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Riders a greater danger than motorists says Conservative

Cyclists are more dangerous than cars according to a district councillor from Kent and therefore should be paying road tax and buying insurance policies.

Councillor Lawrence Abraham’s claims, reported in the Sevenoaks Chronicle, were made when he questioned the need for more cycling infrastructure to be created in the Sevenoaks area of Kent during a meeting of the district council which was addressed by the Sevenoaks Cycling Forum.
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Referring to cyclists, Mr Abraham, a Conservative councillor for the Hartley and Hodsoll Street ward, said: "They're more dangerous than any car I've ever seen. They should be paying road tax and have insurance."

The Chronicle reports that the councillor opposed the call for more cycle paths and safer routes for children to schools, saying: "Where's this money coming from?"

His views were echoed by those of fellow district councillor Alison Cook, a Conservative who represents the Leigh and Chiddingstone Causeway ward.

"There are huge problems when cyclists and walkers share the same paths. Unfortunately, a lot of cyclists, as soon as they set off, see themselves as king of the road. And a small child hit by a bicycle could have a nasty experience.

She added: "We don't often see cyclists on cycle routes but we do see them on the road. It's galling when they have cycle routes and don't use them. Maybe cyclists should pay some sort of contribution or be licensed in some way."

John Morrison of Sevenoaks Cycling Forum said: "We thought we'd knocked those clichés on the head and got beyond that.

“It’s unfortunate that not all councillors are up to speed with what’s happening at county and national level. We don’t think Sevenoaks should be a black hole for cycling provision compared to other districts in Kent.
 “We’ve tried to argue that there are problems with obesity, carbon emissions and congestion and despite the deep-rooted opposition to cycling by councillor Abraham and one or two of his colleagues, we’re confident the majority will eventually see the light.”

When contacted by Road.cc, councillor Abraham refused to expand on his comments, telling us he doesn’t talk to journalists and stating that he was simply expressing his “personal opinion” at the meeting.

Thanks to iPayRoadtax.com for the spot

42 comments

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Chrisc [146 posts] 5 years ago
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What a twat and twattess...

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adscrim [137 posts] 5 years ago
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Maybe Alison Cook should look at her own remarks before rounding on cyclist...

1. Cyclists have cycle routes
2. They're shared use facilites
3. There are "huge problems" with shared use facilities
4. Cyclists are using the road

Do the math lady!

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Mike McBeth [74 posts] 5 years ago
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These Tories often say when they're elcted that they plan to represent the people in their areas -- but time and again they show that they're only really interested in following their own agendas, expressing their own ill-informed views and seem to think that none of their constituents are cyclists who pay taxes of all kinds and should be represented by them rather than criticised.

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 5 years ago
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Chris, spot on.

This is absurd. ""They're more dangerous than any car I've ever seen" Mr Councillor, spend 15 minutes stood at your nearest roundabout, junction or commuter road at rush hour then re-assess your comments.

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johngirvin [6 posts] 5 years ago
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"And a small child hit by a car would have a fatal experience."

Fixed that for you.

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iscott66 [69 posts] 5 years ago
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Unfortunately it is politicians with views like these running councils & the country, Doesn't matter what colour of badge they wear.

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DaveP [412 posts] 5 years ago
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".. a small child hit by a bicycle could have a nasty experience .." And what if they got hit by a car?

Don't get me started..

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headfirst [82 posts] 5 years ago
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cllr.abraham [at] sevenoaks.gov.uk

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Chrisc [146 posts] 5 years ago
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Well done!!

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cjc119 [2 posts] 5 years ago
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If Mr Abraham had taken up cycling at a younger age he wouldn't be an ill informed fat bag of wind he is today , using up NHS resources that I've paid for with my taxes.Word of advice Mr Abraham when you see the bright light walk towards it , the world doesn't need you any more.

