/ Travel & Leisure

Should cyclists have to pay ‘road tax’?

Man cycling in busy London traffic

That’s one suggestion for dealing with people who whizz through red lights on bikes, along with cycling tests and number plates. Is this going to make roads safer or simply curb our enthusiasm for sustainable travel?

Just last week, I let out an audible gasp, loud enough for a few strangers to turn and look at me quizzically, as I watched a cyclist nearly collide with a motorbike. Why? The cyclist didn’t stop when the light turned red, instead choosing to push his luck on one of London’s busiest crossroads.

I expect most people have a similar story – especially those who live in a city. As a fair-weather cyclist (I cycle to work in summer, tube it in winter), I probably have more than most but, as I’m not the fastest cyclist in the world, I don’t generally race through traffic lights in a bid to shave seconds off my journey.

Road safety and sustainability

I can see how tempting it is to ignore road rules, though – especially if you cycle for miles into work and have picked up a decent speed – but the reality is that roads are dangerous. Last year, more than 17,000 road accidents involved cyclists – 75% at, or near, a road junction, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

Still, my initial reaction to today’s headline, ‘25% of drivers want road tax for cyclists’, was one of horror. What about encouraging people to ditch their cars and get fitter? As Gareth Berry sarcastically (but sensibly) pointed out on Twitter this morning:

‘Good thinking, let’s raise the barrier to entry for sustainable, cheap transport as high as possible.’

The story was based on a survey by Confused.com, which asked motorists and cyclists their views about one another, with results showing both groups could brush up on their safety skills.

While drivers complained about cyclists skipping red lights and cycling on pavements, 65% of cyclists said that they felt less safe on roads than they did a year ago and 24% have been sworn at or beeped at by a motorist on the road.

What’s the solution?

In an attempt to find a solution to these problems, the survey asked drivers how misbehaving cyclists should make amends. Of those who were annoyed by cyclists, 25% said cyclists should pay ‘road tax’ (12% of the total asked), 44% thought they should pass a formal test before being allowed to ride and 43% wanted to see compulsory insurance for cyclists. The winning idea with motorists, however, was punishing cyclists caught running red lights.

But hang on a minute, haven’t we been here before? A quick Google search shows that the police have been handing out on-the-spot fines to cyclists in the capital for a good few years now. So, while this would personally be my preferred method out of all those mentioned above, perhaps it’s not working?

Another idea was to go one step further and give cyclists number plates – which went down well with some of our Twitter followers.

Dan Muir didn’t think a ‘road tax’ would work, ‘but perhaps the license plating would, as they’d have an easier way of the authorities catching them,’ he said. Starlight’s Dad agreed: ‘Cyclists should have number plates so that pedestrians can report them for riding on the pavement.’

Are cyclists a safety problem in your area, or do you think that drivers have just as much improving to do? Do any of the ‘solutions’ cited in the report above sound sensible to you?

Do you think that cyclists should pay some kind of 'road tax'?

No (59%, 594 Votes)

Yes (30%, 304 Votes)

I think other measures would be more effective (please tell us in the comments box) (10%, 102 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,002

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Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Amoeba – Please do not misuse science. Earlier in the discussion you said:

“Mass
Remember, a cyclist is effectively a fast-moving pedestrian. A bicycle’s mass is at most 10kg, (often less). A car has a mass of between 700kg (small electric) to 3,000kg (large).

Kinetic Energy = ½ x mass x velocity^2

Many motorists egregiously underestimate the enormous destructive-power excess (Kinetic Energy) of a car versus a cyclist.”

The kinetic energy is not the mass of the bike but that of the bike plus rider. There is still a large difference in kinetic energy even if you use the correct figures. The argument would still be valid if you compared a small car with a Boris bike and an overweight rider.

If you want to use science to support an argument, the best approach is not to overstate the case.

Profile photo of amoeba
Member

Wavechanger
What planet are you on?

A fit rider will go faster. A fast Boris bike? Are you joking? Did they ride them on the TdF?

I have no figures for a Boris bike, I have never ridden one, I believe they have three low ratio gears, they are not fast.
I cannot include all eventualities.
Cargo bikes are heavier, but are much slower and very rare in the UK..

