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Such a concept may be attractive to legislators seeking easy and cheap “solutions” but is bicycle licensing worth the expense, and would it work?And do calls for bicycle licensing – and cyclist testing – reflect a genuine desire to improve road safety or is it a means for the motorised majority to reduce cycling levels with regulations? Some countries have had bicycle registration and licence schemes.However, two wrongs don’t make a right and, while the social identity theory will always mean the “out” group is demonised by the “in” group there’s little point in dwelling on this so how about examining some of the arguments about compulsory registration, compulsory training and testing, a “bicycle tax”, and compulsory licensing for bicycles? It’s official policy for the UK Independence Party, which wants all bikes to carry ‘Cyclediscs’ to prove riders have insurance “to cover damage to cars” and which would “deter dangerous cyclist behaviour.” (You know, like licenses and number plates make all motorists drive below speed limits).UKIP also wants cyclists to be forced to dismount when there are signs saying so.Road users without engines pose little risk to others.However, some motorists feel cyclists be regulated because “they’re all tax-dodgers”.However, in March 2010, the Swiss parliament started to debate whether to abolish the licenses, and then did.

pay it would only be 3p a year at most so why bother?

The UK’s Department for Transport is pretty good on registration for cyclists: the standard reply is along the lines of “if we required cyclists to be registered and carry number plates we’d have to do the same for pedestrians.” Drivers of cars and HGVs and vans require licenses and identification plates because they are no longer benign road users: strap on an engine and you become a potential danger.

But there are calls for licensing from friendly quarters, too.

For instance, a graphic in the extensive ‘cycle safe’ campaign in The Times, in February 2012, seemed to suggest that bicycle licensing would be a requirement if cyclists ever wanted to be shown “consideration” on the roads.

And the “you don’t pay road tax” gibe is just one of many arguments used against cyclists by some motorists.

Another is “you all ride through red lights” and “you all ride on pavements.” Now, a simple tit-for-tat response would be to reply that motorists routinely drive through stop-lights on red; and the motorists’ habit of parking on footways is now so commonplace it’s seen as perfectly legal.


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