Alison Cook , umm not quite as reluctant to vote for a nice little earner though are we madam , explain the term Civic Service to me again !?!?  31

"At a meeting on Tuesday, councillors voted to increase the basic allowance from £2,958 to £4,795 – an increase of 62 per cent"
"By 2012 Sevenoaks' taxpayers will be spending £383,000 on councillors' allowances. The majority of councillors have full-time jobs"

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Pickypong [55 posts] 5 years ago
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What a dick

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OldRidgeback [2567 posts] 5 years ago
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Working in Kent as I do I have to suffer the beliefs/actions of these numbskulls. I vote in London so I can't even get them out of the office for which they are so clearly unsuited.

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John G [53 posts] 5 years ago
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Here we go again. Daft councillors don't help. A few points that will:

1. It's not called "road tax" (this was abolished in the 1930s), it is Vehicle Exise Duty and VED is based upon the CO2 emissions produced by a vehicle. A bike produces zero emissions and you could successfully argue it is therefore zero-rated.

2. The construction, maintenance, etc. of roads, pavements and other public is paid for out of general PAYE and other taxation.

3. The vast majority of cyclists own a motor vehicle and pay VED anyway.

4. Cars, lorries, buses, vans, etc. cause much more damage to road surfaces than a bike will ever do.

5. Cycling beats motoring in terms of health benefits, user death rates, etc. - ever heard of a cyclist killing a motorist in a collision? (afterwards, maybe ...)

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 5 years ago
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Oh, here we go again....  37

What a dick head. Shame, b/c I love cycling in Kent. Beautiful place. These idiot councillors don't deserve it.

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SevenoaksChronicle [1 post] 5 years ago
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My name is Keith Fairbank, the journalist at the Sevenoaks Chronicle who attended the meeting and wrote the original article. I'm glad to see it's sparked your interest and am planning a follow-up story for next week's edition based on some of these responses.

If anyone would like to contact me directly, e-mail keith.fairbank [at] sevenoaks-chronicle.co.uk or Tel 01732 228030.

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bartape [65 posts] 5 years ago
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I live in North West Kent and it's not always the cyclists that are dangerous but the roads we ride on. Pot holes, sunken drains and workman who fail to when resurfacing roads make them level causing the sides of the roads to be rocky and undulating.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 5 years ago
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Am much as I agree with Chris, I think that the real issue here is one of education and access to information. Sadly, a councillor doesn't need to be qualified in anyway to carry out their duties, and they're usually put forward by their party for reasons that don't necessarily have much to do with the public interest. The poor sod is probably just poorly educated and badly informed.

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spaceyjase [53 posts] 5 years ago
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I'm sure there's a cost saving in building cycling infrastructure compared to more road miles too and indeed, Sustrans think the cycle network is part of the deficit solution. I'm inclined to agree  1

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dave atkinson [6201 posts] 5 years ago
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SevenoaksChronicle wrote:

My name is Keith Fairbank, the journalist at the Sevenoaks Chronicle who attended the meeting and wrote the original article. I'm glad to see it's sparked your interest and am planning a follow-up story for next week's edition based on some of these responses.

Mainly it's depressing that someone can trot out their own petty prejudices as fact in a council meeting. honestly. "They're more dangerous than any car I've ever seen". really? how so? show me the statistics that back up your claim. Really, you just made it up? oh.

in any situation where there is an issue with traffic, cycling is part of the solution, not part of the problem. the better the facilities, the more people will use them. the more people that use them, the better everyone learns how they work and conflict goes down. you want bikes off the roads in town, Cllr Alison Cook? so do i: i want them on purpose built, properly segregated paths that make cycling journeys quicker and safer. that costs money and takes commitment though, so instead what i get is someone painting a line on a road that gives me no protection, puts me in the gutter and at risk from lorries and ends at every junction with me giving way. Then I get moaned at because i'm not using it. thanks, but no thanks.

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Team_Banana [13 posts] 5 years ago
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Next thing they will be burning the Koran!

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Cauld Lubter [132 posts] 5 years ago
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If the world was ever short of arseholes, I'm sure we could use a couple of Councillors.

