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Government says no plans to follow regime operating in countrires such as US during debate on pavement cyclists

Lord Sugar has ignited a debate over whether cyclists in the UK, like those in some parts of the US, should be required to carry identification with police being given powers to confiscate the bicycles of those who fail to provide it, but the government has said it has no plans to do so.

The Amstrad founder and host of the BBC show The Apprentice, himself a keen cyclist and owner of a fleet of Pinarello bikes, was speaking yesterday during a debate in the House of Lords following a question about pavement cyclists tabled by Labour peer Lord Harrison.

This morning Lord Sugar added to his earlier comments by saying he believed cyclists should carry ID so police could check the identity of those committing offences such as riding through red lights or cycling on the pavement, but also because of its value should a cyclists suffer a mishap that rendered them unconscious.

Lord Sugar, who regularly cycles both in Britain and when saying at his other homes in both Spain and Florida, asked government transport spokesman Lord Atlee, "Is it mandatory for a cyclist using the roads to carry some form of identification on them?”

"In the United States of America we are told to carry identification with us so that the police can take action against people who are riding on pavements or jumping lights.

"If you don't have identification with you, they confiscate your bike and it is up to you to go and get it back and pay a big fine."

In reply, Lord Atlee, who is the grandson of the Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee, said the government had no plans to introduce such a requirement.

Speaking this morning on BBC Breakfast, Chris Peck, policy co-ordinator at national cyclists’ organisation CTC, said; “We’re very pleased to see the government has no intention” of requiring cyclists to carry identification.

“We feel it’s a completely disproportionate to measure to take,” he continued. “We don’t force people to carry ID in this country, it’s a very different attitude to identification that they have in the US or other parts of Europe.

“Pedestrians don’t have to carry identification. Even in a car, you don’t have to have your driving licence with you at all times, you have to present it if you’re challenged by the police at a police station at a later date, so this wouldn’t really be a very suitable or sensible thing to do, we feel.

“It’s disproportionate because simply the number of people being injured by cyclists doing the wrong thing is so minimal compared to the dangers presented by motor vehicles, and we feel that the solution to this is to have lots more traffic police out on the streets trying to tackle problems for everyone.”

“Cyclists fall into a middle ground between motor vehicle users and pedestrians. Are we going to do it to kids as well as adults? Where do you draw the line? A lot of people have passports, most people have driving licences.

“We don’t actually have an identification system in this country that we can force people to adopt, and if we brought it in for cyclists, that would mean an enormous amount of bureaucracy being created, at huge cost to the Exchequer. I think that’s why the government is unwilling to do this.

“What we’d like to see is the existing regulations enforced better, more police out there on the junctions where cyclist are seen to be jumping red lights, catching red light jumping there. They would also pick up all the motor vehicles doing exactly the same thing. 49 per cent of cars in 30mph areas were breaking the speed limit last year. It’s road user behaviour on a wide scale that we’re looking to improve.”

Lord Harrison’s initial question was inspired by he and his wife encountering a pavement cyclist as they left a Chinese restaurant in Chester who told them “with an entirely straight face that, as he had no lights on his bike, he was obliged to ride on the pavement.”

In response to his initial question, Lord Attlee said that there had been “680 reported personal injury road accidents involving cyclists on the footway on GB roads” during 2010, although he added that the Department for Transport did not record who had been at fault in those.

He added that during the same year, some 342 cyclists faced magistrates’ courts proceedings in connection with cycling on pavements, adding that the offence was usually dealt with through fixed penalty notices, which weren’t recorded centrally.

He added: "Education is more important than enforcement, especially with youngsters. Frankly it is not realistic to issue a fixed-penalty notice to a 10-year-old."

Labour peer Lord Young, who said he cycled to the House of Lords each day pointed out: “I experience many irresponsible motorists on my journeys.

“There are motorists who think it is okay to overtake on a humpbacked bridge and those who think it is okay to go on the wrong side of a traffic island to overtake, not to mention the motorist who kindly almost ran me over on a roundabout earlier this week.”

He also asked Lord Attlee whether he agreed that more people should be encouraged to cycle, “and that we should also be encouraging responsible cycling and driving?”

In reply, Lord Attlee urged all motorists “to regularly read the Highway Code because the contents do change.”

On Twitter this morning, Lord Sugar expanded on his comments yesterday, saying: "Cyclists should carry some form of ID, so they can get nicked by police for jumping pavement or lights. Otherwise they just lie who they are."

