Thursday 27 February 2014

Cycle registration? Justified because of wingmirrors according to a BANES councillor

Recently one of the BANES cllrs was muttering about cycle registration at a public forum. We contacted him to ask him WTF he meant.

It turns out it's all because he lost two wingmirrors while driving and considers this to be the fault fo the cyclists involved (rather than any actions of his own).  This is straight out of the newspaper-web site comment arena and anyone seriously proposing it should be laughed at.

Notice how the councillor avoids mentioning any of the specific questions in our Questions for Anyone Proposing Registration page. Maybe he's embarrassed.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Cycling Front
Date: 27 February 2014 13:25
Subject: Re: bicycle registration and licensing proposals
To: "Bryan Chalker (Cllr)" <>

On 19 February 2014 20:19, Bryan Chalker (Cllr) <> wrote:
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.  I was merely making a point last night that it wouldn’t take rocket-science to devise a way of identifying cyclists with some form of registration plate and modest insurance cover. 

Here's the point: it would. you'd have to register every single bicycle in the country. Then add the challenge of per-cyclist insurance, add the offence of UK citizens cycling uninsured 

Now deal with the problem of bicycles from abroad, allowing foreign bikes to be cycled unregistered, presumably also leaving it legal for other EU citizens to cycle without a license -unless you intend to exit the EU and so deny EU cyclists the right to cycle here with "reciprocal" rights. 

If you do let EU cyclists ride round without registration, come up with a plan to identify dual nationality cyclists pedalling round unregistered and shouting "foreign!" ever time someone pulls them over. A UK-wide identity card scheme should cover this.
On two occasions I’ve had wing mirrors damaged on two Classic cars by clumsy cyclists and I was left to foot the bills.  I really don’t think this is fair. 

And you've never lost a wingmirror on a parked car to a passing car? You clearly have off-street parking. 

If someone on a bicycle hits your wingmirror, well, they are meant to stop. Do you think that they will do so if some registration scheme exists? Or do you expect that whatever registration plate a bicycle has will be the same size as a motorbike one.

I also happen to think that a great number of pedal cycles, minus mudguards, reflectors, warning instruments and proper lighting, should not be deemed street legal. 

There are laws against bicycles without lights and reflectors

Mudguards: cyclists choice to get a wet butt
Warning instruments: what do you mean? Hazard lights? Indicators? something else?

But, then I’m merely a senior motorist and seem to have less rights than the cycling fraternity these days. 

You will find you have more defacto right to reach your destination alive than people who chose cycle. Not "cycling fraterinity", just those in your constituency and nearby who for some reason don't drive to their destination.

Your justification for this "wingmirrors" appears to avoid fundamental safety issues that do matter to people trying to make cycling a survivable transport option -even in Bath, which is looking more and more outdated compared to Bristol.

When you consider, however, that the current goals of the UK cycling groups are "proper, dutch-quality segregated cycling paths", you should recognise that this will protect your wingmirrors. Everyone who cycles on the bristol-bath path, Avon river path, Kennet canal path, Twin-tunnels path: nobody here clips your wingmirrors. Anyone who gets the opportunity to cycle on the (minimal) London Road cycle path -same thing. However, BANES council in its "London Gateway" is proposing removing that path and replacing it with paint on the ground -paint that brings bicycles and cars into conflict and so create the very problems you want to avoid 

Thanks for making contact but I don’t want to start a war with you.  Kind regards - BRYAN

Not a war, just waiting for you to answer the questions on the implementation details on any registration and licensing scheme, which you have so far avoided.

If you can't do that, then it comes out as an off-the-cuff remark without any serious consideration. While this is acceptable in a comments page in the Bath Chronicle, is it somewhat embarrassing when councillors say this in public meetings, as it may indicate an attempt to push public policy into a corner of ridicule.
From: Cycling Front
Sent: 19 February 2014 04:22
To: Bryan Chalker (Cllr)
Subject: bicycle registration and licensing proposals


Apparently you have been advocating licensing and registration of bicycles and cyclists.

Normallyl whenever someone makes such a proposal in public, they haven't thought through details. Such as "does this apply to private roads"? "if there is an age limit, how will police know whether or not someone is below it", or "what will you do when someone from another EU member state wants to cycle"

Accordingly, we've made a list of things that should be considered -a list made when last someone made a public "license all cyclists" proposal

Please can you provide detailed answers to the questions, provide solutions that actually workable, or acknowledge that your proposal is both unworkable and political suicide on a national arena.

thank you

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  1. He sounds like my mother-in-law! I have to not mention the "b-word" (whisper it - "bicycle") or else she goes off on one like an Evening Post commenter after one too many energy drinks...

  2. I think by "warning instruments" he means bells or similar. And technically bikes are only required to have lights if used between sunset and sunrise, so maybe he's suggesting that they should be required at all times (like they are on motor vehicles).

  3. He should ask the Swiss how well cycle registration went for them... oh wait, they dropped it as a massive waste of money...