A TORY MSP was slammed after he seemed to claim that cyclists would encourage drivers to speed if Government plans to cut the speed limit are brought in.

Speaking at the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s session looking at the proposals for a new 20mph speed limit, Edward Mountain implied that it would be the fault of cyclists if car drivers broke the law.

In a consultation with transport expert, Dr Adrian Davis, on Wednesday, Mountain said: “With the 20mph in Edinburgh, it’s been quite interesting. If you drive along at 20mph, as a driver, the thing you notice more than anything else is the cyclists who are doing 30mph or 40mph down the hill.”

He then want on to say that bicycles could cause more damage in a crash than a car would.

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“Injury is about developing kilojoules of energy at a point of impact in a limited area, now a bicycle will do that, probably more effectively on a point of impact, because it’ll be very narrow where they hit,” he claimed.

Mountain then asked David: “I know cyclists are a problem, but do you think that’ll make people wonder, the car driver will think, ‘well I’m being overtaken by a cyclist’ does it make an easier for a car driver to come to terms with it? And should we not be thinking about cyclists as well?”

Davis told the Tory this was “an outlier question, because it’s a minor point” as almost all deaths on Scotland’s roads were from cars.

David added that “getting up to 30mph would be quite difficult for most people on bikes”.

The National: Lance Armstrong during the Tour de France. Photograph: Mike PowellLance Armstrong during the Tour de France. Photograph: Mike Powell

Lance Armstrong’s average speed during the Tour De France was around 26mph, while Chris Hoy’s average in the Velodrome was 42mph.

Davis then pointed out that the most important part of any impact was “mass and speed”.

“There is an equation about that. It’s the mass of the vehicle that’s going to do more damage. Being hit by an HGV is the one you really don’t want to get hit by because you’ll be dead. I think there is a bit of difference, with respect chair, the mass is most important. The size of a vehicle being a bike is less so.”

Jodi Gordon, partner and specialist lawyer at Cycle Law Scotland hit out at Mountain.

She told The National: “The idea the average cyclist will now be overtaking motor vehicles and potentially causing people to speed simply re-enforces the ‘us and them’ culture we already have on our roads.

“It is counter-productive. We also need to understand the destructive disparity argument when comparing motor vehicles to other road users.

“However, In order to make our roads safer we need to have mutual respect for each other and all adhere to the rules of the road, that includes speed limits.

“Cyclists, like other road users have to be aware of hazards and to travel at excess speed only reduces their ability to react to situations as they arise, such as pedestrians stepping off a pavement.

“We all have a duty of care to ourselves and each other when out on the road. The 20mph speed limit should be a positive discussion about change in road culture and protection of the most vulnerable.”