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I’m on planet Earth and I’m concerned about the behaviour of ordinary cyclists. If you want to cycle in towns and cities where there is a risk of pedestrians being injured you need to forget the idea of high speed cycling.

Profile photo of amoeba
Member

Wavechanger,
How did I misuse science? I try very hard to stick to the facts. The one thing I’ve learned is that people really don’t like facts that show they’re wrong. I don’t like being wrong. When people try to ‘correct’ me, they normally do so by themselves being wrong.

It is a fact that a cyclist is effectively a fast pedestrian.

The mass of a ‘person riding a bicycle’ is dominated by the mass of the rider. The mass of a ‘driver and motor-vehicle’ is dominated by the mass of the vehicle. This is a fact and will remain so, as far as I can tell, for the foreseeable future. Yes bicycles vary in mass, but the reality is that fast bikes are light, heavy bikes are slow. 10kg is a reasonable figure. A roadster can weigh 18-20kgs or so, but at 0.1kW riders are likely to pootle along at ~12 mph and often slower.
On a racing bike ‘on the tops’ 0.1kW gives 14.5 mph.

You can direct all the specious and misleading rhetoric at me you like, but the facts aren’t going to change – because they’re facts. How inconvenient of them.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It is quite simple. The kinetic energy of a moving bicycle is not that of the bicycle itself but the bike plus rider. You made no mention of the rider in your earlier post, hence my criticism. You have now acknowledged the significance of the mass of the rider but criticised me. 🙁

Obviously the kinetic energy to be dissipated in an impact is that of the bike plus rider.

Profile photo of amoeba
Member

Wavechanger,
“If you want to cycle in towns and cities where there is a risk of pedestrians being injured you need to forget the idea of high speed cycling.” I believe that high-speed cycling is largely a myth. I don’t see any really fast cyclists, they’re just a bit faster than me.

Whereas motorists can’t wait to overtake me, it’s not unusual for them to start hooting, driving dangerously close and revving their engines, sometimes shouting obscenities or incoherent drivel, (I have been spat at once) or they’ll even overtake across double white lines on a narrow bridge with a blind summit, it’s all rather dangerous and quite pathetic, there’s a roundabout over the bridge and almost without exception, I catch them without trying and by timing, I can keep-up with them pretty effortlessly for the next three sets of traffic lights. They’d get there if they just waited and drove safely in accordance with the Highway Code, which they either ignore or seem to have never read.

The reality is that most cyclists are not fast. I’m certainly not, I ride a commuter-equipped bicycle with robust tyres, dynamo lights (lots of lights), carrier, mudguards mudflaps and none of these make for high-speed cycling (none featured on the TdF). Cycling is far more pedestrian-friendly than motoring as the statistics have shown year on year. As road-casualties have fallen, what’s changed is that vehicle occupants have become safer, while vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians have continued IIRC to rise (haven’t got the figures to hand). But here’s a newspaper article that essentially supports what I’ve said:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/9479965/Rise-in-vulnerable-road-users-being-killed-and-injured.html

http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/UsefulReports/SWOVReports/FS_Vulnerable_road_users.pdf

Profile photo of amoeba
Member

Wavechanger,
“The kinetic energy of a moving bicycle is not that of the bicycle itself but the bike plus rider. You made no mention of the rider in your earlier post, hence my criticism.”

It never occurred to mention that anyone would be so incredibly foolish not to realise that a bicycle needs a rider.
So, I wasn’t deceiving anyone. So your criticism was specious nonsense.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

What I said was: “The kinetic energy is not the mass of the bike but that of the bike plus rider. There is still a large difference in kinetic energy even if you use the correct figures. The argument would still be valid if you compared a small car with a Boris bike and an overweight rider.”

That should have read: “The kinetic energy is not DEPENDENT ON the mass of the bike but the bike plus rider. ….”

Anyway that’s the end of a rather fruitless discussion as far as I am concerned.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Hi guys, let’s try and stick to the issue at hand and not make comments personal. Thanks

Member
Tim says:
31 March 2015

“It is a fact that a cyclist is effectively a fast pedestrian.”