He added that carrying ID was also a good idea for cyclists "in case they get knocked off bike in serious accident that might render them unconscious" and that when out riding, he always carried ID, cash for a taxi and a phone.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

58 comments

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James Warrener [1080 posts] 4 years ago
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In a way I can see where he is coming from.

I always wear a roadid because if something were to happen to me I want my family to be with me or notified as soon as possible.

It is a matter of choice though, of course.

Would I be as happy if I had to carry ID in case I was stupid enough to run a red light or cause an accident on a pavement by riding on it?

Personally, yes. but I am not sure everyone wants accountability and responsibility.

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andylul [410 posts] 4 years ago
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"Cyclists should carry some form of ID, so they can get nicked by police for jumping pavement or lights. Otherwise they just lie who they are"

Is it me or is that one of the most ridiculous things you've ever heard? Not everyone, unlike Lord Alan suggests, is so riddled with criminality that they feel they need to verify who they are should they be arrested or cautioned...

Surely, if you're expecting to get 'nicked by the police' you'd be prepared with some fake or stolen ID (presumably the bike you'd be riding would be stolen also) ?

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step-hent [718 posts] 4 years ago
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Well, I'm sure some people would prepare themselves with a fake ID in case they got caught cycling illegally, but most wouldn't bother. I know that I (and probably a majority of drivers) sometimes break the speed limit in my car, but I don't feel the need to carry a fake driving licence and register my car to a false name and address - I just accept that, if I do something wrong, I'm likely to pay a fine or some other penalty. I don't buy the idea that very minor criminality is always backed up with more major criminality - it just isn't true.

The main problem seems to be the logistical one - there is no compulsory form of ID in this country. Passports and driving licences aren't mandatory, and none of the other government issued documentation has a photo (e.g. birth certificate). So, whilst I'd be perfectly happy to carry ID with me on my bike (and generally do anyway, as my driving licence is in my wallet), it's not feasible to require people to have a passport or driving licence for cycling, and then we move in to having to hold something akin to a bike licence, which opens up a whole new can of worms.

In conclusion - Lord Sugar in ill thought out statement shocker.

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bashthebox [751 posts] 4 years ago
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I'd be quite happy to see more police on busy road junctions. I'm pretty sure it would benefit cyclists because drivers would be less inclined to sit in the bie box, and they might not barge their way across cyclists when turning left.
And likewise, the stupid irritating cyclists who jump red lights and give the rest of us a bad name would behave too.
Unfortunately to police every junction would be such a ridiculous waste of limited police resources that it will neer happen.

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Marky Legs [122 posts] 4 years ago
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Commuting as I do every day into Birmingham I see things you just wouldn't want to believe.

Whilst a cyclist jumping a red light (I don't condone this as it upsets other road users and gives "good" cyclists a bad name) probably won't kill anyone, a driver of a car/truck/bus most likely will.

The other day I started to navigate a roundabout with lights, having just got green and checking to my right was okay (it was), I double checked as always only to see a woman driver totally ignore her red light and the fact that other vehicles had stopped. She was talking into her mobile, held in front of her face as they do nowadays, looking down into it. How she didn't crash is beyond me, but more importantly if I hadn't double checked she would hae hit me.

Cars jumping red lights seems to be becoming a common sight these days. It is this that needs to be stopped, not worrying about cyclist not having an id card

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DofeDome [24 posts] 4 years ago
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Cyclists should be held responsible for the offenses they make. In my opinion there's not much difference between car or cycle or pedestrian jumping red light. Perhaps it would be more effective to register bikes ( I don't know if there is such a database in the UK or somewhere else). With that the police officer can write down serial number of the bike and send the fine afterwards.

In my country(Bosnia&Herzegovina)we are obliged to carry an ID at all times, including a drivers licence while driving any vehicle..but in the other hand there are no separate tracks for bicycles, riding is done pretty much anywhere you can, and the system is heavily corrupted. So in what ever way you take it, consider yourself lucky to be living in a law-structured country.

cheers ^^

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 4 years ago
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I've just bought Dog Tags with basic ID on them and usually carry my wallet with me. I would be happy to be stopped by the Police and have my ID checked. I have nothing to hide.

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HaloJ [22 posts] 4 years ago
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Makes good sense to me. It's the most sensible suggestion with regards making cyclists responsible for their actions and much better than other suggestions such as the "cycling test/licence".

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PeteH [151 posts] 4 years ago
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was surprised to hear Sugar being described as a "keen cyclist". Do you reckon he goes out with a bunch of mates every weekend? Can't imagine I'd want to ride with him....

As regards what he says, I can't see how any registration scheme could be made to work, and I am against ID cards. But I can see the day when we'll all (and I mean motorists, cyclists and pedestrians) need liability insurance.

