18 September 2009

Safety Fears Stop Bikes For Africa

Here's an appropriate little 'wedgie' in the Fear of Cycling series. The Isle of Wight County Press Online [big name for a little paper :-)] reports that the Hampshire Constabulary has cut off supplying unclaimed stolen bikes to a charity that sends bikes to Africa.

They are, get this... afraid of being sued if someone gets hurt whilst using one of them. You'd think that they were talking about barrels of toxic waste.

Here's the link to the article, and thanks to Sally for the link.

8 comments:

l' homme au velo said...

That is being really Thick,Political Correctness gone Mad,Overkill to the Point of Stupidity. These People that Receive these Bikes fix them up if they can. If they cannot be fixed they send them to the Country there for anyway and the People fix them up themselves. The People use the Parts for Spares to fix other Bikes.

Some Dope of a Government Official thought this up,it has the Smell of it and just put a Clamp down on it for some reason.

Milady said...

Where we can we complain to? This is so mindless.

Anonymous said...

Groannnn....
On the other hand, the Scottish police forces sell lost/stolen/ bikes to the general (Scottish) public in auctions, usually twice a year.

Advice from bike organisations & advocacy-charities to impoverished newbies is to avoid these auctions, or at least take someone experienced along...because bog-standard used models can get bid up to a higher price than you could get a new one in the shops.
- WeeE

portlandize.com said...

I think liability is one of the singlemost governing principles in America right now - our legal system allows people to sue for things like spilling coffee on themselves, and win, and so everybody knows you have to cover every possible thing that could go wrong, or you really could get sued. This is a huge part of our fear of everything, I think, because of course there's some small risk in anything, and when every one of those small risks is made to sound like it's probable, what do you expect?

Adrienne Johnson said...

Are there ambulance chasers running around behind cyclists in Soweto waiting for the school kids and AIDS workers that use these bikes to save lives and get out of grinding poverty to fall off their used bikes? I am sure Malawi is swarming with eager lawyers hoping to make it big on used bike injury cases.

Meh.

Kiwehtin said...

Big name for little paper, indeed. Even bigger if you realise that the IoW (from whence my mother hailed) is England's smallest county (at high tide).

This decision of the Hants police, though, is a real head-scratcher...

Anonymous said...

@kiwehtin
Hmmm...one clue might be that scrapyards are businesses, not charities. Your average UK bike has got to have a lot more aluminium in it than a bunch of fizzy-drinks cans, innit?
If auctioneers in the area are too scared of getting sued by people falling off bikes, and if the "home counties" public consider used bicycles too frightening (or uncool?) then the police can buy a a few extra handcuffs with the money they get from bicycle scrap.

Still, I'd think at least, they could have the grace to send the cash to the African bicyle charity that's not getting bicycles any more. - WeeE

Anonymous said...

I'm with Adrienne - I don't think that court systems in Africa have mutated sufficiently to bring them up to American or British levels of litigiousness. Also, as she points out, I think that there are enough predators in Africa to keep the population of lawyers down to a reasonable level, in contrast to our situation, where they have bred far beyond the normal ability of the ecosystem to support them, thus leading them to constantly improvise ever more ludicrous grounds for lawsuits. Val