Errr, no.
A very fast pedestrian and heavy too, if the kinetic energy presented by 200lbs of rider and bike at 20 mph is considered. Unfortunately for the common or garden city cyclist, the law regards the cycle as a vehicle and thus subjects the rider to the road traffic law (unlike the pedestrian).

“It is a fact that a car with four passengers is, in effect, four fast pedestrians” !

Member
Jonathan says:
31 March 2015

The specious nonsense arising from a dearth of rider (and the puerile delight therein) exemplifies a puritanical countenance from which in turn palpable pedantry presents. The ephemeral contention extends further into the “fingers in ears” mode, particularly when presented with evidence that, in fact, the holy grail of 1937 and the golden Winstonian words betray the continued existence of the tax that dares not utter its name in disparate yet oddly homogenised cycling fraternities.

Profile photo of amoeba
Member

Tim,
“It is a fact that a car with four passengers is, in effect, four fast pedestrians” – No it isn’t and you know that’s not remotely true. It’s not human-powered, it’s powered by an engine. A bicycle is human-powered and the bicycle weighs around 10kg, roadsters are typically heavier but slower, but relatively uncommon in the UK (actual mass figures are rarely published).

Rarely have I read a comment so egregiously false yet devoid of all facts.
A car features a very heavy, often steel cage, engine etc. To omit this fact is grossly inaccurate and misleading. The first small car I checked starts at 980kg, add a driver and three passengers and that’s 1280kg.
The least powerful model of this car can do around 100mph, up to ~130mph, and variants are even faster,
Perhaps you’d like to try again and cite your references so they can be checked.

Member
Tim says:
2 April 2015

If the argument were to be followed, acyclist would be a very fast pedestrian and heavy too, if the kinetic energy presented by 200lbs of rider and bike at 20 mph is considered.

Unfortunately for the unreasonable cyclist who we see posting here, the law regards the cycle as a vehicle and thus subjects the rider to the road traffic law (unlike the pedestrian).

Member
Roy, Filton says:
3 April 2015

Unfortunately for those who put the point, the law does not recognise the cyclist as a “fast pedestrian”.

The law, in fact, regards the bicycle as a road traffic vehicle, which is why the cycle is subject to the road traffic laws.

The “cyclists are pedestrians” argument is something which is cited by those cyclists who do want to obey the road traffic laws.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Hello amoeba, due to continued disregard of our community guidelines, our friendly advice and a lack of respect for other commenters, your comments will not be published until we have manually approved them.

Please only engage with other’s points, no matter how much you disagree with them, without getting personal.

Everyone else, let this be a clear message that we won’t tolerate continued misbehaviour. Please lead by example.

I wish you all a very lovely Easter weekend, no matter which transport you choose to use to enjoy it.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Thank you Patrick. Not before time. It might be comfortable to come back into the Conversation again if any new points emerge.

Member
Tim says:
3 April 2015

I would second that. Best wishes to all.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

I see that Hannah Joliffe, who introduced this Conversation, is still writing about cycling, even though she left Which? Convo several years ago: http://greenhousepr.co.uk/blog/green-pioneers-bristol-green-capital-triodos-soil-association/

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Has anyone brought electric bikes into this conversation? They have no need for registration or tax if they weight no more than 40kg, have a motor no more than 0.2 kW and can travel at no more than 15 mph. That’s a good deal slower than many of the pedal-only bikes I see out on the road. Perhaps these alsoy should be governed to a maximum speed of 15 mph as well? 😀 . Live and let live I suggest. Bikes are more vulnerable (as are motor bikes) and the rider needs to ride taking account of their extra risks. Registering, insuring and taxing is just too complicated for this healthy and green activity. As long as those who cause injury or damage are aware they might be sued, so personal insurance might be prudent.

Member
Peter says:
31 March 2015

I cannot see why any reasonable cyclist would argue against third party insurance, nor in fact some kind of numbered tabard registration scheme.

It is interesting to note that vehicle road tax is now effected online, so too could be cycle registration, backed perhaps by their paying, as the article suggests, some form of road tax.

Member
Visible Person says:
31 March 2015

The difficulty seems to be, Malcolm, that riders generally do not ride while taking into account the additional risks to third parties- hence this discussion regarding insurance and registration.

