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Cycling Licence Scheme

LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
edited October 2008 in Commuting chat
Below is my email today to the Mayor regarding cyclists safety following the incident in Holborn today.

I would be happy to take a cycling proficiency test to gain a licence if it were made law as I think this would encourage good practice, increase both cyclist and other road user safety and promote confidence in cyclists roadworthiness to other road users if they knew we were all licensed.

What does everyone else think?

My letter

Dear Mr Johnson

As a fellow cyclist you will no doubt be aware of the ever increasing mortality rate of cyclists on London's roads. Today it appears there has been another (as yet unconfirmed) fatality in the Grays Inn Road area. This is in addition to the death of a cyclist on Upper Thames Street last week and a near fatality on the same day in Kensington High Street.

Both I and my wife cycle commute every day. I won't repeat in detail the benefits for us, congestion, public transport overcrowding and the environment as I know you are well aware of these. But I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the dangers we face. What is most worrying is the attitude of drivers towards cyclists, a friend of mine was actually bumped by a car driver on Embankment today on purpose. Drivers need to be educated as to the very real dangers they put cyclists in with their impatience and the very vulnerable position someone on a bicycle is in, not having the advantage of 2 tonnes of steel cage around them.

Over the Summer I have noticed a sharp increase in cyclists which is good. But at the same time a decline in cycling ability. I know the CTC operate a training scheme, but it doesn't seem to get the publicity it deserves.

So would it be possible to highlight in any way to drivers the risk they create for cyclists and secondly the training scheme to new cyclists. I would even consider a licensing requirement if it would give drivers more confidence in cyclists roadworthiness and help increase safety for all.

Thank you for reading this.

Kind regards

Jamie Litt
Roadie FCN: 3

Fixed FCN: 6

Would you be happy to take a cycling test and get a licence if it were made law? 0 votes

Yes, I would take a test
0% 0 votes
No, I think it would add nothing to cycling safety
0% 0 votes
«13

Posts

  • Good letter.

    I should write to him too...
  • squiredsquired Posts: 1,216
    Interesting idea, but as little children are able to ride bikes, what age would the test happen? Would you be banned from cycling until you reached that age, or banned from the roads? Unfortunately I don't see how it could work.

    If anything how about if they were to incorporate a cycling section into the driving test? Maybe non-drivers would be able to take that part of the test as well if they wished. However, all drivers would be forced to do it if they want to drive on the road.
  • What relationship does your letter have to taking a test for cycling apart from the last sentence? Your letter for the main point (which I think is a good) is highlighting drivers attitude towards cyclists, what benefit would there be for the cyclist having a license?

    I started cycling when I was about 4 years old. I don't think I would have grasped the concept of having to legally sit a test to ride my bike. Would I require L plates for my stabilizers?
  • Did you include your FCN in your signature? Having seen Boris out on his bike I calculate his as a FCN 12.
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    Clearly I hadn't spent much time this morning formulating the details, it was mainly just to gauge general opinion on whether the principle is a good one.

    In my letter to Boris I wanted to akcknowledge that safety isn't just about telling drivers to be more thoughful to us. We can also do a lot ourselves by knowing good roadcraft etc this would enhance our standing in the traffic foodchain.
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • What's an FCN?
  • <advocate of the big D mode>

    Problem: Cyclist keep getting hit by cars.
    Solution: Legislate to make sure only the most road aware (?) cyclists are on the road.

    I can see plenty of good points with this strategy.
    1. Less cyclists = (probably) more cars = more taxes for the government.
    2. Less cyclists = (probably) more cars = safer roads as roads become busier and cars get stuck in more traffic jams.
    3. Oppurtunity for people to make money by getting people to pay to cycle on private land.

    why not:
    Problem: Cyclist keep getting hit by cars.
    Solution: Train drivers not to hit cyclists

    </advocate of the big D mode>

    In all seriousness I would be sceptical about how the syllabus is put together. Motorbike chat rooms are just as divided about advanced motorcycle training as cycling chat rooms are about helmet wearing:

    One side argues that advanced motorcycling training is essential. The other argues that the current syllabuses around for advanced training (ROSPA (police) and IAM) are flawed and incomplete having been primarily compiled years ago and don't take into account many of the new hazards on the road.

