Recently I have witnessed multiple incidents of cyclists flouting the rules of the road with an impunity that is almost awe inspiring. The only group who have the same level of contempt for other roads users are the ubiquitous White Van drivers.

Amazor helmet after crash
By Otoomet (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

I have witnessed…

  • A woman cycling the WRONG way down a road.
  • A cyclist cutting across a roundabout even though they couldn’t not have seen if there was any oncoming traffic.
  • Large groups of cyclists bunched up and blocking a 60 mile an hour A road.
  • Cyclists zooming through red lights without concern for other traffic or the pedestrians using the crossings.
  • Pairs of cyclists riding side by side on narrow A roads – effectively reducing all traffic to a speed of about 10 miles an hour  –  forcing other road users to overtake or queue.

This has got to stop. No longer can we afford to give one group of road users some sort of get out of jail free card when it comes to sharing the UK’s road network.

We need to do the following:

  1. Require bicycle riders to take a riding test to prove that they are safe to ride on our roads. That includes testing their knowledge of theory as well.
  2. Make it a legal requirement for cyclists to hold suitable insurance, just like other road users.
  3. Bikes should be registered and marked with a suitable registration number. Suitably designed so that they can be scanned by cameras at red lights etc.
  4. Cyclists should be required to wear suitable safety clothing – helmets etc – by law. Just like motorcyclists.
  5. Ban children riding bikes on our roads. We don’t let kids drive cars so why the hell should they ride on the A10?
  6. Impose an annual MOT style check for any bike that is to be used on the roads of the UK. Make rider legally responsible for the upkeep of their bikes and to ensure that they are roadworthy BEFORE they get on the road.

We cannot afford to continue with the current laissez-faire situation when it comes to one group of road users. They are a threat to themselves and to others.

Oh, and the White Van drivers seem to be even worse but, at least, they are required to hold insurance and can be traced through their registration plate in the event of an accident. Cyclists currently cannot be easily held accountable for their actions.

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