The age-old battle of motorist versus cyclist shows no sign of slowing down. However the question should cyclists be allowed on the road in the first place, is one that I am seeing more and more.
Motorists argue that they don’t pay road tax like they do, so should not be allowed to be on the roads. They also don’t have to pass any tests or learn any theory before being able to ride on the roads. So is this a fair argument?
Why should cyclists be allowed on the road, they don’t pay tax!
First off, let’s address the road tax issue. Yes, cyclists do not pay road tax on their bikes. However, how many of these cyclists have a car as well? They will pay tax on this, therefore have the right to ride their bike.
Also, roads are a public good. Just like pavements and street lamps, we all as citizens have the right to use them. They are paid for with not just road tax, but council tax, tolls, and other government taxes. Why does a person who contributes to society not be able to reap the benefits like everyone else?
Road tax is also not a charge to use the road; it is the charge to put a motor vehicle on the road. No motor vehicle, no tax. Simple.
In regards to not passing tests, this is not necessarily true. Anyone who can drive a car has passed a road theory test, something that converts to riding a bike on the road. There are also things such as cycling proficiency tests, something that I myself have completed.
One of the main reasons there are so many tests and rules to pass before driving a car, is the risk factor. If you put someone behind the wheel of a car who doesn’t know what they’re doing, the results could be catastrophic.
They not only pose a danger to themselves, but every other road user, passenger and pedestrian around them. On the other hand, if you have an inexperienced cyclist, the risk for damage is much lower.
The main danger here is for the cyclists themselves. They are the vulnerable ones, and in a crash between a car and a cyclist, it’s pretty clear who will come worse off. It is in the cyclist’s interest and safety to ride sensibly.
Another argument I have heard is that cyclists should use pavements or cycle paths. And why would they want to ride anyway? There are MRT’s and buses for commuting.
Yes, cycling is a brilliant way to commute, but this is just one reason why people choose to cycle. It is also amazing for your health and fitness, something we should be encouraging, and not trying to stop.
The fact of the matter is, that cyclists ARE allowed to cycle on the road, whether you like it or not. You may not agree, but this does not mean that you have the authority to drive recklessly near them.
Just today I was cycling along a three-lane road, and a car turned into the road straight into my path. We both had to ram on the brakes and it was the closest I have ever come to being hit.
No other cars were even around. He could have taken 3 extra seconds to wait for me to pass, but he didn’t treat or respect me like a valid road user. All he did was laugh and smile as he said sorry. No concern or regret shown at all. Sadly, this is the attitude of many drivers.
Should cyclists be allowed on the road? Yes. You might try and dodge round a cyclist for a few extra seconds of speed, but will it really be worth it if you take someone’s life in the process?