Tebbit: if you're going to get on your bike, you should be made to carry ID

House of Lords debate on cyclist safety quickly descends into a discussion of perceived transgressions

by Dave Atkinson   July 4, 2013  

Norman Tebbit (©James Robertson Photography, Wikipedia)

Norman Tebbit is perhaps best well known for his (slightly apocryphal) message to the unemployed back in the early 1980s: "get on your bike and look for work". He doesn't seem so keen on bikes these days though, suggesting that cyclists 'habitually' break the law by giving false details when pulled up for traffic offences, and recommending that they be compelled to carry identification.

The exchange is part of a discussion on the saftey of cyclists (that's what it was supposed to be about, anyway) in the House of Lords yesterday. The full debate is shown in the video below; the section on cycling starts 23 minutes in.

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It takes the Lords less than three minutes to get off the topic of making cyclists safer to blaming them for the incidents they're involved in, and then accusing them of flouting road laws; that's not counting a short foray into the legality or otherwise of headphones. Baroness Sharples is first to wander: "Would my noble friend agree that cyclists should wear some form of identification? I was nearly knocked over outside Millbank," she says, leading us to wonder what her recourse would have been if the incident had involved a car; going to the police with the registration number of a vehicle that 'nearly knocked you over' would get short shrift, in our opinion.

Earl Atlee responds sensibly, pointing out that there are times when it would be helpful if pedestrians carried ID but they're not required to do so. The debate then moves on to children's helmets (very advisable but not to be mandated, in Earl Atlee's opinion) while Lord Winston suggests that the health beneifts of cycling might be offset by air pollution, missing the point that the drivers – who are causing the pollution – are also breathing it.

Lord Taverne is next to speak up, in favour of Dutch-style infrastructure, while Baroness Butler-Sloss wonders what can be done about cyclists "with ear things otherwise filled with music, turning right across the traffic when the light is red against them."

Lord Davies of Oldham attempts to get the debate back on track by highlighting the Times' Cities Fit for Cycling campaign, before Lord Tebbit weighs in. "My Lords, how many cyclists actually pay the fixed-penalty tickets which are issued to them for offences such as riding on the pavement to the danger of pedestrians?" he asks. "My noble friend may know that they habitually give false names and addresses; there is no way for the police officer issuing the penalty notice to know that. What are we going to do? Are we going to compel cyclists to have some form of identification so that, if issued with a penalty ticket, they are required to pay it instead of just scoffing at the law?"

Quite where Lord Tebbit has received this information that cyclists 'habitually' give false information – and of course, we're not suggesting it's simply based on his own pejudices – is unclear. The CTC were quick to rebuff him via twitter: "Ld Tebbit demands ID for cyclists who "habitually" give false names to avoid fines. Where's his evidence? Police have NEVER said this to us," they tweeted. Certainly it's not a habitual problem we're aware of, and it hasn't stopped the police from targeting cyclists in a succession of 'crackdowns', usually to do with lights or pavement cycling.

47 user comments

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Oh the irony...perhaps we all need to carry ID so some stupid old gits making a nuisance of themselves can be readily identified:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1253066/Norman-Tebbit-attacks-ch...

(Apologies for Daily Mail content, first link to hand...)

posted by JonD [191 posts]
4th July 2013 - 11:34

6 Likes

I find it hard to imagine any normal person going out without some form of ID, these days (credit card, tesco club card etc etc).
Perhaps Mr Tebbit and his Right Honourable colleagues are referring to the "hooded yoofs" who carry out various "anti-social" misdemeaners in our town centres and estates, while also happening to be (coincidentally) on a bike? Hardly your typical commuting class...
Thinking

posted by JeevesBath [127 posts]
4th July 2013 - 11:39

7 Likes

you will be required to carry ID and you have to have one issued by the government which we'll only cost you £100 per year... expect to hear that next lol

posted by billyman [124 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:10

7 Likes

Following on that theory of cyclists carrying ID means that mobility scooter users should be made to carry id as they can be a menace. What about all other non-licenced road users such as horse riders!

David Palmer
Milton Keynes

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posted by djpalmer32 [56 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:23

5 Likes

On a par with his comments on gay marriage. I think there should be a new Britishness test. If you think that Lord Tebbit is an aris, then you are probably British.

posted by Bikebikebike [78 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:32

5 Likes

The minister appears to actually be reasonably well-informed, and able to talk sense. Bit mealy-mouthed on the Times campaign targets, but otherwise better than I was expecting.

posted by Bikebikebike [78 posts]
4th July 2013 - 12:41

6 Likes

'Ribena' got it right further up. Car drivers are not required by law to carry any form of identification so why should we? Please don’t say a number plate is because that relies on the owner giving the right details for their address and that doesn’t always happen. Personally I do carry identification so they know who to contact if I get hospitalised or killed by some f**kwitted driver.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [467 posts]
4th July 2013 - 13:01

6 Likes

Look it is just a place to park the loony fringe of ones political friends, don't expect brilliant debate, give them a break they are doing the best that they can with the few brain cells political life has left them.

