Cyclists that don’t abide by the rules of the road, such as stopping at red lights, undertaking and disregarding zebra crossings, for example, can be a frustration for drivers. But should they have number plates and MOT tests to hold them accountable?
Rob Hull, the Mail Online, reports:
Law-breaking cyclists should face tougher penalties but should also get better protection from aggressive drivers, a recent poll suggests.
The survey found that 86 per cent backed the introduction of greater punishment for cyclists who jump red lights and fail to obey other rules set out in the Highway Code.
But 80 per cent of those polled also called for penalties to be increased for drivers behaving aggressively towards cyclists and 68 per cent wanted a crackdown on passing bike riders too closely.
The survey also proposed new measures to govern the safety of cyclists and other road users, including a compulsory bicycle MOT test - backed by a third - and registration plates for all bikes - backed by just over half at 59 per cent.
The study was part of Halfords' Sharing the Road Report, which was powered by a YouGov survey of 2,042 Britons.
Of those questioned, four in five (81 per cent) said they wanted to see tougher action taken against those who cycle aggressively, as well as penalties for anyone on two wheels who fails to abide by the same laws as motorists.
Half also backed the idea for all cyclists to have to pass a cycling proficiency test before being allowed on the road, while a quarter said they wanted to see on-the-spot Highway Code tests administered to riders seen to be bending the law.
Almost three in five (59 per cent) also wanted the introduction of number plates for all bicycles to help the police track two-wheeled repeat offenders.
There have been calls for stricter rules for bikes following the recent Charlie Alliston case.
The 20-year-old was cleared of manslaughter but convicted of a lesser offence of causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving following the death of 44-year-old mother-of-two Kim Briggs in a collision. Alliston was riding a track bike with no front brakes, which is illegal on the road.
More than a third (35 per cent) of the panel surveyed said similar instances could be prevented if all bicycles were required to have regular servicing, similar to the MOT test motor vehicles have to undertake.
As many as 65 per cent of those polled said they wanted riders to wear reflective clothing at all times to ensure they're seen by drivers and pedestrians while 45 per cent wanted dedicated cycles lanes on all UK roads to guarantee the safety of the vulnerable road users.
In keeping with the study's road sharing focus, there were also suggestions to improve the behaviour of motorists.
Four in five said they wanted penalties to be increased for those found to be driving aggressively towards cyclists and 68 per cent wanted tougher punishment for those who pass bike riders too closely.
Another 18 per cent also believe that a bicycle-riding section should be added to the driving test.
Commenting on the findings, Karen Bellairs, chief customer officer at Halfords said: 'Our state-of-the-nation report on sharing the road suggests that there are tensions on both sides, amidst rising levels of traffic, and as driver and cyclist numbers rise.
'Reassuringly, however, when we delve into the statistics, it’s not so much an ‘us and them’ attitude that we find, but rather a ‘let’s work together’ mindset, with widespread support from motorists towards cyclists – and vice versa.
'There is a genuine willingness to share the road, something that Halfords, which champions motoring as well as cycling, is very keen to foster.'
If the roads are to be successfully shared by both drivers and cyclists, it seems logical that both pass a test to be able to travel safely side by side. This would remove the risk of unpredictability from cyclists and drivers and make for safer roads.