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PM urges drivers to “think carefully” around cyclists

Groups of cyclists taking to Britain’s country lanes have a powerful new ally. Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday that he’s a “big fan” of the upsurge in cycling and urged motorists to “think carefully” about how they deal with groups of riders.

Popular riding areas such as Surrey and the New Forest have been a source of complaints from locals and motorists in recent years, as club and group cycling has boomed in popularity. But the PM says local drivers should learn to live with it.

On BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex’s Danny Pike programme yesterday, Mr Cameron was asked if he welcomed the influx of cycling on to Surrey’s roads. (The interview starts at about 2:36:00 and gets to cycling topics at about 2:41:00.)

He replied: “I’m a big fan of this cycling revolution taking place in Britain. In my constituency in Oxfordshire at the weekend you just see swarms of people in lycra on their bikes. We need to be a fitter, healthier country.”

And the PM seemed as pleased - and surprised - as many long-time cycling fans that British riders have won the Tour de France.

He said: “We need to encourage sport and competitive sport and cycling’s a great sport, and we’re very good at it. When I was little the idea of British people winning the Tour de France was unthinkable and now not only are we winning the Tour de France but we’re actually going to be hosting the start of it in Yorkshire in the coming year. I think it’s very exciting.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged that some drivers struggled to know what to do when they encounter a group of cyclists on the road.

He said: “Now look, it can be challenging for drivers when you have these pelotons weaving through the roads of Sussex and Surrey but I think we should be encouraging cycling and motorists have to think carefully about how to deal with a peloton.”

The increased popularity of sportive rides in Surrey and in particular the closed-road RideLondon 100 has led to a petition calling on Surrey County Council to restrict cycling events. That petition has reached 2,958 signatures. A later counter-petition in favour of riding in the county is now at 2,547.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

32 comments

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jasecd [334 posts] 2 years ago
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All talk.

Dave makes plenty of pro cycling proclamations yet the actions of his government do not match the words.

Levels of funding by government, while increasing, are nowhere near those recommended by the 'Get Britain Cycling' report. Indeed when this was debated there were no binding outcomes.

We all know that inactivity costs this country £bn's per year and added to the other health costs, accidents, congestion and pollution, that cycling is as important and necessary than ever.

So what do we get? Flagship cycle projects (boris bikes, superhighways etc.) that garner lots of media attention but really do little for the majority of cyclists.

Which politicians speak out about the dangerous, selfish and complacent attitudes of a large minority of drivers? Not David motorists need to "think carefully" Cameron or anyone else that I can think of for that matter.

Which politicians speak of the need to take space from motor traffic in our cities to build proper cycling infrastructure? Only Boris as far as I'm aware and where's the action?

Cycling appears to be the political doublethink topic of the moment. It's the same with environmental issues - lots of media friendly soundbites about how important the issue is but mostly inadequate and underfunded commitments to change. Cowardly ineffectual politicians who won't upset the applecart - the oil and motoring lobbies rule supreme and until we get some proper political will this won't change.

Anyway rant over - I'm off for a ride.

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Brooess [84 posts] 2 years ago
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"motorists have to think carefully about how to deal with a peloton"

He's spot on about this. We won't need separate infrastructure if people just grow up when they drive and think about driving properly...

What the 'I don't like the way cycling affects me' brigade fail to realise is that the costs of treating the increasing levels of poor health in the UK + the impact on productivity it brings, will kick any chance of us remaining a wealthy country in the nuts...

Luckily the PM has an eye on the bigger picture and these words are at least a starting point...

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LeighNichol [21 posts] 2 years ago
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Phew! We're all saved now our mate Dave has told drivers to 'think carefully'. Useless ballbag.  41

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Guyz2010 [302 posts] 2 years ago
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"We need to be a fitter, healthier country.”
Now David Cameron reduce VAT on bikes/cycling equipment to zero % on bikes up to say £1500, get rid of the employer financial biased cycle to work scheme which in reality give no notable savings to the rider.
To pay for this tax the likes of MacDonalds, Subway and KFC at say 40% tax to reduce the obesity problem they create. Possibly tax drive-thro's again at a higher rate.