I mean, what do you do if a pedestrian steps out, causes an accident and ruins your bike in the process? Write it off as bad luck?

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IHphoto [116 posts] 4 years ago
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If you are bothered about being injured and emergency services knowing blood group ICE number and name then by all means carry something - even if in your mobile.

However, going from a voluntary situation to being compelled is streets apart: I can see the 'mission' creep on this to powers the state would love to have over everyone -> from cyclist to pedestrian.

Driving a motor vehicle is one of the few situations the Police can demand to know your name and address on stopping without there being much to go on.

For example: I very nearly got arrested this year for standing my ground when a WPC and her commanding officer - both traffic cops - overstepped the mark in demanding I delete a pic I had taken (I hadn't actually got any shots off) of an accident scene (a wide general view) and later my ID after I stopped my bike at the roadside. Having demanded I delete the pic - I couldn't, obviously but the officer confiscated my mobile (I only had that on me) after I told him as a journalist anything I had is subject to PACE - meaning he needed a court order as it's deemed special material. I only got it back on negotiation but later as I refused to give my ID he wanted to do me for obstruction. Crazy.

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Coleman [331 posts] 4 years ago
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Silly suggestion and an appropriate response.

Should cyclists be obliged to carry I.D?

No, we have no plans for that.

Lord Young seems like a reasonable chap.

Although he says he is a keen cyclist, Lord Sugar sounds like a typical angry motorist. 'Grrr, those pesky cyclists jumping red lights and getting away with it. Fume, fume'.

Compulsory I.D and registration for pedestrians are inappropriate. The same goes for cyclists.

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dave atkinson [6148 posts] 4 years ago
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PeteH wrote:

was surprised to hear Sugar being described as a "keen cyclist". Do you reckon he goes out with a bunch of mates every weekend? Can't imagine I'd want to ride with him....

He has a Pinarello and tries to do two 50-mile rides a week. so yes, he's keen. he likes to ride alone though.

http://www.no-endeavour.cc/2009/06/sod-all-that-have-nice-day-stuff.html

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Simon E [2545 posts] 4 years ago
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Oh dear.

I never realised pavement cycling was such a threat to democracy and our security. Is there a country we can invade and subjugate in order to sort this out?

When out on long solo rides I carry a business card with my home number on but I see no reason to carry ID if I'm nipping into town. I don't care what they do in America, they are happy to implement all sorts of reprehensible things, so in my view that country is NOT an example to follow.

While it might seem a bit lame to say that the police should be dealing with 'real' crime. I don't like RLJing and riding without lights. I understand some people have an issue with pavement cyclists, though how this blights their lives to the extent we are expected to believe I'm not sure. However, if the police were equally keen to stop parking on pavements, double yellow lines and zebra crossing zig-zags, clamp down on the 1.7 million uninsured drivers on the roads, on aggressive and dangerous driving, speeding in urban areas etc etc I might consider the henious crimes of jumping red lights to be worthy of a 'crackdown'.

I sometimes cycle on pavements. The alternative is to ride at 5-10 mph along a busy 40mph A-road while my children cycle along the pavement. IMO this does not aid me in my goal of living to a ripe old age (BTW consideration for peds has been drilled into the kids at from the start). If drivers were more considerate and drove more slowly around cyclists all 3 of us could ride on the road.

So as far as I'm concerned uber-MAMIL Alan Sugar can stick his poncey rider ID up his arse. That is, unless he insists that youths in hoodies, middle-aged BMW drivers, motorcyclists, white van drivers and everyone else who steps out of their front door gets one too.

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Coleman [331 posts] 4 years ago
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Simon E wrote:

Oh dear.

I never realised pavement cycling was such a threat to democracy and our security. Is there a country we can invade and subjugate in order to sort this out?

When out on long solo rides I carry a business card with my home number on but I see no reason to carry ID if I'm nipping into town. I don't care what they do in America, they are happy to implement all sorts of reprehensible things, so in my view that country is NOT an example to follow.

While it might seem a bit lame to say that the police should be dealing with 'real' crime. I don't like RLJing and riding without lights. I understand some people have an issue with pavement cyclists, though how this blights their lives to the extent we are expected to believe I'm not sure. However, if the police were equally keen to stop parking on pavements, double yellow lines and zebra crossing zig-zags, clamp down on the 1.7 million uninsured drivers on the roads, on aggressive and dangerous driving, speeding in urban areas etc etc I might consider the henious crimes of jumping red lights to be worthy of a 'crackdown'.