Modern administrative techniques mean that the imposition of these things need not be complicated, although a vocal minority of riders will of course insist that it will, while at the same time arguing with equal force for increased concessions and “blind eye” law enforcement.

Member
Rachael says:
31 March 2015

Well, the article simply puts the question as to whether the cyclist should pay some form of road tax. Many suggest that this should be so, while others state otherwise.

Unfortunately, the latter group (or, more accurately, one gentleman who seems to have too much time on his hands) is getting into a stew about the expression of opinion that he does not like. Perhaps the moderators might care to take a look at this individual.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Expecting cyclists to pay to use the roads is unrealistic, even more so now that many owners pay no VED on their lower emission cars. Getting adult cyclists registered so that those who break the law can be identified is a more realistic possibility and I hope that many cyclists would accept that this is a sensible approach. I have some keen cyclists among my relations and they support registration.

I have had one motorcycle accident and one car accident, both involving cars that were driven out of side roads. In both cases I obtained the registration number and other details of the drivers. When I was hit by a cycle while walking on the pavement I never found out who had injured me.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

If energy-efficient cars and low emission cars are rewarded with zero VED, so should cyclists be. How much more low-emission and energy efficient can you get?

Member
Rachel says:
1 April 2015

It depends whether the road tax system continues to be sidetracked by the emissions side of things or whether it returns to the basis whereby the roads were financed on a “user pays” basis. At the moment, there is inequality because cyclists, as a general class of road vehicle user, pay nothing.

Member
Harry says:
1 April 2015

Then one thing which we could anticipate is that, if everyone drove low emission cars, then the government would think again about the zero road tax that their drivers pay.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

It’s a bit off-topic but having zero VED for any cars is sending out the wrong message. Even the lowest emission cars have a serious environmental impact, in their manufacture, use and disposal.

On the other hand, VED has become a way of taxing those who drive the most polluting cars, which has its merits.

Member
Harry says:
1 April 2015

I agree.

It also muddies the waters when it comes to the payment of road tax, which is clearly something which the government wishes to do, given that it fails to hypothecate the road tax monies and therefore commits a form of administrative malfeasance.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

An example of why politicians are not generally good at making thought-through decisions and should not run businesses – they think in terms of political gain, not real benefits.

However, if zero VED is applied to certain cars the (political) stance says it must also be applied to bikes. We may, of course, disagree with that line of thinking!

Member
The real Bill says:
5 April 2015

I was behind a pack of lycras today riding three abreast along a main road holding up the rest of the traffic, chatting away as they rode. No respect for the other road users and pulling over to let other vehicles pass.

Member
Mary says:
8 April 2015

Bill; we had a similar problem where I live; every Sunday, the roads would be blocked by a group of inconsiderate cyclists who would argue that, although they were causing an obstruction, they were acting “within the law”. The latter is debatable, bearing in mind that these persons were riding two and three abreast and deliberately frustrating all reasonable attempts to overtake.

One local farming chap eventually decided that enough was enough. He would drive around their “course” in a large box van at a speed of about 18 mph. The engine was diesel and it would emit a fair amount of smoke, although again within the law. The gentleman would time the exit from his property to coincide with the approach of the group of riders and he would carefully drive in front of them at his low,but legal speed.

The story made our local paper when the cyclists complained. The complaint of course came very early on. The driver, meanwhile, reminded them that he was driving within the law. The journalist involved was quick to put to the spokesman for the cycling club that the cyclists were simply experiencing something to which they had been subjecting the public every week.

Our roads now tend to be clear of the gaggle of cyclists on Sundays, thanks to the public spirited chap in the box van.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

So one inconsiderate act deserves another one? No wonder there is so little respect for other road users.

Member
Mary says:
8 April 2015

No, I think the point was that acting “within the law”, while paying disregard to issues of due consideration is something which works in both directions. We keep hearing that cyclists who ride two or three abreast are “acting within the law”, so the above exercise illustrated well the weakness of the argument, as your kind response acknowledges.

As an aside, the farmer, I understand, had considered using a large tractor and manure spreader, but he concluded that he might well not have been able to resist pushing that all-important button!

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

We could all be anti-social ‘acting within the law’ but can you imagine what it would be like to live in this country would be like if everyone behaved in this way?

