.

I think it's easier to think about moral rights when they limit your legal rights. For example:
  • I'm in the queue for a real bargain next to someone whom I know to be a single parent on a very limited income, who needs it for the family. I clearly have the legal right to buy the last item on offer, but do I have the moral right?
  • My accountant shows me how to arrange my affairs rather artificially, in order to reduce my tax liabilities. I'd clearly and indisputably be within my legal rights, but would I be within my moral rights?

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #106 on: October 12, 2017, 09:33:13 pm »
No, there are no "moral'/fundamental/human rights" outside of those defined by law.

The thing about laws is that they tend to be restrictive rather than permissive

Yes that's true,I was thinking of legal rights as being anything that isn't against the law.... But as soon as a law is passed restricting something, it ceases to be a legal right.

This is why there is often an outcry every time the government tries to introduce new laws that are perceived to be eroding personal freedoms, such as the freedom to ride a bike without being required to wear so-called safety equipment. There is currently no law stating what you may or may not wear when riding a bike, ergo you have the right to wear whatever you like.

Exactly. The right to do something is implied by, and predicated on, there being no law against it.
If there was ever a law passed forbidding it, then it would cease to be a right. Right?


Aren't "Rights" ability to do/say/be things that are not allowed to be changed or repealed by gubbinsments? Such as the Magna Carta?
Any other right can be withdrawn by legislation so is rather more a state of "License to ......."

Not in the UK maybe, in the US they seem fairly keen on their right to have a gun not being repealed by the gubbingment.
I'm definitely right over this.

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #107 on: October 12, 2017, 09:37:45 pm »
No. For a start the rights in the Magna Carta were, I believe, very limited in extent and in to whom they applied. Most other rights must therefore derive from legislation, or social assumptions, since. And I'm not aware of any reason why the government could not repeal the Magna Carta anyway; Parliament is sovereign. It's just not clear why any likely UK government would want to.

I think it's easier to think about moral rights when they limit your legal rights. For example:
  • I'm in the queue for a real bargain next to someone whom I know to be a single parent on a very limited income, who needs it for the family. I clearly have the legal right to buy the last item on offer, but do I have the moral right?
  • My accountant shows me how to arrange my affairs rather artificially, in order to reduce my tax liabilities. I'd clearly and indisputably be within my legal rights, but would I be within my moral rights?

I don't think moral right makes sense as a noun, to me it makes more sense as an adjective e.g. "is it morally right" rather than "do I have a moral right". But whichever, it's entirely subjective and a matter of opinion.
I'm definitely right over this.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #108 on: October 12, 2017, 09:59:52 pm »
‘Moral right’ usually refers to intellectual property, as in ‘the author asserts his moral right etc’

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #109 on: October 13, 2017, 11:25:41 pm »
A: It is mandatory to cycle everywhere - for everyone.

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #110 on: October 15, 2017, 08:26:03 am »
An interesting parallel story. Of course, the operative word here is "may", but even so https://www.theguardian.com/law/2017/oct/14/drivers-who-kill-may-now-face-life-sentence

mattc

  • "Hannibal"
  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #111 on: October 15, 2017, 05:56:04 pm »
No, there are no "moral'/fundamental/human rights" outside of those defined by law. (Not withstanding the fact that some 'human rights' are defined by law).
Rosa parks fought for the right to a seat on the bus. The fact that she fought for something implies that it's something she didn't have previously, which agrees with what I'm saying.

I'm not saying that the law is always morally correct in my opinion, but it's my subjective opinion, so I cannot say I "have the right" to do something that isn't law because that would be an (incorrect) attempt at aa statement of fact, and I simply don't.
I can say I feel I should have the right. Rosa parks felt she should have the right to a seat, but she didn't at that time ("lost out in the end though didn't she"  ;) )

Surely the Rosa Parks example shows just how fucking important those "moral'/fundamental/human rights" outside of those defined by law are?

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Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #112 on: October 15, 2017, 06:56:07 pm »
I think you could make a case that there are human rights recognised by international law, even if they are not recognised in a particular country. There are also campaigns for liberation. I'm still not sure that you can talk about rights unless those rights derive from some external authority. I'm no expert, but at the time that Rosa Parks took her action, international human rights law was in its infancy at best. It looks to me as though she was highlighting her lack of rights.

As the case went to court, this was presumably to argue whether or not she actually should have had rights under the law, but she plainly did not in practice, or she would never have had to take the action that she did.

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #113 on: October 15, 2017, 08:02:45 pm »
No, there are no "moral'/fundamental/human rights" outside of those defined by law. (Not withstanding the fact that some 'human rights' are defined by law).
Rosa parks fought for the right to a seat on the bus. The fact that she fought for something implies that it's something she didn't have previously, which agrees with what I'm saying.

I'm not saying that the law is always morally correct in my opinion, but it's my subjective opinion, so I cannot say I "have the right" to do something that isn't law because that would be an (incorrect) attempt at aa statement of fact, and I simply don't.
I can say I feel I should have the right. Rosa parks felt she should have the right to a seat, but she didn't at that time ("lost out in the end though didn't she"  ;) )

Surely the Rosa Parks example shows just how fucking important those "moral'/fundamental/human rights" outside of those defined by law are?

