UKIP Cambridge candidate: "if everybody cycled, there would be no roads to ride on"

Peter Burkinshaw, UKIP candidate for East Chesterton, displays contempt for cyclists and interesting grasp of how taxation works

by Dave Atkinson   April 26, 2013  

cambridge bikes.jpg

We all love a good hustings, and Cambridge Cycling Campaign has been putting a range of questions to the prospective candidates in the East Chesterton local elections. So far only Ian Manning (Liberal Democrat) and Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) have responded, but the replies of the latter make interesting reading in what's widely held to be the cycling capital of the UK.

Burkinshaw first affirms that he has no experience of cycling in Cambridge, before launching into a number of seemingly heartfelt but certainly ill-judged attacks on the cyclists of the city. Asked "would you agree that creating very high-quality cycling routes to encourage new people to cycle offers by far the best cost-benefit ratio for transport improvements that facilitate growth of the City and surrounding areas?", he replies, "You are asking for benefits paid for by other road users. I would prefer more car parks." And it just gets worse from there, really.

That answer is one of six (out of eleven) that either confirms Burkinshaw's belief that cyclists are "stealing road space from the people who pay for it", or calls on cyclists to "pay for their own" facilities. Such talk, obviously, belies a fundamental misunderstanding of how taxation works. As the website very ably explains, roads aren't paid for out of ring-fenced funds but from general taxation: everyone pays, and cyclists – the majority of whom are car owners too – pay as much as anyone else. Indeed it could be argued that they pay more, since several studies have concluded that cycling is a net benefit to the economy, whereas driving is a net cost: driving, when everything is taken into account, costs an economy more than the taxes it raises. Everyone pays for that.

Burkinshaw's not finished though. Next he takes refuge in anecdote - "On several occasions, I have had to stop or dodge cyclists riding through red lights" before, amazingly, claiming that "Cars are not a danger to other road users". That's qualified by him suggesting that they need to act sensibly, but the KSI figures for the UK suggest that's not always the case.

His finishing comments are some of his finest work. He thunders that "Road space is required for motorised vehicles who pay for it. It shouldn't be wasted on people who don't", but in the very next sentence claims that "I walk to most places in Cambridge" - presumably that's on pavements that he's not paying for? after all, there's no pedestrian tax. By his own logic, they should really be dug up.

The best is saved for last. "if everybody cycled, there would be no roads to ride on", he claims, as if a lack of cars would cause them to spontaneously diasppear. His point, presumably, is that they wouldn't be there if not for cars, though we know thanks to Cartlon Reid's forthcoming book – Roads Were Not Built For Cars – that this simply isn't true, and nowhere is it less true than in cities.

That's it from him. Save for his last comment, "What is 'sustainable transport'? Is it using things that other people pay for?"

To be fair to Burkinshaw, his comments aren't far removed from UKIP official policy. Their manifesto doesn't have much on cycling, but where it does touch on the subject, it's mostly concerned with making sure cyclists behave and don't get in the way of the 'paying' road users. Mandatory third party insurance and training, fees for bike parking and additional powers to control cyclists are all covered. Promoting cycling, and provision for cyclists, aren't.

10.2 We believe that there needs to be a better balance of rights and responsibilities for pedal cyclists, with too much aggressive abuse of red lights, pedestrian crossings and a lack of basic safety and road courtesy.

10.6 UKIP would consult on the desirability of minimum third party liability insurance cover for cyclists - a simple annual flat rate registration ‘Cycledisc’, stuck to the bicycle frame, to cover damage to cars and others, which are currently unprotected. The Cycledisc should also carry clear identification details, which will help counter bicycle theft, and deter dangerous cyclist behaviour. We support provision of cycle parking at reasonable charges.

10.7 UKIP believes that basic cycle and safety training should be made mandatory, and be funded in schools or via local authorities. UKIP supports the campaign work of national cycling organisations.

10.9 Local authorities should be given additional powers to enforce a ‘cyclists dismount’ or ‘no cycling’ regulation where there are safety concerns – such as on busy roundabouts, junctions or bus lanes, or where the road would be too narrowed by cycle lanes and cause unacceptable delays to traffic



49 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Geoffroid wrote:
I understand that UKIP is the party for people who would like to join the BNP but shop at Marks and Spencers.

Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

posted by Bhachgen [106 posts]
26th April 2013 - 16:26


"if everybody cycled, there would be no roads to ride on"

Damnit, then someone would have to invent a non road bike... maybe with fat knobbly tyres, suspension, etc... Who knows... it might even catch on!

posted by Barnie [9 posts]
26th April 2013 - 16:34

1 Like

Whilst true, in his ward his target audience is a (truly) insignificant section of the voting age population. He thankfully cannot be elected.

posted by Al__S [856 posts]
26th April 2013 - 16:38


I'm ashamed to admit but i watched Question Time last night on tv with farage as a guest and he is only a whisker away from being a full blown member of the EDF or BNP judging by some of his comments last night. Embarrassing is an understatement, no wonder the standard of candidates is so low from them.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3184 posts]
26th April 2013 - 16:39

1 Like

You set the "bar" at a certain height then look around you, lower it then watch it being smashed into, lower it even further until you end up with it set low enough that an ant could step over then UKIP still manage to hit it.


posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [714 posts]
26th April 2013 - 16:41


karlowen wrote:
UKIP probably also support the imperial measurement system. Backward and out of touch.

True, but what size are your tyres? (Not the width.)

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
26th April 2013 - 16:54


Genius. I particularly like the fact that his responses aren't even consistent, let alone reasoned, and that he's responded as part of his campaign in one of the most cycling-centric cities in the UK. Obviously a very clever chap.

I've emailed him too. I was slightly more sarcastic than aslongasicycle, but perhaps he won't spot that and will think I'm a genuine supporter Wink

posted by step-hent [714 posts]
26th April 2013 - 17:13


It's almost enough to make me vote for Scottish independence - just in case the mass ignorance ever takes hold and this lot end up with a sniff of power. Terrifying prospect.

posted by panyagua [10 posts]
26th April 2013 - 17:16

1 Like

Big Grin Well done YorkshireMike stirling work

Scott A. Harkins

scottharkins1971's picture

posted by scottharkins1971 [25 posts]
26th April 2013 - 17:23


Is it true he wrote the first draft in crayon?

posted by Sadly Biggins [271 posts]
26th April 2013 - 17:28


UKIP have some seriously daft ideas - including also opposing HS2 even though the WCML has only about seven years of capacity left (I work right by it - it's extraordinary how many trains there are).

Looking forward to that book coming out.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [295 posts]
26th April 2013 - 17:32


Apparently Mr. Burkinshaw has "lived and worked in Holland."

Somehow he managed that without discovering the benefits of both cycling and Europe.

posted by Henz [48 posts]
26th April 2013 - 18:08

1 Like

We need to be able to counter these arguments because a frighteningly large number of people do believe the codswallop UKIP and others promote. I'm surprised he didn't have a go at cyclists who don't stick to cycle paths!

Dunbar, Scotland

posted by mjcycling [13 posts]
26th April 2013 - 18:23


UKIP in mentalist shocker.

posted by andyp [1368 posts]
26th April 2013 - 18:36


Leave him alone. Don't stop him from advertising what a bork he is. He's shouting his mouth off in the one place he can inflict the most damage on himself and his party.

posted by ron611087 [144 posts]
26th April 2013 - 19:02


Cycle_Jim wrote:
It always is a worry when people who want to run the country/counties do so little research into what they are talking about.

Most politicians I think know very little on any given subject, the difference between a good one and a bad one merely consists of how long they can tread water and say nothing inflammatory until the relevant advisor tells them the party line on the matter.

posted by Nick T [901 posts]
26th April 2013 - 19:10


He would do well to visit a growing business in Cambridge called Outspoken Delivery. These guys do amazing things with bikes and are rwally helping to make deliveries in Cambridge much more sustainable and efficient. They also pride themselves in riding responsibly and being aware that negative images of cyclists go a long way to fuel the hate spouted by idiots like Mr Burkinshaw.

posted by bigbluebike [16 posts]
26th April 2013 - 20:45


UKIP - not known for policy brilliance.

kiwiglider's picture

posted by kiwiglider [23 posts]
26th April 2013 - 20:53


Come on guys, it's UKIP; what did you expect, a balanced, well thought out response taking all things in to consideration?