    Who would decide on a syllabus? How could you tell whether someone on the road had a certificate? What would you do with someone who cycled without a certificate?

    There already are a number of good cycle training schemes in the UK. I think things would probably be best if these schemes were promoted as a good way to get confidence for riding on the road. At the end of the day its you and not any examiner who has to spend time in hospital if things go wrong.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to shoot down your idea. I just believe that things will reach a natural balance without any further legislation.

    Tiny Pens
  • Clever PunClever Pun Posts: 6,778
    What's an FCN?

    ?? really..

    Clicky

    it's where you stand in the echelons on commuting bikes

    see the Silly commuter racing thread
    Purveyor of sonic doom

    Very Hairy Roadie - FCN 4
    Fixed Pista- FCN 5
    Beared Bromptonite - FCN 14
  • richkrichk Posts: 583
    edited September 2008
    Clever Pun wrote:
    What's an FCN?

    ?? really..

    Clicky

    it's where you stand in the echelons on commuting bikes

    see the Silly commuter racing thread

    Your clicky doesn't work (requires a login, I don't have nor want)

    I though EatMyDust had a reasonable question... what is FCN?

    [edit]

    Found it here: http://www.citrusskies.co.uk/fcn

    [/edit]
    There is no secret ingredient...
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    RichK wrote:
    Clever Pun wrote:
    What's an FCN?

    ?? really..

    Clicky

    it's where you stand in the echelons on commuting bikes

    see the Silly commuter racing thread

    Your clicky doesn't work (requires a login, I don't have nor want)

    I though EatMyDust had a reasonable question... what is FCN?

    Go to the start of the Silly Commuter Racing Thread...all will be revealed
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    Littigator wrote:
    Below is my email today to the Mayor regarding cyclists safety following the incident in Holborn today.

    I would be happy to take a cycling proficiency test to gain a licence if it were made law as I think this would encourage good practice, increase both cyclist and other road user safety and promote confidence in cyclists roadworthiness to other road users if they knew we were all licensed.

    What does everyone else think?

    My letter

    Dear Mr Johnson

    As a fellow cyclist you will no doubt be aware of the ever increasing mortality rate of cyclists on London's roads. Today it appears there has been another (as yet unconfirmed) fatality in the Grays Inn Road area. This is in addition to the death of a cyclist on Upper Thames Street last week and a near fatality on the same day in Kensington High Street.

    Both I and my wife cycle commute every day. I won't repeat in detail the benefits for us, congestion, public transport overcrowding and the environment as I know you are well aware of these. But I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the dangers we face. What is most worrying is the attitude of drivers towards cyclists, a friend of mine was actually bumped by a car driver on Embankment today on purpose. Drivers need to be educated as to the very real dangers they put cyclists in with their impatience and the very vulnerable position someone on a bicycle is in, not having the advantage of 2 tonnes of steel cage around them.

    Over the Summer I have noticed a sharp increase in cyclists which is good. But at the same time a decline in cycling ability. I know the CTC operate a training scheme, but it doesn't seem to get the publicity it deserves.

    So would it be possible to highlight in any way to drivers the risk they create for cyclists and secondly the training scheme to new cyclists. I would even consider a licensing requirement if it would give drivers more confidence in cyclists roadworthiness and help increase safety for all.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Kind regards

    Jamie Litt

    Pedant alert - actually Litts, the death rate in London of cyclists in cycling related accidents is going down. And you need about 20 more commas in there. (Ducks and runs for the door).

    But seriously, I think it would be more effective if you concentrate on increasing cyclists' road use abilities and leave out the bit about cars and lorries - everyone knows they are a potential danger to cyclists. And, I don't want to to bait people, but from the sketchy, and no doubt incomplete, information I've heard about the recent spate of accidents, cyclist negligence may have been contributory in a few of them - filtering down the side of lorries as they are about to turn left.
  • Be REALLY cautious about this.