(click to show/hide)

It doesn't show that they already exist. What it does show is that people can successfully campaign for new rights that they didn't previously have. That's a good thing that they do, but before the success of the campaign/introduction of the law, they weren't rights.
You can't have rights without there being a definition of what those rights are. It just doesn't make sense because who's to say what's a right and what's not?  If there's no definition, then it's just something you want to do. If they're not defined, then they're not (yet) rights, but things that you want to be rights.
I'm definitely right over this.

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #114 on: October 15, 2017, 08:11:06 pm »
I think you could make a case that there are human rights recognised by international law, even if they are not recognised in a particular country. There are also campaigns for liberation. I'm still not sure that you can talk about rights unless those rights derive from some external authority. I'm no expert, but at the time that Rosa Parks took her action, international human rights law was in its infancy at best. It looks to me as though she was highlighting her lack of rights.

As the case went to court, this was presumably to argue whether or not she actually should have had rights under the law, but she plainly did not in practice, or she would never have had to take the action that she did.

That's a good point, but I don't think they include the right to cycle without wearing safety items. If they do, wahey, nothing to worry about then is there.
She was highlighting her lack of rights : exactly so.
I'm definitely right over this.

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #115 on: October 15, 2017, 08:13:46 pm »
Well, the UN declaration on human rights was made in 1948, but the modern concept traces back to at least the Enlightenment; the UK bill of rights is enshrined in law post-1688, and universalist claims are at the heart of the American and French Revolutions. Now obviously there is an argument to be made (and I take this to be Ben T's point) that any claim about rights is socially constructed; nonetheless, as I said way back upthread, the UK common law tradition assumes that people's freedoms should not be limited without good reason. I'd have thought this was pretty  uncontroversial - there's over three centuries of precedent for this position - and I didn't intend this to turn into a discussion of political philosophy. Before we got sucked into that, my point was far more instrumentalist: given the public health benefits of cycling and the vanishingly small number of road KSIs that cyclists are responsible for, from a cost-benefit perspective, changing cycling law comes below just about every other aspect of the transport system.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #116 on: October 15, 2017, 08:22:55 pm »
given the public health benefits of cycling and the vanishingly small number of road KSIs that cyclists are responsible for, from a cost-benefit perspective, changing cycling law comes below just about every other aspect of the transport system.

Quite. This is all that really matters.

I'm sure all the discussion on the concept of 'rights' is very interesting, but reading this thread is starting to feel a bit like wading through treacle and very little of it is relevant to the law as it relates to cycling.

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #117 on: October 15, 2017, 08:28:14 pm »
I rather agree. Rights language has not been helpful in this discussion. Rights for anything connected with cycling are, on the scale of human rights, not that important, and just another way of saying, "I am legally entitled to...".

Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #118 on: October 15, 2017, 08:31:21 pm »
That's a good point, but I don't think they include the right to cycle without wearing safety items. If they do, wahey, nothing to worry about then is there.

The term 'safety items' is doing a heck of a lot of rhetorical work there. Unless you want to provide evidence for the efficacy of the equipment you're so sanguine about seeing compulsory, there doesn't seem to be much point in continuing - we're just going to go round in circles.

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #119 on: October 15, 2017, 09:51:11 pm »
Well, the UN declaration on human rights was made in 1948, but the modern concept traces back to at least the Enlightenment; the UK bill of rights is enshrined in law post-1688, and universalist claims are at the heart of the American and French Revolutions. Now obviously there is an argument to be made (and I take this to be Ben T's point) that any claim about rights is socially constructed; nonetheless, as I said way back upthread, the UK common law tradition assumes that people's freedoms should not be limited without good reason. I'd have thought this was pretty  uncontroversial - there's over three centuries of precedent for this position - and I didn't intend this to turn into a discussion of political philosophy. Before we got sucked into that, my point was far more instrumentalist: given the public health benefits of cycling and the vanishingly small number of road KSIs that cyclists are responsible for, from a cost-benefit perspective, changing cycling law comes below just about every other aspect of the transport system.

Ok, I mean it probably should come as no surprise to you that if any change to cycling law were made that limited your freedoms, it would be largely due to policy makers* not sharing your view that it is "without good reason".

*and by implication of democracy, "most of society".
I'm definitely right over this.

citoyen

  • Cat 6 Racer
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #120 on: October 15, 2017, 09:54:36 pm »
It is possible to objectively disagree with policy makers, especially when they admit to being ideologically motivated.

The "will of the people" argument is pish.

Ben T

  • Viable.
Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #121 on: October 15, 2017, 10:00:33 pm »
It is possible to objectively disagree with policy makers, especially when they admit to being ideologically motivated.

The "will of the people" argument is pish.

Yes but you can't validly state that you have a right to go against the law because unfortunately whilst the law may not be perfect in your opinion, that is the only available definition of what you can and can't do.
Your argument actually counts for me - you can't state that you have the right to do something that isn't law because you have the will of the people behind you, because...
I'm definitely right over this.

frankly frankie

  • I kid you not
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Re: What changes would you make to cycling law?
« Reply #122 on: October 16, 2017, 08:52:50 am »
Laws do sometimes change to align themselves with custom & practice, where that c&p is actually illegal.  Flashing lights on cycles being a good example.
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