More and more people are considering cycling to work, with many eager to avoid public transport as a result of coronavirus and others keen to embrace the health benefits of cycling. Mark Bailey investigated whether arriving by bike should become our primary method of getting to work.?
However, the predicted ten-fold surge in bike journeys presents some challenges, argued Tom Welsh.?Namely,?the lack of a compulsory proficiency test and any form of identification for cyclists. The idea of a compulsory cycling licence was starting to look more persuasive, he argued.?
Telegraph readers debated whether cycling to work will become the norm as well as the idea of a compulsory cycling license. Read on for the best reader comments on cycling, and remember to share your own view in the comments section below.
'I'm sure lots of hesitant people would love it if they tried it'
@Iris Van Ramshorst
"I ride my kids around in London on my bike or –?when carrying lots of bags, groceries or multiple children –?on my cargo bike. It’s not a political statement but a means of getting from A to B. I have a car but don’t think it makes sense to use it locally.
"It remains a mystery to me why so many people feel such anger towards users of bicycles. These angry drivers are living in the past. It’s cultural.
"I am sure lots of hesitant people would love it if they only tried it once without acting as if they were about to perform an Olympic sport.
"Cycling is?a healthy, silent, non polluting way to get around that has a low impact on your joints, and?–?importantly –?it’s nobody’s business! Just get any old bike, sit up, pedal gently and smile."?
'If car drivers make me get a bicycle license, I will exert my full road rights'
"If car drivers make me get a bicycle licence, I will exert my full road rights and that will include preventing cars from treating bikes like rubbish,: cutting in front, turning left on top of me, cutting me off and squashing me into the gutter.
"I will want restitution for all of the damage to my bike caused by reckless car drivers and I will be pushing to see half of all roads allocated to bikes."
'Bike lanes should be provided for cyclists on every road'
"Bike lanes should be provided for cyclists, where possible, on every road. In the country, roads could in many cases be widened into the verge or fields to accommodate this. In cities, they could become the principal mode of transport. The lanes should have a physical barrier between the road and cycleway.
"Investment in this kind of cycleway is a recognition that cycling is useful and to be encouraged but also that cyclists and other road traffic are incompatible in safety terms.
'Forcing cyclists to have a licence will not reduce idiotic behaviour'
"What a terrible idea –?it would be another industry instructed to take my hard earned money! If I can’t use my bike with my children, to nip to the shop as I do or to take a summer?bike ride around my local nature reserve, and have to pay for this so-called freedom then the country is doomed.
"There are many ways to increase cycle and?road awareness without penalising responsible riders. These include after school lessons, the offer of a free class with every bike purchase, for example.?Forcing cyclists to have a licence and insurance will not reduce idiotic behaviour."
'It surprises me that there are not more accidents'
"I didn't think about cycling into work until 2007 when I was 40-years-old and have cycled into the West End ever since and agree it has brought significant health benefits.?
"However it never ceases to amaze me how irresponsible some cyclists are –? not having lights at night, dressed in dark colours, ignoring traffic lights –?it surprises me that there are not more accidents.
"More for the mental wellbeing of car, taxi, bus and lorry drivers?in city centres there has to be more enforceable regulations (to include insurance) for cyclists."
'They should have third party insurance at least'
"I ride every day. I don't have to have insurance or anything else come to that. Cyclists do scratch cars and break mirrors and simply get away with it because there is no means to identify the person. They should have, at least, third party insurance and some means of identifying the rider; perhaps a number plate on the back just as motor cyclists have to."
'Promoting commuting by bike for all is a lot easier said than done'
"Cycling to work requires lockers, showers and?proper, secure parking facilities.?Those areas also need to be sanitary. If they are not you're better off just using public transport.
"I am a huge advocate of cycling but to promote commuting by bike for all is lot easier said than done."
'We might start with how well licensing, registration and insurance works with cars'
"We might start with how well licensing, registration and insurance works with cars. Fine for the law abiding majority, and convenient for collecting tax and speeding fines, but the minority is large, as anyone who has had a collision from an uninsured driver will tell you."
'Should we have pedestrian licences too?'
"Should we have pedestrian licences too? Many simply cross the road without even looking if they don't hear a car. Many walk with dogs off the lead or on long, extendable leads.
"School children who ride to school should have a licence too. Also, mobility scooter riders, mothers who push buggies on the pavements, children with pogo sticks, skateboarders,?horse riders should also have a licence.
"Oh, they'll all need third party insurance too."
'Come the dark, wet winter months it'll be bye-bye bicycle'?
"People have such remarkably short memories, a few months of good weather and cycling is the answer to all commuting problems.
"Come the dark, wet winter months it'll be bye-bye bicycle."
'Some cyclists really do need some training'
"Whatever happened to the National Cycling Proficiency Test? I took it when I was at school in 1966 and very good it was too. And what happened to having a bell and mirrors on your bicycle? Those were highly useful too.
"Perhaps instead of having a licence to cycle, these old fashioned ideas could be reintroduced as we seem to have a nation of new cyclists who have no idea of the Highway Code, doesn’t think it applies to them, weave in and out of traffic, and certainly never use hand signals. On my route every morning, they have become like pack animals, riding four?or five?abreast down country lanes. So incredibly dangerous.
"Cycling is a fabulous way to get around, I have nothing against it and wish I could still do it, but some cyclists really do need some training."
'The few give the majority a bad name'
"Cycling makes good sense for many reasons but pedestrians need to be protected from pavement cyclists, many of whom don't even bother to ring the bell.? They seem to believe pedestrians, including the very young and the elderly, should anticipate their presence as well as have eyes in the back of their head.?
"There's nothing more frightening and dangerous than walking on a paved area and being overtaken at reckless speed by someone on a cycle.? Collisions between cyclists and pedestrians are not uncommon and when they occur the latter suffers far more than the former: pedestrians are killed every year in such entirely avoidable accidents.
"If we walk into the road without looking, we cannot complain if we're hurt in an accident: if we are on the pavement, in a park or on a seafront, then we're entitled to expect care to be taken by cyclists, who should also warn of their approach. It would also help if they heeded the 'No Cycling' rules in parks and other public spaces.
"The few give the majority a bad name."
'The Netherlands should be our biggest case study here'
"I'd back an optional but widely publicised and encouraged cycling theory test.?But license plates, taxation and licenses are simply ridiculous and would impede the massive steps taken towards moving people from cars to bicycles.?
"The Netherlands should be our biggest case study here and not once have their government insisted on implementing a cycling license or tax, so why should we?"?
'The answer is spending on infrastructure'?
"Part of the problem facing cycling is we don't have our own carriageway. Pedestrians have pavements, cars and lorries have roads, trains have tracks, so never the twain should meet. The answer is spending on infrastructure.
"A clash between cyclist and pedestrian is preferable to a clash between a cyclist and a lorry."?
'It is the responsibility of all of us who cycle to be responsible and considerate of others'
"There are a number of countries that used to have a licence system and road tax for bikes, but then finished with the system. Why should the UK go against the trend? It would only lead to yet more layers of regulations and restrictions.
"That said, there are undoubtedly some cyclists who seem to think they own the roads and are a danger and inconvenience. It is the responsibility of all of us who cycle to be responsible and considerate of others, otherwise we could loose the freedom we enjoy."
Now it time to have your say. Do you envisage cycling becoming the way form of transport for commuters? Should the UK introduce a compulsory cycling licence? Share your view in the comments section below.