36,490 – that is the eye-catching number of people who, at the time of writing, had signed an online petition calling for British cyclists to “hold insurance and pay road tax”.
The petition has made national headlines after being created by Owen McDermott, with plans to deliver it to Prime Minister Theresa May. In the text accompanying the petition, McDermott writes:
“The public roads used by motor vehicles are becoming unsafe to use due to one particular community that feel they are eligible to cycle on public UK roads.
“Just like having to sit your theory and your practical test to obtain a driving license [sic], Cyclists should have to do the same. What training have they had to use the road safely?
“Insurance, if a cyclist throws him/herself into the back of a stationary motor vehicle… Who’s to blame? Not the cyclist… The driver of the motor vehicle would have to pay their own excess to repair the damages.
“Im [sic] not sure on the percentage of how many cyclists die every year due to cycling on the road but if you stick them back on the path in a cycle lane I’m sure a lot more people will survive.”
According to McDermott, he created the petition on the back of seeing a news report in which it was revealed that police in the West Midlands were targeting drivers that were not giving cyclists sufficient room on the road when passing them.
However, his petition has prompted a vociferous reaction – both “for” and “against”. Those criticising the petition have largely focused on the fact that road tax does not actually exist – and that vehicles actually pay based on emission levels. As bicycles do not produce emissions, they would not therefore face tax charges anyway, similar to an electric car.
“Public liability insurance for sure, but there is no such thing as road tax,” said Luke Thorley of Failsworth. “I think you are referring to vehicle tax which is based on emissions - what emissions are cyclists giving off apart from odd farts.”
However, there were plenty who supported McDermott – as the 36,000+ figure would indicate. Some of the comments in favour included one from Elleanor Simpson of Bingley who pointed out that she, as a horse rider, pays insurance to be on the road, so she believes cyclists should do the same.
“I am sick of cyclists jumping lights & causing accidents & motorists have to claim on their own insurance & lose their no claims bonus,” added Sally Maher.
What is your opinion on the subject? Should cyclists have to take out insurance? Should they be allowed to cycle on public roads? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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