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As part of Wet Blunket’s Anti-Social Behaviour act, Traffic Wardens and Security Guards are going to be given the right to fine cyclists who ride on the pavement 30.

I have mixed feelings about this. As a pedestrian, I find people who ride bicycles on the pavement to be an irritation, but as an ex-cyclist (Our bicycles were stolen from our back garden a couple of months ago) I would rather people cycled on the pavements than on the roads with no lights.

They should walk their bikes home, but people are morons, and don’t.

In fact, people should not be allowed to ride bikes on the road at all until they’ve passed their cycling proficiency.

Cycling Proficiency is a bit like Driver’s Ed for primary school children. Someone – usually the local community policeman, spare teachers, or Local Council People – comes to most primary schools sometime in years 4 -> 6 (That’s about 9 to 11 years) (depending on school and local council) and teaches anyone with a bike the relevant bits of the highway code (Our school you brought your bike with you one day a week for about a month, and you weren’t allowed to cycle to school until you’d already passed your CP. Guess how many pupils pushed their bike to school?). At the end we got a badge and a certificate.

When I was in Cambridge cyclists in the summer were a menace to the roads. Gangs of tourists with no idea of British road laws or etiquette, but because it was traditional to ride bikes in Cambridge. Apparently they did about 20,000 damage to taxis a year, to the point where, when I left, the local Taxi driver’s union1 was campaigning to make all cycle hiring places make their clients take out insurance (at something like 50p to 1 per bike) against damage to third parties. This is probably a good idea.

I think the idea of the spot-fines for cycling on the pavements is a good one, although 30 is about 10 too high. I’m less sure about the rest of the content of the bill, since it includes giving councils the right to declare “Anti-Social Hotspots” which the police can turf kids out of. And into, for example, somewhere else they can then define as a hotspot.

It’s a free country?

1 Are you cycling at me? Then why the hell are you coming in my direction? You cycling at me? Doesn’t look like there’s anyone else on the roads, Where do you think you’re cycling? Oh yeah? Huh? Ok.

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