A survey ahead of May’s first-ever West Midlands mayoral election this May has found that local residents would like the successful candidate to introduce a bicycle licence – “to stop cyclists being a menace on the roads.”
The findings of the survey have been reported by the Birmingham Mail on the same day that motoring lawyer Nick ‘Mr Loophole’ Freeman and helmet camera user Dave ‘Cycling Vigilante’ Sherry jointly called for riders working for companies such as Deliveroo to also carry licence plates.
The newspaper says that in exchange for cyclists being licenced, they would be given a network of cycle lanes throughout the West Midlands, although in practice any decision to introduce licences for bike riders would lie with central government, and it’s a concept that ministers at the Department for Transport have consistently rejected.
Publishing the West Midlands People’s Plan Manifesto, organisers of the survey said:
The popularity of cycling is not going to drop – more and more people, young and old, are taking up cycling.
But as more and more people take to the roads on bikes there is a need to pay more attention to their safety and that of other road users.
A ‘bicycle licence’ could be introduced as a way of showing which cyclists have demonstrated that they understand the rules of the road and their responsibilities to other road users.
The report also suggests introducing a charge for motorists to use the region’s roads, with the frontrunner in the race to become West Midlands Mayor, Conservative candidate and former John Lewis department store boss Andy Street, saying that tackling congestion is a priority.
He has applauded the efforts of Birmingham City Council to roll out cycling infrastructure – the city is one of the chief beneficiaries of the DfT’s Cycle City Ambition initiative – and has pledged a 40-fold increase in funding or cycling for other parts of the region.
The People’s Plan Manifesto, which was set up by Liam Byrne, Labour MP for Hodge Hill and who is chairing the campaign of his party’s candidate, Sion Simon, says:
A West Midlands congestion charge could be introduced, or restricted parking around schools at the start and end of the day, but the most positive step that could and should be taken is making public transport more appealing.
It also calls for greater investment in public transport such as light rail services, measures to tackle pollution, and fines for households and businesses that fail to recycle their rubbish properly.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.