British Cycling has released a statement in response to Halfords’ much-maligned Sharing the Road survey. It’s expressed its position that “laws should be developed using evidence.”
While Halfords pronounced itself “pleasantly surprised” with what its survey revealed, some of the findings have given rise to strongly anti-cycling headlines.
The Sun headlined its story "LICENCE TO BIKE Cyclists ‘should have number plates and take a test’ before being allowed on the road," and BikeBiz reports that a number of consumers are threatening to boycott Halfords for providing the ammunition.
In its statement, British Cycling said:
“Some of the suggestions set out in Halfords’ Sharing the Road report, such as a compulsory proficiency test and number plates, are quite obviously non-starters.
“The reality is that we, and other cycling organisations, work with groups representing pedestrians and motorists to find ways to make our streets safer for everyone. Indeed Halfords themselves are part of our #ChooseCycling Network of British businesses that strongly believe more cycling is crucial to help business thrive, to encourage people to live healthier lives and to make Britain a more pleasant place to live.
“We have been clear that laws should be developed using evidence, focusing proportionately on those with the ability to cause most harm. It is thankfully incredibly rare for a cyclist to be involved in the fatality of another road user, with two people dying a year on average. When compared to more than 400 pedestrian fatalities involving motor vehicles, it’s very clear where government time and resource should be focused.”
The wording was echoed by policy advisor Chris Boardman, whose range of bikes is stocked by Halfords. He said that, "compulsory proficiency tests and number plates, are quite obviously non-starters and cannot be regarded as a serious contribution to the public debate on road safety."
AA president Edmund King said: “The AA believes that the introduction of number plates for cyclists would be impractical and unnecessary – police already have the powers to stop cyclists.”
Cycling UK’s Duncan Dollimore said: "We already knew some people instinctively think regulation and testing of cyclists is the answer.
“Those people frequently fail to appreciate the practicalities of imposing and enforcing regulations on children, the costs involved, or the public health and other implications of putting up further barriers to cycling.
“Fortunately, government has consistently reached the conclusion that such proposals are disproportionate and unnecessary.”