I sometimes cycle on pavements. The alternative is to ride at 5-10 mph along a busy 40mph A-road while my children cycle along the pavement. IMO this does not aid me in my goal of living to a ripe old age (BTW consideration for peds has been drilled into the kids at from the start). If drivers were more considerate and drove more slowly around cyclists all 3 of us could ride on the road.

So as far as I'm concerned uber-MAMIL Alan Sugar can stick his poncey rider ID up his arse. That is, unless he insists that youths in hoodies, middle-aged BMW drivers, motorcyclists, white van drivers and everyone else who steps out of their front door gets one too.

Ha ha! Well said, that man.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 4 years ago
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Maybe we should be electronic tagged so that we can be tracked when we commit crimes off the bike too. Seems a logical conclusion really.

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 4 years ago
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mr-andrew wrote:

Maybe we should be electronic tagged so that we can be tracked when we commit crimes off the bike too. Seems a logical conclusion really.

If only we knew of an entrepreneur with a background in electronic goods...

 39

It's starting to make sense now  3

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 4 years ago
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PeteH wrote:

was surprised to hear Sugar being described as a "keen cyclist". Do you reckon he goes out with a bunch of mates every weekend? Can't imagine I'd want to ride with him....

Have a look at this, regular 60-mile rides, that's pretty keen:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1165492/Sir-Alan-Sugar-reveals...

Tut, tut Garmin kit clashing horribly with the paint job - which, by the way, since we're on the subject of rule-flouting cyclists, is a custom paintjob in honour of one Alejandro Valverde. Oh the irony.

http://vps.road.cc/content/news/18592-alejandro-valverde-youre-fired

He's obviously got a thing for Garmin though, maybe it's the consumer electronics link, here he is in the Mail again modelling (ahem) the 2011 kit.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2026752/Lord-Alan-Sugar-get...

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OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 4 years ago
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PeteH wrote:

was surprised to hear Sugar being described as a "keen cyclist". Do you reckon he goes out with a bunch of mates every weekend? Can't imagine I'd want to ride with him....

As regards what he says, I can't see how any registration scheme could be made to work, and I am against ID cards. But I can see the day when we'll all (and I mean motorists, cyclists and pedestrians) need liability insurance.

I mean, what do you do if a pedestrian steps out, causes an accident and ruins your bike in the process? Write it off as bad luck?

Surprising as it may seem, yes he is a keen cyclist. Alan Sugar is a businessman and a pretty hard nosed one at that. He's astute and not afraid of speaking his mind. That doesn't mean everything he says is a great idea. Because of who he is, people listen though.

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Cauld Lubter [132 posts] 4 years ago
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mr-andrew wrote:

Maybe we should be electronic tagged so that we can be tracked when we commit crimes off the bike too. Seems a logical conclusion really.

Chipped at birth, mate.
You think I'm joking - give it another couple of decades.

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don_don [149 posts] 4 years ago
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Simon E wrote:

So as far as I'm concerned uber-MAMIL Alan Sugar can stick his poncey rider ID up his arse. That is, unless he insists that youths in hoodies, middle-aged BMW drivers, motorcyclists, white van drivers and everyone else who steps out of their front door gets one too.

My thoughts exactly.

You would think that someone in Sugar's position would need to be intelligent and broad-minded. This comment just makes him look like an idiot.

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don_don [149 posts] 4 years ago
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Sugar - you're fired!

C'mon, someone had to say it...

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John_the_Monkey [436 posts] 4 years ago
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I think it shows a touching faith in human nature to believe that people willing to disobey the law re: red lights would choose to obey one about carrying id with them.

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thereverent [390 posts] 4 years ago
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I normally will have my wallet with me when I'm on my bike, but it doesn't always have my driving licence in. So is my credit card and oyster card enough?
This is the same as what I have on me walking on the streets if a Policeman wanted to give me a fixed penalty fine for anything else.

Lord Sugar expanded on his comments yesterday, saying: "Cyclists should carry some form of ID, so they can get nicked by police for jumping pavement or lights. Otherwise they just lie who they are."

I'm pretty sure giving incorrect details to a Policeman is a far more serious offence than what you might get for red light jumping.

In reply, Lord Atlee, who is the grandson of the Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee, said the government had no plans to introduce such a requirement.

Some common sense from the Governmenta at least  1

This debate sounds like a lot of backbenchers sounding off about their own personal grievances more than anything constructive.

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thereverent [390 posts] 4 years ago
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PeteH wrote:

was surprised to hear Sugar being described as a "keen cyclist". Do you reckon he goes out with a bunch of mates every weekend? Can't imagine I'd want to ride with him....