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Ginsterdrz [68 posts] 2 years ago
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Is he the one that won X factory?

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northstar [1108 posts] 2 years ago
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But it appears won't put the money where his mouth is.

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paulrbarnard [182 posts] 2 years ago
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Is that fan blowing hot or cold?

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Yorkshie Whippet [499 posts] 2 years ago
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Guyz2010 wrote:

"We need to be a fitter, healthier country.”
Now David Cameron reduce VAT on bikes/cycling equipment to zero % on bikes up to say £1500, get rid of the employer financial biased cycle to work scheme which in reality give no notable savings to the rider.
To pay for this tax the likes of MacDonalds, Subway and KFC at say 40% tax to reduce the obesity problem they create. Possibly tax drive-thro's again at a higher rate.

Oh bugga, there go my post-ride treats  20
Still more money to spend on new shiny bikey things  4

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Is this the same David Cameron who abolished Cycling England within minutes of walking into Number 10?

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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Grumbling comments aside at least he is showing some support for cycling which is much better than most US politicians

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badback [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Politics aside, at least he's talking about it which is good for cycling.

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edster99 [334 posts] 2 years ago
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Guyz2010 wrote:

get rid of the employer financial biased cycle to work scheme which in reality give no notable savings to the rider.

I dont understand? I've never had an option of being involved in a CTW scheme, so I always assumed you got the equivalent of your tax back on the value of the bike. Is that wrong?

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Edgeley [260 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm a constituent. I cycle past his house (on a bastard hill), in my lycra, quite frequently. He has helped Oxfordshire to move from being anticyclist to being very supportive, in league with the new head of the county council. Yes he could do more, but let's not complain too much - how much support did we get from Blair or Brown?

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Cranky Acid [40 posts] 2 years ago
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Brooess wrote:

"motorists have to think carefully about how to deal with a peloton"

He's spot on about this. We won't need separate infrastructure if people just grow up when they drive and think about driving properly...

What complete nonsense. Drivers are humans, humans make mistakes, humans get angry and humans shift blame. Even a huge shift in drivers attitude would not be enough to make roads inviting for most people.

Separate infrastructure is the only way you'll see my wife, my kids and 70% of my neighbours take up the bike as a regular form of transport.

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UrbanBushman [26 posts] 2 years ago
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Cycle to work is great. The problem is some companies dont know how to process the final payment in favor of the employee. The is an option to pay the tax on the final payment instead of the 21% of the original purchased price. As the payment come out before you pay tax if fall into "non taxable pay" (same as pensions etc) as a result it will also affect Tax credits if you get them. My tax credits go up almost the same amount my pay goes down. My £1000 C2W bikes cost me under £100 once all calculations are taken in. How is this not a great deal?

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zanf [759 posts] 2 years ago
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Cranky Acid wrote:
Brooess wrote:

"motorists have to think carefully about how to deal with a peloton"

He's spot on about this. We won't need separate infrastructure if people just grow up when they drive and think about driving properly...

What complete nonsense. Drivers are humans, humans make mistakes, humans get angry and humans shift blame. Even a huge shift in drivers attitude would not be enough to make roads inviting for most people.

Separate infrastructure is the only way you'll see my wife, my kids and 70% of my neighbours take up the bike as a regular form of transport.

Integratonism/'vehicular cycling' has been the call for the last 30 - 40 years and it has failed. It is fundamentally flawed yet those who either sit on the fence about it (such as Broess), or fall definitively on its favour (Franklin / Forrester) will never admit that it has been tried, has failed and will never, ever work.

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Northernbike [229 posts] 2 years ago
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''My £1000 C2W bikes cost me under £100 once all calculations are taken in. How is this not a great deal?''