    Does anyone recall the cycling proficiency test which advocated turning right at a roundabout from the left lane?

    I do not imagine that there is a common practice that we would be happy to adopt which would be entirely consistent with anything that could be legally taught. The strategies I use as a moderately strong roadie at 20mph approaching a major junction might be entirely suicidal for someone less experienced on a full suspension mountain bike travelling at half the speed.

    We would all be told to dismount at cyclists dismount signs. We would all be told to use cycle lanes. We would not be encouraged to proceed to the front of a queue, on either side, rather we should wait in line like other traffic. I could go on.

    There is a place for cycle education by cyclists for cyclists which is relatively unhindered by any formal association with government. There is a place for teaching cycling and road rules to kids. Aside from anything else, although the vast majority will never use a bike again, they will at least dimly recall from school that there are such things as cyclists and that their school regarded bikes as a legitimate form of transport.

    I am completely against a formal requirement because in Britain, it would be a disaster and yet another stick to beat us with.

    Please do not send the letter as is.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    what good would a test do? would it be policed? How? what about cyclist who dont ride on the road?

    I see the issue as a lack on provision of cycle ways. NOT lanes separate routes not easy or may be not possible to do in London.

    Educate all road users, sure when they take some form of UK based test but you do not need a UK licence to drive on the UK roads.

    just my non commuting thoughts.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    nicklouse wrote:
    what good would a test do? would it be policed? How? what about cyclist who dont ride on the road?

    I see the issue as a lack on provision of cycle ways. NOT lanes separate routes not easy or may be not possible to do in London.

    Educate all road users, sure when they take some form of UK based test but you do not need a UK licence to drive on the UK roads.

    just my non commuting thoughts.

    Cyclists are road users. And a lot of the time the cycling I see is far worse, irresponsible and dangerous than the driving. Please will people stop denying cyclists have any part or responsibility for their own safety, accidents and incidents on the road.
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    Thank you everyone for your oh so positive feedback, particularly on the grammar FFS. I am well aware that it's much easier to just nit pick and criticise than come up with useful counter-suggestions but I hadn't realised quite how one sided it was going to be.

    As for the letter Always Tyred, those are my opinions and it has already been sent thank you very much. If you disagree send your own damn letter!

    :evil: I am NOT in a good mood today in case anyone hadn't noticed.
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Coriander
    yes but HOW?
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Coriander wrote:
    Pedant alert - actually Litts, the death rate in London of cyclists in cycling related accidents is going down. And you need about 20 more commas in there. (Ducks and runs for the door).

    I recall, from previous posts, that Littigator really is a litigator (or dispute resolution as my wife, a fellow litigator, insists I refer to it these days). So Litt used the correct number of commas for a lawyer - that is, sufficiently few to ensure that no one understands the sentence so preparing for future court cases to argue about the meaning of the sentence and thus earn lots of fees. :lol:
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    Coriander wrote:
    Pedant alert - actually Litts, the death rate in London of cyclists in cycling related accidents is going down. And you need about 20 more commas in there. (Ducks and runs for the door).

    I recall, from previous posts, that Littigator really is a litigator (or dispute resolution as my wife, a fellow litigator, insists I refer to it these days). So Litt used the correct number of commas for a lawyer - that is, sufficiently few to ensure that no one understands the sentence so preparing for future court cases to argue about the meaning of the sentence and thus earn lots of fees. :lol:

    :lol: dammit busted
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    Littigator wrote:
    Thank you everyone for your oh so positive feedback, particularly on the grammar FFS. I am well aware that it's much easier to just nit pick and criticise than come up with useful counter-suggestions but I hadn't realised quite how one sided it was going to be.

    As for the letter Always Tyred, those are my opinions and it has already been sent thank you very much. If you disagree send your own damn letter!

    :evil: I am NOT in a good mood today in case anyone hadn't noticed.

