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A protest campaign over poor walking and cycling safety

Effective road safety planning: what should be happening

What the vision should be
Road safety planning and policing: what we have a right to expect
Poor Merseyside road casualties should be considered
Other relevant information
Past strategies
Options that should be considered

Merseyside road safety failures

Merseyside / national road safety failures

Merseyside road safety concerns

So-Mo project on pedestrian casualties

Merseyside road safety improvements

Taking action on poor road safety

Current campaigns





Civil disobedience and road safety: Q and A

What's is the role of civil disobedience in tackling abuse of power in a democracy?

When politicians, officials or police officers abuse their power, the initial response should be correspondence, use of any complaints system, and the organising of petitions and demonstrations.

If these fail, civil disobedience is justified - and in serious abuses of power, it becomes an obligation.

What is civil disobedience?

Common tactics are
  • refusal to pay taxes
  • sit-down protests that result in the obstruction of highways or obstruction at the entrances to buildings
  • graffiti to publicise the abuses.

The point is that the actions would normally be against the law; they are carried out deliberately in order to directly oppose the abuse of power, or to cause disruption to the general population and concentrate public attention on to the abuses. They are carried out with reluctance, and as a last resort when conventional methods of engagement have failed.

Actions should not be out of proportion to the abuse being corrected.

People engaged in civil disobedience are upholding the principles of democracy; they are not law-breakers but acting as democracy police.

Why must civil disobedience be non-violent?

Civil disobedience can result in inconvenience to those in public office who are abusing their power, or to the general public - but should cause no physical harm or fear.

The police officers or others who are on the front line at any protest are doing their job, and not the ones responsible for the abuses of power - so they should not be the subject of verbal or physical abuse.

Resorting to violence can be counterproductive - it is likely to lead to loss of public support for the campaign.

It also promotes the idea that it is acceptable for citizens to try to get their way by violence or threats of violence. Would it be acceptable for people who disagree with your campaign to oppose it by violence or threats of violence?

How does the law treat civil disobedience

In the UK, the law treats civil disobedience as a special case, and participants are rarely sent to prison. It recognises that people who break the law to affirm their belief in the injustice of a law or government action are often be vindicated by history, and later celebrated as heroes .

Last updated: 27 Dec 2018