Unfortunately for the many people who work in private sector jobs without a C2W scheme is is not a great deal because they have to pay the taxes the mostly NHS staff are getting relief against their hobby for, and for those who have access to a scheme they clearly need to be on benefits like you to wangle a £1,000 bike for £100 deal so great deal for you, not a great deal for many of the rest of us.

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Rouboy [88 posts] 2 years ago
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I am sure as long as cycling is in the public eye and positive any top politician that wants to be popular will support it..... you never know they may actually believe what they say? I doubt it though!!!

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mogrim [49 posts] 2 years ago
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jasecd wrote:

We all know that inactivity costs this country £bn's per year and added to the other health costs, accidents, congestion and pollution, that cycling is as important and necessary than ever.

You reckon? The obese and smokers conveniently die earlier, they save the country money. It's the cyclists and runners that cost more, what with their expensive pensions and all.

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Guyz2010 [302 posts] 2 years ago
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Yorkshie Whippet wrote:

Oh bugga, there go my post-ride treats  20
Still more money to spend on new shiny bikey things  4

Sorry mate. Just I get sooo pissed at the Maccas being que'd up at 8 in the morning then riding past the debris and fatboy wrappers from builders van. I work in construction too by the way, Yours truly a Raisin eater. Whoops!

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phax71 [284 posts] 2 years ago
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“Now look, it can be challenging for drivers when you have these pelotons weaving through the roads of Sussex and Surrey ...."

He's a cnut* but welcome words all the same, but could he sound any more like Tory Aristo Filth ...  1

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FluffyKittenofT... [1113 posts] 2 years ago
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Seems rather like the worst of both worlds!

Won't actually do anything practical, but conspicuously says supportive things about cycling - so that all those who hate him will now hate cyclists that little bit more by association!

Actually, in general I'm a bit confused by the seemingly increasing association of cycling with more affluent types like Cameron or Boris (especially in London).

On the one hand, it means more political power and the possibility of being taken a bit more seriously by the likes of TfL (what with their explicitly income-based-hierarchy for road designs). But on the other hand it adds grist-to-the-mill of the tabloid-populist "I'm a prole, me" stereotypical-white-van-man school of cyclist-hatred.

But if the Notting Hill set are going to talk about cycling they could at least do something practical so that the least well-off (who are overwhelmingly neither cyclists nor drivers but public transport users) can start taking cycling seriously as a practical and safe option.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1113 posts] 2 years ago
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Northernbike wrote:

''My £1000 C2W bikes cost me under £100 once all calculations are taken in. How is this not a great deal?''

Unfortunately for the many people who work in private sector jobs without a C2W scheme is is not a great deal because they have to pay the taxes the mostly NHS staff are getting relief against their hobby for, and for those who have access to a scheme they clearly need to be on benefits like you to wangle a £1,000 bike for £100 deal so great deal for you, not a great deal for many of the rest of us.

Why is cycling a 'hobby'? I thought it was a means of transport, myself.

And how does that subsidy compare with the massive subsidies received by motorists for their 'hobby'?

That said, I also slightly envy the original poster and have my doubts about the way the C2W scheme operates.

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PhilRuss [352 posts] 2 years ago
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[[[[ These drivers who whinge at--and about--cyclists.......it's quite clear what they want. They simply want the roads to themselves, at all times.
The words "genie" and "bottle" occur to me....
P.R.

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bikeylikey [197 posts] 2 years ago
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I have never voted Cons. and never will, but ff's sake, the geezer is publicly promoting cycling, why all this criticism and insulting him for it? How would you feel if UKIP got in at the next election (the nightmare begins), with their pro car anti cycling ignorant crap? 'Road-tax' for cyclists? (Not to mention all their other the retrogressive little-Englander loony 'policies'). Cameron is at least on the right side where cycling is concerned. Shame about the rest of the ideology though.

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hood [117 posts] 2 years ago
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im having the most entertaining argument with the idiots who think they own the roads over on the telegraph website!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/10385575/David-Ca...