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emla [4 posts] 5 years ago
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Another ill-informed nobody with way too much power at their fingertips. Some useful comments on cycling infrastructure from the Government-commissioned Eddington Transport Study may come in handy:

"1.68 Some types of schemes that show good welfare returns, such as public transport, utilisation, walking and cycling, will also have environmental benefits due to their low requirements for land and infrastructure, and their impacts on congestion reduction.

3.44 Encouraging cycling, walking and smarter choices has the potential to provide benefits to the economy and welfare through both reduced congestion and the associated likely reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, and improved health. Little
evidence exists on benefit:cost ratios for such interventions, largely owing to the significant
uncertainties around the costs. But the DfT analysis suggests that with high intensity uptake of smart measures, some 21 percent reduction in urban traffic could be achieved."

Newsflash from the 21st Century! Wake up politicians, you're way behind the curve.

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cslattery [84 posts] 5 years ago
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Typical Tory!

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djcritchley [181 posts] 5 years ago
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Sheesh, what idiots.

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Simon E [2612 posts] 5 years ago
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Is it any wonder that local Councils are ineffective, inefficient and prone to making profoundly stupid decisions if people as ignorant as this are in charge?

"Road tax"? No such thing. Most cyclists are also drivers so they pay VED as well as all the other taxes we are encumbered with.

"King of the road"? Oh my lordy, if only it were so! Impatient hooting of horns, cutting you up, abuse and SMIDSY, hardly the way to treat royalty.

Cyclists using cyclepaths also get a raw deal - dog walkers with those long leads waiting to garrotte you, dog sh*t or broken glass in the middle of the lane, vehicles parked in dedicated cycle lanes.... I could go on.

If the cycle routes of Kent are as poorly designed as they are in most UK towns and cities I'm not surprised the riders are on the road, where they are allowed, of course! But the standard of driving and level of agression by drivers in many places frightens people enough that they are too afraid to cycle on the road.

As a friend of mine who visits The Netherlands (and loves the infrastructure there) often reminds me, when you get off the ferry at Dover in terms of cycling provision it's like entering an impoverished Third World country.

And what of the 1.8 million drivers without insurance? Let's start with them first.

Come on Sevenoaks Chronicle, please bring some balance to the subject.

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0liver [90 posts] 5 years ago
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Of course the other aspect is the minimal damage a bike can do hitting something. Compared to what a car can. An order of magnitude less mass, together with a lower speed means far less energy involved.

That isn't to say that you can't do damage on a bike, it is just far less likely so the main thing that insurance would do is stop people cycling and so increase the cost to the nation of less fit people etc.

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jijithebatcat [5 posts] 5 years ago
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Hmmm. Ill-informed and stupid comments about cycling? Not really that surprised, although to be honest I am more surprised how two people get to be local political leaders with a complete misunderstanding of how the taxation system works in the UK.

Idiots  37

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pedalismo [59 posts] 5 years ago
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It just sickens me to think how ignorant, malicious and out of touch local politicians can be. Something I witnessed first hand as a council press officer. Quite unsavoury loud mouths some of them who are detached from most people's daily reality

I pay my taxes, including VED. I'm a considerate road user on two or four wheels. I cycle to work to because I can't afford (or stand) the tube.

So what right does Abraham have to tell me I should pay more for the frankly piss poor condition of the UK's overburdened infrastructure? And just because I ride a bike. Kiss my chainring!

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OldRidgeback [2567 posts] 5 years ago
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The health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks by about 20:1 according to a survey I saw mentioned here. Perhaps the councllors need to be made aware of the fact that healthy people will place less of a burden on the health system. But then I do wonder at their state of health due to lack of exercise.

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Chrisc [146 posts] 5 years ago
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http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/topics/company/kentcountycouncil

Looks like the rest of the council are more reasonable with only Larry voting against the motion. No stranger to a fish supper our Larry  3

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