Having driven and cycled roughly equal distances of 11,000 miles each over the past 18 months I feel qualified to respond to last week’s ill-conceived rant at cyclists by Sue Plunkett.
All road users should act sensibly and with consideration for other road users. Taking a test is of course an important factor, but Sue apparently fails to realise the overwhelming majority of cyclists also drive a car, and so have indeed passed such a test. Having witnessed some pretty awful road behaviour from both groups, I can assure her there are plenty of bad motorists as well as bad cyclists.
As for “road tax”, where has your poor correspondent been since 1937, when it was abolished? Car owners pay Vehicle Excise Duty, which goes into the general Treasury pot to pay for welfare, education, health, MPs’ expenses and so on. And if road users were required to pay on the basis of the real cost of using the roads (much of it being road repairs) then HGV owners would be very, very, unhappy, and cyclists would owe less than one penny per year. Another kind of excise duty is payable on alcohol. Does she object to people drinking soft drinks on the basis they don’t pay their fair share?
By the way, the disparaging remarks quoted by Sue were made by London minicab boss John Griffin in April (I repeat, where has she been?) and he has since gone on record to say it was a mistake to criticise cyclists as a whole, and has expanded his driver-training scheme to include more cycle awareness issues.
I would never accuse your correspondent of plagiarism, but if she hadn’t put her name on the article I could have sworn it had been written by Jeremy Clarkson!