Member
Mary says:
8 April 2015

I do agree wholeheartedly, but unfortunately, a sizeable percentage of cyclists do not share our sentiments, which was the point of the story related above.

The difficulty and dangers posed by these “antisocial acting within the law” cyclists is something which is encountered up and down the country every weekend, unfortunately. The farmer here was hailed as something of a local public hero.

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

As a car driver, I meet farmers in the summer causing queues, caravaners driving slowly up hills, slow lorries holding me up, buses that pull out from stops just before I get there, horses that walk along our country roads and impede traffic, other motorists that slow down at night every time a car comes the opposite way or drive on a sunny day more slowly than me to admire the view —— and cyclists out enjoying their ride or taking part in a road race. Life is too short to worry about my absolute right to dominate the road. So I just regard it as par for the course – I won’t change it so accept it. What is all the rush anyway?

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

In my experience, the best way to tackle antisocial people on your side is to enlist the help of people who they will respect, in this case cyclists.

I have seen many incidents provoked by lack of consideration. On Sunday I was driving down a narrow country lane and there were two cyclists abreast, making it impossible to pass. I stayed well back and they soon waved me on. The car behind followed them closely and they did not let him pass. It is inexcusable not to get out of the way but ‘tailgating’ is provocative and a mistake could injure cyclists.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
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Hi all, we have reason to believe that some commenters in this thread have been commenting under multiple usernames. This is a direct breach of our T&Cs: “You will post under one screen name and not attempt to post under duplicate names, otherwise we may remove your comments and prevent you from using the website.” https://conversation.which.co.uk/terms-conditions/

If you have been doing this, please stop. Pick a username and stick to you, and don’t attempt to back up your argument by pretending to be someone else.

If you suspect that someone is breaking our T&Cs in this way, please alert us by using ‘Report this comment’ explaining why you’re reporting it. Thanks.

Profile photo of malcolm r
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There seems to be an unusual number of thumbs up and thumbs down appearing – are they genuine or from someone with multiple identities?

Member
Mary says:
8 April 2015

Thanks Patrick. I had noticed that as well.

Yes, I always hang back and wait until it is safe to pass these groups. Sometimes that takes many miles, but we do have to exercise patience with these people.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Mary – Although I’m advocating tolerance I am very keen that cyclists should be registered.

I suspect that the possibility of being identified would help deter antisocial behaviour, which works to some extent with motorists.

Member
Jono says:
15 June 2017

Why do cyclists have an obsession with the ‘primate position’ or monkey stance as it has become known? Surely it is no more than a device to annoy any motorist who is unfortunate enough to be stuck behind such a specimen?

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Very interesting Jono , I take it you refer to the unnatural stance ( in relation to a monkey ) ? -ie- grouched/bent over . First of all bikes/motorbikes in Britain are traditionally made for riding in a semi-crouched position , I should know I rode British bikes for 25 years and motorbikes for 15 years . Not so in the USA where very long distances in travel mean its more comfortable to in an upright position and this stance applies to bicycles as well as Harley,s . That you are unhappy with that does that mean you are American ? and you would like us all to buy American equipment ? . We are a European country and if you watch German/French satellite TV like I do especially all the bike races which are major events on the continent – Eurosport 1 – Deutschland its never off it so its a cultural thing , we are not (yet ) American . By the way all those pictures of apes transforming into man from a crouched position is pure Bull ! you are either homo sapiens with a certain bone structure or you are an ape with a different bone structure . For a simple explanation of that click on : http://askjohnmackay.com/man-apes-and-monkeys-what-are-the-differences/ warning !! he isn’t exactly “biblical friendly ” but there again I think most of it is political propaganda .

Profile photo of John Ward
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I expect they think that posture applies optimum force to the pedals and thus maximum traction, Jono. I don’t suppose they have any regard to the presentation of their posterior to other road users; they have even aped the lurid Lycra colour schemes of certain primates’ hindquarters.

As I was going to the polling station last week a manic cyclist arrived at breakneck speed in fancy garb of extreme tightness and sidled into the hall; I wondered whether he was suffering from rickets. In a democracy we have to accept alternative customs and behaviours.