    I'll think you find my comments were on your punctuation. :wink::wink:

    Has that helped your mood :D
  • Nope, sorry Litts. I don't think that further legislation is the answer here and although I see where you are coming from, I'm afraid that in reality the whole thing would be impractical and unenforceable. This is a very difficult issue as many people would clearly benefit from some cycling proficiency - but I can see no real way of enforcing (not really the word I want to use) this, especially as it runs the risk of putting people off cycling - as happened in OZ when they made helmet wearing compulsory. Perhaps driving tests should reference cyclists and how to deal with them safely? Hopefully we will reach a critical mass in London at some stage at which case things should improve. However I think the onus is on the government/council/TFL etc to promote safe cycling and driving in a fair and responsible manner as well as to advertise the availability of cycle training which can often be had for free: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/9065.aspx but is poorly promoted.
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
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  • Oh, but the question ...

    I voted no. That's not that I think training wouldn't be very helpful to all of us, even if it is simply refreshing your mind about what you already know. But I think the difficulty is in policing a licencing scheme - let's face it, we might take the test and get licences but an awful lot of people out there wouldn't.

    So it would end up as responsible cyclists paying more money (there will always be a fee to have lessons, take a test and get a licence) and the real clowns still out there gooning around unlicenced and untraceable in the event of an incident.
    Never be tempted to race against a Barclays Cycle Hire bike. If you do, there are only two outcomes. Of these, by far the better is that you now have the scalp of a Boris Bike.
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    Coriander wrote:
    Littigator wrote:
    Thank you everyone for your oh so positive feedback, particularly on the grammar FFS. I am well aware that it's much easier to just nit pick and criticise than come up with useful counter-suggestions but I hadn't realised quite how one sided it was going to be.

    As for the letter Always Tyred, those are my opinions and it has already been sent thank you very much. If you disagree send your own damn letter!

    :evil: I am NOT in a good mood today in case anyone hadn't noticed.

    I'll think you find my comments were on your punctuation. :wink::wink:

    Has that helped your mood :D

    AAARRRRGGGHHHHHH! Throws arms in air and flounces out...twice in two days

    :lol:
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    I got you twice on my own yesterday, so I think you're underestimating :)
  • Coriander wrote:
    Littigator wrote:
    Below is my email today to the Mayor regarding cyclists safety following the incident in Holborn today.

    I would be happy to take a cycling proficiency test to gain a licence if it were made law as I think this would encourage good practice, increase both cyclist and other road user safety and promote confidence in cyclists roadworthiness to other road users if they knew we were all licensed.

    What does everyone else think?

    My letter

    Dear Mr Johnson

    As a fellow cyclist you will no doubt be aware of the ever increasing mortality rate of cyclists on London's roads. Today it appears there has been another (as yet unconfirmed) fatality in the Grays Inn Road area. This is in addition to the death of a cyclist on Upper Thames Street last week and a near fatality on the same day in Kensington High Street.

    Both I and my wife cycle commute every day. I won't repeat in detail the benefits for us, congestion, public transport overcrowding and the environment as I know you are well aware of these. But I am becoming increasingly alarmed by the dangers we face. What is most worrying is the attitude of drivers towards cyclists, a friend of mine was actually bumped by a car driver on Embankment today on purpose. Drivers need to be educated as to the very real dangers they put cyclists in with their impatience and the very vulnerable position someone on a bicycle is in, not having the advantage of 2 tonnes of steel cage around them.

    Over the Summer I have noticed a sharp increase in cyclists which is good. But at the same time a decline in cycling ability. I know the CTC operate a training scheme, but it doesn't seem to get the publicity it deserves.

    So would it be possible to highlight in any way to drivers the risk they create for cyclists and secondly the training scheme to new cyclists. I would even consider a licensing requirement if it would give drivers more confidence in cyclists roadworthiness and help increase safety for all.

    Thank you for reading this.

    Kind regards

    Jamie Litt

    Pedant alert - actually Litts, the death rate in London of cyclists in cycling related accidents is going down. And you need about 20 more commas in there. (Ducks and runs for the door).

    But seriously, I think it would be more effective if you concentrate on increasing cyclists' road use abilities and leave out the bit about cars and lorries - everyone knows they are a potential danger to cyclists. And, I don't want to to bait people, but from the sketchy, and no doubt incomplete, information I've heard about the recent spate of accidents, cyclist negligence may have been contributory in a few of them - filtering down the side of lorries as they are about to turn left.