I'm surprised he hasn't managed to get "foreigners" into his reply somewhere.


posted by davebinks [136 posts]
26th April 2013 - 21:11


It's OK laughing at this guy who is gonna sink without trace, but there are thousands of them standing next Thursday. They are dangerous people, who have got to be stopped. Vote next week, tactically if necessary.

philip unwin

posted by Philip Unwin [968 posts]
26th April 2013 - 21:53


UKIP - rise of the right wing facists, not surprised by Burkinshaw's ignorance.

posted by CyclingDan [39 posts]
26th April 2013 - 21:56


Rolling On The Floor
Sorry, have I stumbled upon some kind of trailer for a new series of Little Britain with Marjorie Doors and Fat-Fighters being replaced by Peter Burkinshaw and UKIP???

posted by pwake [362 posts]
26th April 2013 - 23:11


Thank you Peter for reminding me of the quote...

Racism the last bastion of the truly ignorant.


posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [714 posts]
27th April 2013 - 10:33


A few years ago I chaired a general election hustings in my constituency in North London. It was organised by Friends of the Earth so it was all about green issues. To be fair to UKIP their candidate actually attended (which was more than his Conservative rival did). The poor fellow was a little out of his depth and I don't think UKIP actually had any policies on the environment at the time (they have now, I believe - unfortunately). The UKIP candidate did come up with an inspired solution to our energy needs. Bring back into service all those old windmills to generate electricity!

posted by CotterPin [64 posts]
27th April 2013 - 14:45


Just comically ill-informed but sadly pretty typical of the far right in this country. Always found it odd that they don't like cycling more given it pretty much represents their values of individual liberty, small government and personal responsibility.

Either way, don't let the comedy detract from the fact that UKIP are basically a load of racists. Remember the Nazi Party emerged from mainstream rightwing parties - not as fanciful or melodramatic an idea as it sounds.

As an aside, UKIP are also spectacularly ill-informed on how well our economy would fare on its own - most UKIP members seem to think we are still an industrial powerhouse with a huge empire when in fact we need to align with Europe in order to survive in a world of huge economic blocs like China, India, Brazil, Russia, USA. We'll disappear up our own ar$es otherwise but Nigel Farrage will obviously just blame that on immigrants.

posted by Yennings [230 posts]
27th April 2013 - 16:42



Yes this chap is ill-informed and nobody on this forum, including me, will agree with him on his views on cycling,.however I have to make the following observations:

1. The article selectively quotes parts of their manifesto with reference to cycling to support the authors political views - the other points missed out are mainly concerned with promoting cycling safety. Hardly balanced journalism..but this is not for the first time on as per the article on UKIP a couple of months ago.

2. To simply brand people with eurosceptic views as racist is pathetic and in no way helping to further debate about an issue that is important to a lot of British people across the political spectrum

PS I do not vote UKIP but it winds me up when people fight 'bigotry' by being intolerant bigots themselves.

It should be possible to be a keen cyclist, without having a political agenda, surely?

posted by 700c [687 posts]
27th April 2013 - 17:12


If this half-wit and/or his party get elected to anything, I object that I'll be paying for people that I don't use or want to use.

As pointed out above, all kinds of taxpayers, including cyclists, have paid for all these road facilites with varying degrees and type of contribution. I don't like that my taxes contribute to car parks, motorways etc. which I don't use. BLOODY MOTORISTS, USING FACILITIES THAT CYCLISTS HAVE PAID FOR.

The most dangerous mix is power with low intelligence.

posted by bikeylikey [192 posts]
27th April 2013 - 18:30


UKIP is not intended to win any elections in the UK. It's run by a Rothschild gold trader as a distraction for anyone who's dissafected with the mainstream fascist parties but who hasn't yet realised that we live in a fascist country where all the parties are the same, with the same fascist policies emanating from the same masonic lodge where all the party leaders convene. Don't waste your energy fretting over this pointless charade.

493rd in GC Fantasy TdF 2014

Sanderville's picture

posted by Sanderville [301 posts]
28th April 2013 - 12:57


posted by Al__S [856 posts]
28th April 2013 - 15:52


I've blogged up the conversation I've had with Peter Burkinshaw over the last couple of days. Polite, but essentially entrenched and selfish.
Quelle surprise:

aslongasicycle's picture

posted by aslongasicycle [365 posts]
29th April 2013 - 15:59