Member
Harry says:
18 June 2017

The “gibbon gait” is something which is enthused over by cyclists who wish to hold up the traffic and who don’t know the road traffic laws or highway code.

A fellow once wrote a book some years ago, where the primate position, aka monkey stance was encouraged. This has no legal basis and is potentially rather dangerous.

Member
Bob says:
18 June 2017

I see the primate position or monkey stance as arising from a misunderstanding. The highway code requires traffic, including cyclists, to keep left as much as possible. Some so-called “cycling instructors” nonetheless encourage cyclists to ride, possibly illegally, well out in the road in this monkey position. This seems irresponsible and at odds with cycling proficiency.

Profile photo of wavechange
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Jono, Bob, Harry – Are you all regular cyclists and how do you ride your bikes? My stance is that there is no point in deliberately alienating cyclists.

Member
Jacqueline says:
18 June 2017

Would that be an ordinary stance, or a monkey stance!

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Jacqueline I am amazed that this convo has generated so many posts just in case I haven’t picked this up right I always rode a British racing bike with bent handlebars this was normal in the 60,s onward , nobody but nobody rode a “ministers bike ” which wa the old 30,s up to 50,s heavy steel upright models , so obviously you could see my bum while behind me . Its obvious this nation has a fixation on bums , personally I have no problem with watching female bums –yes I know sexist , but last time I looked I was a red-blooded male . Whats going on here can someone be allowed to post a picture of the “Monkey bum ” for me ?? Its no wonder the “Big Yin ” -Billy Connolly was so popular in this country he never stopped talking about them . So come on forget the PC etc tell me what I am missing here ?

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Very good, Jacqueline, but I don’t think that referring to ‘monkey stance’ etc. is conducive to promoting reasoned discussion.

Member
Colonel Finch says:
23 June 2017

Many people might relish the opportunity to have a reasoned and considered conversation as to the merits of the monkey stance, both in terms of the descriptive and the actuality.

Member
Little J says:
23 June 2017

I think the concern here is that people do not want to see the rear end yet, yet many seem intent on waving their posterior to those behind them in skin tight material. Not more so than the ‘twiddly dance’ where one tries to remain static in traffic balanced precariously in the pedals in any attempt not to put a foot on the tarmac. Anyone visiting our planet that had not witness said dance might take it for a mating ritual

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Member
Little J says:
23 June 2017

The monkey stance is also known as the straddling of the middle of the road to ensure no one passes you

Member
Bob says:
23 June 2017

Ok so the money stance is a way of describing cyclists hogging the middle of the road as well as the crouching position that displays butt cheeks.

Cyclists should not use the monkey stance and hog the whole road. They should move left after hazards.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Maybe we are starting to get there Little J now I know -#1- anybody wearing tight multi-coloured/vivid lycra tights – #2- its middle-aged cyclists- #3- they “waggle ” their bum about while trying to show off that they can balance a stationary bike without touching the road -#4- they straddle the middle of the road so people are forced to see their “flashy bum ” . In the 60,s I wore a pair of short trunks while cycling but I got a positive response from female viewers of wolf whistles and comments that cant be posted, but lets say if I agreed to them I would need some iron tablets to keep me going.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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You mean “butt-left” Bob -sorry couldn’t help that one.

Profile photo of John Ward
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I remember a previous Conversation about cyclists and safety helmets which generated very heated exchanges. Cycling behaviour does seem to give rise to an undue amount of animosity and outright hostility – in both directions.

Frankly, I couldn’t care less how cyclists ride their machines or what they look like. I don’t believe they should be taxed for cycling but have always been in favour of a formal means of identification.

Contrary to what has been suggested here, a lot of the cyclists that I see adopt a fairly upright posture as there is no requirement for advanced streamlining when going shopping or making other everyday journeys. My last bike was a Gentleman’s Upright and there was no point in trying to do anything other than what the triangulation of the comfy saddle, sensible handlebars and position of the pedals would permit without harmful contortions.

Member
Bob says:
24 June 2017

I’d agree. Both monkey positions are not required. The monkey handlebar crouch and also the monkey straddling of the road, often displaying the rear swaying from side to side ready for blast off.