DevonJohn

posted by solkanofastera [24 posts]
4th July 2013 - 13:13

7 Likes

If you give your name and address they do a voters check to confirm that your of the residency you say you are...

That said if you (god-forbid) got injured it isn't all that bad an idea to have id on you as a just in case!

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
4th July 2013 - 14:18

5 Likes

I'd just like to say it was Tebbit who inspired me to take up cycling when I was an unemployed young man in north-west England in the 1980s.

However, I used my bike to go in the opposite direction of any available work. I would encourage the young of today to compost their CVs and do the same.

Cheers Norman. Wink

michophull's picture

posted by michophull [100 posts]
4th July 2013 - 15:31

6 Likes

Ghedebrav wrote:
the standard of debate in the Lords is generally more considered and grown-up than the Commons, but not in this case

Sure about that? The Lords is the same place where the "if you clear snow, you are risking being sued" anti-social myth seems to have started. The noble friends should be required to state their sources.
Ghedebrav wrote:
I routinely 'nearly get hit' by cars where drivers are not paying attention (maybe because their car is 'filled with music'?!) or driving agressively, but to hold responsible every single person who sits behind a steering wheel (including myself) is self-evidently nonsense.

Yeah, tribalism won't help anything here.

posted by a.jumper [711 posts]
4th July 2013 - 15:43

15 Likes

ScotchPoth wrote:
Baronesses? Lords? oh FUCK OFF,THE ruling classes singling out the peasnts day in day out in this shit country
I despise the accident of birth scumbags interfering in our lives,when was the last time a cyclist maimed or killed anybody?
Like the Qat plant that wretch Theresa May banned yesterday they ignore expert advice on the supposed dangers to health and impose their own filthy prejudice anyway
They should start by banning motor vehicles in city centres for a start
whatever law they arbitrarily impose with their filthy prejudice and dogma i will go out of my way to oppose
The lies these cretins manufactured to back up their dirty little prejudices is beneath contempt
Robert Catsby had the right idea about these cretins 400 years ago,the world would be a better place if the scum were eradicated and then we could get on with our lives without their dirty privileged meddling,shame the IRA didnt succeed with the old Nazi bastard in 1984

Wonderful rant, my afternoon has perked up no end since reading this Smile Bang on the money.

theclaw's picture

posted by theclaw [75 posts]
4th July 2013 - 16:22

5 Likes

Are these feckers that daft. Going on and on about headphones.

Think about this for a moment. I have twin cousin's who are TOTALLY deaf....they cycle around and have never had a problem.

As for the ID issue. I normally always have some for of ID on my when cycling, even if its just a bank card with my name on it, its not always photo ID, but something where if I was involved in an accident, then it could be worked out who I was in hospital or wherever. NOT to enable the police to stop and fine me

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8947 posts]
4th July 2013 - 17:19

11 Likes

Dear oh dear - your summary of the debate suggests it was little more than a bunch of old timers swapping prejudices. I've heard more intelligently argued conversations in the pub at closing time. If this is the best they can do we are in an even bigger mess than I thought. Sad Loved the 'sea cucumber on crack' analogy though - genius!!!

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [220 posts]
4th July 2013 - 17:50

7 Likes

ScotchPoth wrote:
Baronesses? Lords? oh FUCK OFF,THE ruling classes singling out the peasnts day in day out in this shit country
I despise the accident of birth scumbags interfering in our lives,when was the last time a cyclist maimed or killed anybody?
Like the Qat plant that wretch Theresa May banned yesterday they ignore expert advice on the supposed dangers to health and impose their own filthy prejudice anyway
They should start by banning motor vehicles in city centres for a start
whatever law they arbitrarily impose with their filthy prejudice and dogma i will go out of my way to oppose
The lies these cretins manufactured to back up their dirty little prejudices is beneath contempt
Robert Catsby had the right idea about these cretins 400 years ago,the world would be a better place if the scum were eradicated and then we could get on with our lives without their dirty privileged meddling,shame the IRA didnt succeed with the old Nazi bastard in 1984

What a bitter, ill-informed rant that was.

There are 92 hereditaries in the House of Lords out of nearly 800. Most are political placemen being rewarded for good work or handy favours.

Of the ones mentioned - Tebbitt, Sharples, Attlee, Winston, Taverne, Davies - only Earl Attlee is a hereditary. And he's the one being congratulated for talking sense.

posted by racyrich [137 posts]
4th July 2013 - 20:09

5 Likes

Gizmo_ wrote:
Actually I do expect more, from Lord Winston especially, he's a scientist!

