Wednesday 31 March 2004 9.38am
Can I bring out my warmly nurtured pet theory.......
.....that all cyclists should be forced to pass a basic road test, have third party insurance, and be penalised if they cycle on the pavement or run through red lights at junctions (other than turning left - see below), but that in return they should be allowed to turn left at red lights (with the proviso that if they crash it's their fault) and go straight through red lights at pedestrian crossings (as long as there are no pedestrians within say 10 feet).........
Getting people out of cars and onto cycles, scooters, etc has got to form a significant part of any transport policy for a big city like London. There are a lot of experienced and considerate cyclists. But there are also a lot of "guerilla cyclists" who do a fantastic job of making most [non cycling] people intolerant of the rest of us [cyclists] and they have to be controlled (the same as any other reckless road user).
To ride my scooter I have to have (at least 3rd party) insurance, and I have to pass a basic one-day course of tuition where you get comprehensively told how much damage you can do and how dangerous being on the roads can be if you aren't careful about it. (I like to think that) this results in me having a healthy respect for the rules of the road and (again, hopefully) driving safely and with consideration for other drivers and pedestrians. The course did cost a few quid, but it's compulsory and so it becomes a cost that I HAD to factor in when deciding whether I could afford a bike (and the same goes for buying a helmet).
On the other hand, anyone can go out and buy a pushbike with no experience of riding (and no compulsion to take any training - even if there were such training available - or to wear a helmet), and they can get straight out into the traffic on some of the country's busiest roads with no experience (or insurance). When I ride around town (which I do every day) it is very common to see cyclists wobbling along, changing lanes with no indication, and generally putting themselves in great danger. I'm sure that these people aren't TRYING to get run over, but they are riding in a way that they stand a bloody good chance of it happening. (Given that most people don't want to die), I can only assume that this behaviour is down to a lack of training.
[rant over, myself]
...there's plenty more c**** in the cup.