We’re all used to, by now, the debate which every so often gets dragged up by certain media outlets concerning the so-called need for cyclists to undergo compulsory training and to have a licence and insurance to ride on public roads.
Just last month, Scotland Tonight kickstarted the latest ‘Should cyclists need licences?’ “discussion”, after hosting a debate in which a motoring journalist and cyclist went “head-to-head on whether road cycling should be regulated”.
That segment was soon followed up by Aberdeen-based newspaper The Press and Journal asking its readers: “Should cycling on main roads be banned until you have a licence?”
South of the Tweed, CambridgeshireLive ran a vox pop article the following week which featured insights from readers on whether cyclists should be required to have insurance, while that same day, Channel 4 show Steph’s Packed Lunch posted a Twitter poll asking viewers if “cycling on main roads should be banned until you have a licence?”
The poll, which saw over 83 percent of participants vote against cycling licences, received plenty of criticism from active travel advocates, with one reply calling it “clickbait nonsense” and another “mad crankery”.
While the apparent need for cycling licences continues to rear its head in the media with increasing regularity (despite the government saying it has “no plans” to introduce legislation), it turns out that around 150 motorists were taking to the roads in London, Birmingham, Swansea, and Carmarthen during the last four years having not actually passed their driving test.
YorkshireLive has reported that a 29-year-old woman from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire was jailed this week for eight months after admitting to taking roughly 150 theory and practical tests for other drivers across England and Wales between 2018 and 2020.
Inderjeet Kaur told Swansea Crown Court that she offered to take the tests for people who had difficulty speaking English.
She was arrested after suspicion grew at test centres that the 29-year-old was impersonating genuine candidates, prompting an investigation by police in South Wales.
Detective Chief Inspector Steven Maloney, who argued in court that Kaur was motivated by greed, said: “The crimes Kaur committed circumvent the driving test process and, in turn, put innocent road users at risk, by allowing unskilled and dangerous motorists to have seemingly legitimate licences.
“Safety on our roads has always been a priority and arresting those that flaunt the law ensures that we can keep unqualified drivers off the road.
“Frauds such as these pose significant risks to the general public, and I urge any members of the public with information on such crimes to report them to the police.”
Following Kaur’s sentencing, Caroline Hicks of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency confirmed that the fraudulently-gained test passes could be cancelled and the licences of those who “passed” the tests revoked.
“DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles,” Hicks said.
“Driving and theory tests exist to help ensure people have the correct knowledge, skills and attitude to drive on our roads.
“Circumventing the tests puts lives in danger.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.