lord winston calls for cycling licences to improve road safety

Phaeton

Guru
Location
Oop North (ish)
I like this bit 'Unnecessary regulation'
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
For an exceptionally intelligent man, that is such a stupid statement to make, how many commuters have chosen to leave a car at home and use a bike instead, hasn't it dawned on him that when you learn to drive, you also learn the rules of the road too, indeed some of those commuters may also have gone on to an advanced driving course or be HGV/bus drivers who have taken a further test, what a complete numpty.
 

DCBassman

Veteran
Location
Tavistock
For an exceptionally intelligent man, that is such a stupid statement to make, how many commuters have chosen to leave a car at home and use a bike instead, hasn't it dawned on him that when you learn to drive, you also learn the rules of the road too, indeed some of those commuters may also have gone on to an advanced driving course or be HGV/bus drivers who have taken a further test, what a complete numpty.
"Intelligence" unfortunately does not equal "sense".
 

Moodyman

Guru
The Guardian published an imagined response to his comments yesterday:

You ask what assessments we’ve made for obliging cyclists to have licences and insurance. The brief answer is: none whatsoever. Nor do we have any plans to do so. In fact, if you hadn’t asked this question it’s entirely possible we wouldn’t have even given it a moment’s thought in all 2019.

Why? Again, the short answer is this: it’s an utterly silly, pointless thing to suggest, as evidenced by the fact that more or less no countries or territories anywhere in the world require cyclists to be licensed, or to have mandatory insurance. It tends to only ever be fringe voices with a wider, somewhat murky grudge against cycling in general. I note that you have previously made some slightly suspect claims about cycle lanes causing extra pollution – I do hope you’re not one of those people.

I suppose it’s only fair if I explain why licensing and insurance for cyclists is such a non-issue. It’s pretty simple: such plans would achieve pretty much nothing, while causing significant problems. More widely, any sensible, rational government will do everything in its power to get more people cycling, not to put pointless bureaucratic obstacles in their way.

Let’s just take one example, that most relevant to you as a doctor: public heath. As I’m sure you know, one of the many negative effects of a nation where the great majority of even short, one-person trips are made by car is an NHS likely to collapse before too long under the strain caring for an ageing, increasingly sedentary and overweight population. Inactive living is central to this – it’s estimated to cause more than 5m early deaths a year worldwide, and even a fairly brief daily bike commute can have near-miraculous benefits for people’s health.

And then of course there’s pollution, a major crisis of both health and social justice, which a study last week suggested kills more people than smoking.

There’s almost too many positive benefits of getting more people on bikes to list – safer, quieter, more socially connected towns and cities, less impact on climate change. And it’s a fair bet that imposing sudden restrictions on cyclists would depress the number of riders. Why would you want to do that?

And how would such rules even work? Would the licensing and insurance be just for adults, or also children? If the former, what about teenagers – would they suddenly have to carry ID on the ride to school to prove they are under 18? How would the system even be enforced – would it also require bikes to be registered with number plates?

Finally – and this is perhaps the clincher – what would you hope to achieve by this? If you believe licensing transport users stops wrongdoing, can I point you to the statistics showing 86% of drivers speed on 20mph roads, and how a third admit to using handheld phones at the wheel. And on insurance, there’s the small matter of how even with laws mandating it there’s an estimated 1 million uninsured drivers on the road.

The other hugely important part of this is that when people break laws on a bike, yes, they can be irritating and even intimidating, but they very, very rarely kill or seriously injure other people. Of the 1,800 or so people killed every year on the UK’s roads, between zero and two typically tend to be killed because they were hit by cyclists. It’s not because cyclists are uniquely virtuous, it’s just the very different impacts involved in being struck by a 100kg bike-and-rider combination travelling at 15mph, or a 1,500kg SUV doing 35mph.

So, to summarise: your mooted plan would be to introduce a hugely convoluted new administrative scheme that would most likely have limited effect on the behaviour of an averagely law-abiding group of transport users who very rarely harm others, and have a huge net positive impact on the nation, while putting people off from this type of transport.

I’m afraid I just don’t get it.
 

Phaeton

Guru
Location
Oop North (ish)
Why? Again, the short answer is this: it’s an utterly silly, pointless thing to suggest, as evidenced by the fact that more or less no countries or territories anywhere in the world require cyclists to be licensed, or to have mandatory insurance.
Which begs the question, which countries or territories do?
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
"Intelligence" unfortunately does not equal "sense".
very true, common sense, unfortunately, is not very common.
I could be wrong, but I'm sure Professor Winston is a heart specialist, surely he realises that cycling keeps people healthy and out of hospital, this just shows how out of touch both houses are with reality.
 

Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
Which begs the question, which countries or territories do?
I don't know of any that require a licence - although Japan used to (and may still) require the bikes themselves to be registered. I think there are a few that have mandatory insurance, Switzerland used to be one of those, but most countries agree that cycling is a net benefit to the whole country so why put up barriers.
 

classic33

Legendary Member
I get one, I can finally get the permit from the local council owned recycling centre. That's all I'm missing, a license for the class of vehicle in use.
 
Lord Winston gives another excellent demonstration of why having a house of nearly untouchable lifetime parliamentarians mostly appointed by Prime Ministers probably isn't the best system!
I'm sure plenty of elected MPs have said equally stupid things. Didn't an MP recently propose that knives could have GPS trackers built in to help adress knife crime. In slight mitigation he did subsequently admit it was a shoot idea
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
I'm sure plenty of elected MPs have said equally stupid things. Didn't an MP recently propose that knives could have GPS trackers built in to help adress knife crime. In slight mitigation he did subsequently admit it was a shoot idea
Sure, but we have some hope of removing some MPs. Lord clowns are pretty much untouchable unless they commit crimes.

(ETA to add the underlined "some")
 
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