I would imagine he starts off with a large group and fires someone ever few miles until there is only one person left with him.....

 3

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Mat Brett [599 posts] 4 years ago
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I bought an Amstrad midi system in 1985. It had a graphic equalizer and tape to tape.

It's broken already. And for that reason, I will never believe anything Sir Alan ever says.

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dr2chase [16 posts] 4 years ago
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I am so tired of hearing people whine about cyclists breaking traffic laws. Perhaps we count dead bodies instead, and aim enforcement efforts and rule-making in a direction that will reduce that number. Law-breaking cyclists are a minor threat to life and limb. Law-breaking (and SMIDSY, apparently driving-while-blind is not against the law) drivers are a major threat to life and limb. Solve that problem first, then let's attend to the cycling scofflaws.

And NO, obeying the law does not "earn us respect". First, I tried it for decades, didn't do crap. Second, there's not a goddamn thing I can do about other cyclists, and the drivers lump us all together anyway. I've tried -- twice I've chased down red-light runners to tell them "you're making us all look bad". That was pointless. What gets you "respect" is how you look -- lycra is "other", riding in work clothes (especially if you are an older, white, male) gets you "respect", if anything does. Daytime running lights seem to help -- if you "surprise" a driver, that makes them angry, and thus they won't respect you. (DRL vs hi-viz is a tough call; my thinking is to be as visible as possible in a "normal" way.)

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cborrman [84 posts] 4 years ago
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For starters mounting pavements is not an offence for cyclists. Niether i believe is jumping a red???? When cyclists are "done" for this, it can only be under the premise of them endangering the public (the offence) by doing so.... So maybe sugar should get his facts right before making a fool of himself with nonsense proposals that highlight his misunderstanding of the law, and ignorance of the fact that this is a country that does not have id cards and has refused to so repeatedly and refutedly... What a waste of time and breath

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bikecellar [268 posts] 4 years ago
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I carry my bus pass (as emergency back up get me home)in case of frame failure,exploding bottom bracket or severe bout of bonk. Does Lord Sugar carry his? Would a bus pass count as ID ? there's no address on it. Does Lord Sugar even have a bus pass? Would it even be of any use considering most of my cycling takes me well out into the countryside? Seriously though, it is a good idea to carry some sort of ID/contact details. Two years ago I suffered a sub arachnoid anuerism whilst training (hill reps) I was alone, fortunately a passing motorist,a nurse, got me an ambulance and another motorist returned my bike etc to my home address which together with my wife's mobile number were on my TLI racing licence.

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Grishnak [41 posts] 4 years ago
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AND Greedy lord sugar will try to make a profit from it.

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Simon_MacMichael [2443 posts] 4 years ago
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cborrman wrote:

For starters mounting pavements is not an offence for cyclists. Niether i believe is jumping a red???? When cyclists are "done" for this, it can only be under the premise of them endangering the public (the offence) by doing so.... So maybe sugar should get his facts right before making a fool of himself with nonsense proposals that highlight his misunderstanding of the law, and ignorance of the fact that this is a country that does not have id cards and has refused to so repeatedly and refutedly... What a waste of time and breath

As the excellent BikeHub article on Cycling and the Law says, in most cases, what we understand as 'pavements' are, in the letter of the law 'footways.'

http://www.bikehub.co.uk/featured-articles/cycling-and-the-law/

Here is what BikeHub says: "Cycling on footways (a path at the side of a carriageway) is prohibited by Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835, amended by Section 85(1) of the Local Government Act 1888. This is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988."

In 1999, then Home Office Minister Paul Boateng issued guidance saying the FPN should only be issued where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others(again from BikeHub). He added:

"The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required.”

If you read the BikeHub article, you'll see that riding on the 'pavement' is a bit of a legal minefield - effectively whether or not it is illegal depends on how the law classifies the bit you're actually riding on.

There's no ambiguity for red lights though. Riding or driving through them is illegal, full stop.

If you really weren't aware of that, you probably need to read the Highway Code, which has a dedicated section on Rules for Cyclists.

Here's Rule 69:

"You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals."

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069837

Oh, and PS - the US, the example Sugar was citing, doesn't have a national ID card scheme either, for much the same reasons we don't (politicians across the spectrum seeing it as too controlling and intrusive).

The difference is that if you're stopped by a police officer there, whether you're in a car, on a bike or on foot, you really do need to be carrying something that proves who you are if you want to avoid a lot of hassle.

Wife (American) makes me carry my passport everywhere when over there for that very reason, even if popping out for 5 minutes.

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