I think Winston's comment does have some basis in science. Cyclists do breathe in more pollution in built up areas than people in cars.

posted by paulfg42 [376 posts]
4th July 2013 - 20:42

4 Likes

Good on Lord Tebbit.. These lycra-clad thugs have got away with too much for too long... personally I would ban them from our roads altogether.. Cyclist are a menace to drivers and a danger to themselves...
#MENACE

posted by jollyselfrighteous [3 posts]
4th July 2013 - 20:48

6 Likes

That's not Tebbit, that's Skeletor Big Grin

posted by FMOAB [236 posts]
4th July 2013 - 22:38

7 Likes

TeamCC wrote:
What about those menacing kids and adults on push scooters? Skateboarders have four wheels, they should carry two forms of ID! Capital Cycles

They sound pay "road tax" as well, Thinking

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [226 posts]
5th July 2013 - 5:46

5 Likes

Sound like an episode of grumpy old men! If this is the best the lords can come up with then it really is time to reform them. It's unbeleivable that people with the power to legislate think this type of ill informed, opinionated "debait" is reasonable and a justified use of tax payers money.

If this is a typical example of the quality of their deliberations and debait it's no wonder the country's f**cked, and we should put these senile old dinasours our to grass soonest.

I'm surprised they didn't get road tax in to complete the set of misinformed opinion.

Very disapointed but not surprised Sad

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [226 posts]
5th July 2013 - 6:01

8 Likes

Mat Brett wrote:
JonnieC wrote:
I thought Tebbit was dead.

I don't think this is a bar to being a member of the House of Lords.

A deceased honourable member has his vote carefully recorded.

Agony Guy's picture

posted by Agony Guy [43 posts]
5th July 2013 - 7:49

7 Likes

It looks like ctc & bc could do a much better job informing & lobbying their lordships on the cycling safety facts. I also wonder where the input was from the department of transport & home office on safety & law infringement data too?

Industry, unions, charities etc seem very good at lobbying. Why are the cyclists so poor? Perhaps some one should ask cookson?

posted by Monsieur Velo [19 posts]
5th July 2013 - 9:22

4 Likes

Monsieur Velo wrote:
Industry, unions, charities etc seem very good at lobbying. Why are the cyclists so poor? Perhaps some one should ask cookson?

CTC is a charity isn't it? So charities aren't universally good at lobbying...

posted by a.jumper [711 posts]
5th July 2013 - 10:04

6 Likes

jollyselfrighteous wrote:
Good on Lord Tebbit.. These lycra-clad thugs have got away with too much for too long... personally I would ban them from our roads altogether.. Cyclist are a menace to drivers and a danger to themselves...
#MENACE

Clearly trolling so I'll save you all the trouble - cyclists are a net benefit to the economy, the environment. They reduce pressure on the NHS and reduce congestion in towns and cities.

Cars do none of these things - the social cost of the car is not fully paid for by the driver but by wider society.

Frankly fuck you and your bullshit prejudices.

JaseCD

posted by jasecd [148 posts]
5th July 2013 - 12:02

6 Likes

jasecd wrote:
jollyselfrighteous wrote:
Good on Lord Tebbit.. These lycra-clad thugs have got away with too much for too long... personally I would ban them from our roads altogether.. Cyclist are a menace to drivers and a danger to themselves...
#MENACE

Clearly trolling so I'll save you all the trouble - cyclists are a net benefit to the economy, the environment. They reduce pressure on the NHS and reduce congestion in towns and cities.

Cars do none of these things - the social cost of the car is not fully paid for by the driver but by wider society.

Frankly fuck you and your bullshit prejudices.


I thought they were being ironic. Genuine Trolls are a bit more subtle.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
5th July 2013 - 12:06

5 Likes

Travel into London regularly and have to say I am often shocked by the actions of a small minority of cyclists, which doesn't help with some people's prejudices against us.

However today I saw the worst yet, travelling the wrong way down the middle of the opposite carriageway, then flying up onto the pavement across the pavement at speed, onto another crossing, almost knocked over a pedestrian, who only just managed to get out of the way, pulled directly in front of a car and then proceeded at speed up the middle of the carriageway, at least in the right direction this time. All around me, including me, people stood open mouthed.

The best bit is it was an older guy in a wheelchair propelling himself along with two crutches, as a result I think we should ban all wheelchairs unless they have full insurance, number plates and carry ID, and of course pay 'road tax'

I am joking but only about the banning wheelchairs etc bit, the rest actually happened

posted by alant [2 posts]
5th July 2013 - 14:02

5 Likes

If this is the level of debate in the House of "Lords", we should get rid of them. It can't be any better on any other subject.

posted by DrJDog [159 posts]
5th July 2013 - 14:21

4 Likes

Tebbit: if you're going to get on your bike, you should be made to carry ID?
What about : If you are going to talk in the House of Lords you need a letter from your doctor to say you are not senile? Or just plain stupid, or both.

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
5th July 2013 - 16:19

7 Likes

Seriously, such frothing at the mouth about carrying ID?
Can't see a problem with it myself.

posted by andyp [968 posts]
6th July 2013 - 5:55

8 Likes

Maybe they should sort out the appalling sentences handed out to at fault drivers for injuring and killing cyclists first Thinking

Simm0's picture

posted by Simm0 [3 posts]
6th July 2013 - 9:57

7 Likes