    Never start a sentence with "And" lol, sorry, couldn't resist :P
    If people can under-stand what's being said, don't bother correcting them, really grinds my gears when people do that :shock: :lol:
  • Coriander wrote:
    nicklouse wrote:
    what good would a test do? would it be policed? How? what about cyclist who dont ride on the road?

    I see the issue as a lack on provision of cycle ways. NOT lanes separate routes not easy or may be not possible to do in London.

    Educate all road users, sure when they take some form of UK based test but you do not need a UK licence to drive on the UK roads.

    just my non commuting thoughts.

    Cyclists are road users. And a lot of the time the cycling I see is far worse, irresponsible and dangerous than the driving. Please will people stop denying cyclists have any part or responsibility for their own safety, accidents and incidents on the road.

    Agreed - however one has to bear in mind that a driver is in control of a ton or more of metal travelling at 30+mph, whereas a cyclist is in command of about 100kg all told, travelling at half the speed. I think that the level of responsibility should be interpreted in light of the risks associated with any irresponsibility. Do you expect the same standard of driving from a delivery van as you do from an HGV driver or a bus driver? No.

    The point of educating all road users is vital - educating cyclists alone will only ever amount to teaching how to avoid being killed by drivers and will do nothing to moderate the behaviour of drivers, which will contonue to deteriorate. Being a driver and a cyclist makes me aware of both and better at both. Most motorists (particularly the ones who proclaim "I'm a cyclist too" after they've hit the accelerator in response to you indicating right) haven't got any idea of how cyclists should be expected to behave, and therefore how motorists should behave around them. Its for that reason that I often get about 3m beside me from well meaning motorists who've just been about a foot from my back wheel, for example. The same motorists probably don't understand why I scowl when they abort a potentially fatal (for me) move - they think they've been responsible - I know they have been irresponsible for starting it in the first place and that 5 times out of 10 they'd go through with it.

    The driving test should have more information about other types of vehicles on the roads. More on horses, tractors, electric vehciles and cyclists. More on Segways, space hoppers, pogo sticks, elephants, steam engines..... amphibious craft, hovercraft, skae boards, roller bladers... sled dog teams..... shopping trolleys....
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    biondino wrote:
    I got you twice on my own yesterday, so I think you're underestimating :)

    I twice posted comments about his grammar and inaccuracies yesterday, but deleted them coz I thought it was mean. And that he would kill me.

    I was of course more concerned about being mean. :wink:
  • LittigatorLittigator Posts: 1,262
    Coriander wrote:
    biondino wrote:
    I got you twice on my own yesterday, so I think you're underestimating :)

    I twice posted comments about his grammar and inaccuracies yesterday, but deleted them coz I thought it was mean. And that he would kill me.

    I was of course more concerned about being mean. :wink:

    I was, in actual fact, referring, of course, to the, albeit not blindingly obvious, matter of my having flounced out twice in two days and not, as you would both believe, the matter of you correcting my abysmal grammar OR punctuation.

    :P
    Roadie FCN: 3

    Fixed FCN: 6
  • tiny_pens wrote:
    Problem: Cyclist keep getting hit by cars.
    Solution: Train drivers not to hit cyclists
    Isn't that what the barriers at level crossings are for? And what about car drivers? :P

    (Ducks)
  • CorianderCoriander Posts: 1,326
    Littigator wrote:
    Coriander wrote:
    biondino wrote:
    I got you twice on my own yesterday, so I think you're underestimating :)

    I twice posted comments about his grammar and inaccuracies yesterday, but deleted them coz I thought it was mean. And that he would kill me.

    I was of course more concerned about being mean. :wink:

    I was, in actual fact, referring, of course, to the, albeit not blindingly obvious, matter of my having flounced out twice in two days and not, as you would both believe, the matter of you correcting my abysmal grammar OR punctuation.

    :P

    This is when we SOOOOOOOO need a blowing a kiss emoticon.
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    What we need is popc1.gif
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