River Wissey Lovell Fuller

The Village Pump Soapbox

February 2003


In my younger days, I was a keen cyclist. Even then. I always thought how fortunate cyclists were in so many ways.

Firstly, you can ride a bike on a main highway from as very early age without any tuition or any certificate to say that you are competent to be on the road. I have driven (very gingerly) past youngsters of probably no more than five years old, who probably have never heard of the Highway Code. They are both a danger to other road-users as well as to themselves.

Secondly, policemen seem totally disinterested in people on bikes. Cyclists can break so many rules that would end up with motorists getting into trouble. They cycle along pavements causing a major hazard to pedestrians and ride along, quite happily, apparently, in the dark with no lights. Many never give hand signals, possibly because they have never been taught. My least favourite offenders are those that weave in and out of stationary or slow-moving traffic.

I would like to regulate those that cycle a lot more. In so many cases it would be for their own good and particularly their own safety. I would certainly advocate that no person should be allowed to ride on a public highway until they have passed a proficiency test. These could be arranged during school lunch-times or immediately after school, and be paid for as with the driving test. I would also like to see some form of compulsory insurance introduced, not only to protect themselves but also other members of the community. After all, why should I have to pay to have my car bodywork repaired because a cyclist on a pavement hits my car as I am going out on to the road: or have someone claim off my insurance should I drive into them when they are not displaying lights?

I certainly do not want to add another layer of bureaucracy (we live in an age of far too much) but I do think that tuition and insurance are essentials. Finally, I would hope that the police would treat cyclists as strictly as they do motorists; I am sure that the eventual outcome would be far fewer accidents and an atmosphere on the roads where drivers and cyclists respect each other.

Graham Forster

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.