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oozaveared [933 posts] 2 years ago
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I have always voted for the other lot. But fair is fair. What governments can do about promoting cycling is not going to be short and decisive. And politics is anyway about compromise. The main things governments can do are medium to long term and about taking opportunities to include provision and make infrastructure better as roads/towns are built or repaired/widened etc. It's taken the Netherlands and Denmark decades to get where they are and they are small countries compared to the UK. Even driver behaviour /attitude takes time and it may well come after the provision/improvements that mean more drivers are also cyclists. That one of the reasons why motorists in the Netherlands didn't kick up a storm about strict liability. It will be slow and we need to reward politicians of any stripe that help us get to the point where cycling is mainstream.

It's quite simple really there will come a point when cycling provision becomes good enough that enough people regularly use bikes and then when pretty much every driver either is a cyclist or their spouse/kids and mates cycle regularly. What this will mean is that, first of all, more drivers will be cycle aware/friendly and, secondly, better and better cycling provision will be more politically popular and easier to budget.

There was a genius quote I remember from TV programme about some stately home and its fantastic garden where the TV presenter glibly asks this old head gardener how viewers at home could have a garden like this one. The gardener looked puzzled for a second then advised them that the best way was to start about 200 years ago.

Well we needed to have started this about 30 years ago like the Netherlands. But we are where we are. As cyclists we also need to keep politicians onside so when they are pro cycling they get lots of positive feedback from us. If they say something pro cycling/cyclist and they even get some of us blowing raspberries at them then, guess what? The motoring lobby is pretty well organised.

Look you don't have to vote for him or anyone else you don't want to vote for. It is though about making sure that any politician that wants to be pro cycling isn't given a hard time but a warmish reception. Then watch the others think hey being pro cyclist isn't a vote loser after all.

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oozaveared [933 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi Fluffy kitten

I wanted to respond to this comment of yours:

"Actually, in general I'm a bit confused by the seemingly increasing association of cycling with more affluent types like Cameron or Boris (especially in London)."

This actually shouldn't be a surprise. The Transport for London Analysis of Cycling Potential for London reveals this statistic.

"those making current and potentially cyclable trips shows that
frequent cyclists are typically white, male, between 25 to 44, and on a higher than average income."

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oozaveared [933 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi Northern bike

I just wanted to comment on this

"Unfortunately for the many people who work in private sector jobs without a C2W scheme is is not a great deal because they have to pay the taxes the mostly NHS staff are getting relief against their hobby for, and for those who have access to a scheme they clearly need to be on benefits like you to wangle a £1,000 bike for £100 deal so great deal for you, not a great deal for many of the rest of us."

I work in the Private sector. I got a Giant Defy 1 costing £999 last year. I pay £83.25 a month to cover that. So That's £999. I pay that before tax though. So the amount I pay tax on every month is reduced by £83.25.

If you are a basic rate tax payer it means you get the £1000 bike for £800. If you are a higher rate tax payer you get it for £600.

At worst it's a 20% discount. Better than a poke in the eye with a hot stick.

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sim1515 [141 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

If you are a basic rate tax payer it means you get the £1000 bike for £800. If you are a higher rate tax payer you get it for £600.

At worst it's a 20% discount. Better than a poke in the eye with a hot stick.

I think you're understating the savings slightly actually, it think it would be 32% if you include NI too (presuming you pay NI).

However, you're not including the charge you have to pay at the end of the initial hire period (the first year). You would have to pay 25% of the full cost (£249.75 in your case) if you wanted to take ownership of the bike at the end of that first year. This would then equate to only a 7% saving.

Alternatively you can extend the hire period, so your company still owns the bike, and pay a decreasing percentage each year you don't own if for, 17% after the second year (£169.83), 12% after the third (£119.88) and 7% after the forth (£69.93). This does give you a better saving but your company will technically still own the bike during that time until you make your final payment and presumes you will stay with the company for that amount of time.

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