Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mayor's Bonkers Cycle Scheme

I got this yesterday - regarding Ken Livingstone's frankly bonkers idea to register cyclists in London.

If you wish to write to express your views on compulsory registration you can do so by sending an email to: mayor@london.gov.uk <mailto:mayor@london.gov.uk>

LCC Press Release
Cycle registration could halt cycle growth in London*
An unworkable scheme to register cycles in London and fit them with
number plates could bring the welcome growth in London cycling to a
sharp halt
The scheme was proposed by Ken Livingstone, Mayor London. Speaking on the radio. Livingstone said he was considering a Private Bill in Parliament that would require registration of cycles and their owners, and for bikes to display a registration plate that could be monitored by cameras.
The London Cycling Campaign has written to Ken Livingstone expressing its dismay at the proposal which could undo efforts by the Mayor, Transport for London and organisations like the London Cycling Campaign to reduce congestion and pollution in the capital by promoting
sustainable transport.
Registration will be costly, complex and bureaucratic. It will also be a cost barrier for those considering taking up cycling, especially those on low incomes. Simon Brammer LCC?s director said ?There is no doubt that cycle licensing or registration in London would deter many
occasional cyclists and those who are considering taking up cycling. In particular it would have an impact on those who may be unable to afford the cost of a license. A better way to encourage safe and considerate cycling is cycle confidence training in line with National Standards.?
LCC has been pleased to see the capital benefiting from the recent increases in cycling. There is less traffic congestion, less pollution and less traffic noise as more people enjoy the health advantages of walking and cycling. Cycling training, not a costly licensing scheme, is the way forward.

From the Department of Transport
"The question of a registration and tax system for cyclists is often raised and the Department has examined this. We have concluded that it would be impossible since it would require a licensing similar to that for motorists. As there are in excess of 20 million bicycles in Great
Britain and many change hands through second hand sales, keeping track of this would be extremely difficult and expensive. The fee for any registration system could not be very large since it would need to relate to that payable for the smallest motor cycle - around £15.00 per
annum. We have therefore concluded that a registration scheme would be too expensive to establish and run since the costs of its administration would far outweigh the revenue received. It would also place an additional enforcement burden on the police. Moreover it would be difficult to impose a road tax on cyclists since they do not cause pollution and impose very little wear and tear on the roads particularly at a time when the Government is encouraging cycling?

*London Assembly** **Green Party Group*
news release
Friday, July 28, 2006
Bike registration ?impractical, costly and bureaucratic? says Mayor?s green adviser
Responding to the Mayor of London?s call for a bike registration scheme, Jenny Jones a Green Party member of the London Assembly said:
"If the London Mayor wants to stop the growth of cycling in London then a bike registration scheme will do it over-night. It is a completely impractical, costly and bureaucratic measure which will give the police a fairly pointless and thankless task, trying to chase bikes without
paperwork. We need to encourage casual cyclists to become regular cyclists by making it easier to cycle, rather than more difficult. We need more cycle training, rather than form filling. If we want cyclists off the pavement, then give them safer roads and more cycle lanes."
"I'm all in favour of changing the culture of both cycling and driving in London, which is why we got the Mayor to agree to a major campaign called 'Share the Road', which aims to promote mutual respect between all road users.?* *

The number of cycles owned in Britain is similar to the number of cars ? over 20million. So the cost of a registration scheme would be similar to that required for car licensing. To cover its costs, people would have to pay £150-£200 for every cycle owned, including children?s bikes. This would be a massive deterrent to people taking up cycling or going out just for the occasional bike ride. Yet these are exactly the people who we want to encourage to cycle more, if we are to tackle congestion, obesity, air pollution and climate change.

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