Member
Wilson Riou says:
24 June 2017

A following wind gives a valuable boost of momentum.

The breaking of wind provides a similar benefit, from the velocity of the emitted gases while the cyclist is poised in the monkey stance.

Profile photo of John Ward
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It might depend on the tightness of the trousers, Wilson. Trapped gas will emerge somewhere but not necessarily in a desirable place.

Member
Frank says:
25 June 2017

The university of Oxhampton conducted research on this phenomenon, John.

One group wore impermeable cycling shorts, while another wore standard issue “primate hind quarter” coloured lycra. A control group wore ordinary shorts, while a second control group comprised young female students with no shorts at all. This final group was studied more closely than all of the others, although there is no empirical reason why this should have been so.

The group with impermeable shorts were found to emit gases from a variety of location points, the most usual of which were to be found around the leg openings or upwards from the hem, as measured by a specially adapted micro manometer.

The group with the permeable shorts was found to emit gas in a direct trajectory from the fundament, although the diffuse nature of the movement provided little in the way of forward thrust, as measured by a third wheel device.

The group with the ordinary shorts behaved in a similar way to the second group, while the final group, being made up of fragrant young ladies of impeccable breeding, emitted no gas at all.

Profile photo of duncan lucas
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Thats “having a gas ” in sixties speak Frank – IE- having a lot of fun. Never used it myself sounds too mid-Atlantic , didnt use – “bummed out/bummer ” either.

Profile photo of John Ward
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What a quaint piece of research, Frank. I gather that Oxhampton University has since been closed.

This Conversation is starting to remind me of the book by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men on the Bummel about a cycling tour of Germany involving the same characters as in his previous book Three Men in a Boat. “Bummel” is a German word for journey. The book was written at the beginning of the 20th century when bicycles were more upright and riders fully clothed, usually in Tweed.

Profile photo of Ian
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I rather liked your dry observation that “This final group was studied more closely than all of the others, although there is no empirical reason why this should have been so. Very understated… 🙂

Member
Bob says:
27 June 2017

Many cyclists seem to hog the road and refuse to move over. Often when I hoot, the rear is raised in the air, along with the arm and distended finger. Quite a feat of contortion.

Member
Visible Person says:
27 June 2017

The idea of the rear being in the air is something which is ill placed to be in the same sentence as the description of a distended finger.

It conjures up a vision which is arguably even more revolting than that faced by countless motorists who contemplate “elevated lycra indecency” on an all too common basis.

Member
Little J says:
28 June 2017

What is it with cyclists,
with the monkey stance,
their bums in their air,
doing a little dance.

Twitching from side to side,
a ritual it seems
but can any one say
what it actually means?

Member
Bob says:
1 July 2017

That’s a good question Little J, LOL

Member
Keith Backsideintheair says:
1 July 2017

Studies have shown that the amount of lycra donned by a given cyclist is inversely proportional to that cyclist’s propensity to observe road traffic laws.

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I am really enjoying this something that started of in a serious vain , has now taken on a life of its own and has branched out into a showcase of British humor , and there,s me thinking all the PC “comics ” had killed it off , keep it coming guys I love it !

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Benny Hill-Emery says:
3 July 2017

I see no point in overtaking cyclists. If there is a good looking woman with her posterior in a position of suspended elevation, then I am quite happy to drive at 12mph for the next twenty miles or so.

A perennial conundrum is presented by the possibility that the front might not match the back in terms of the endeavours of nature’s stylist. This then begs the possibility of overtaking the subject matter in order to cop a look at the front, guv, and then engineering a situation whereby a following gait is again created.

The worse scenario is played out when the shapely rear is admired for a hypnotic and uplifting few miles, only for it to be discovered that the owner of said rear is in fact a geezer, guv’nor. In this day and age, such a thing is eminently possibly.

A cold shower and a short course of meditative counselling is generally recommended in the wake of such a sensory inconguity.

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Bob Wilson-Riou says:
24 August 2017

It’s about time that these two wheeled freeloaders started to pay their way.

They are the only general class of road vehicle which does not pay road tax.

Make these arrogant twits make a contribution and while we’re at it, let’s make sure that the laws are properly enforced for them as they are for other road vehicles.

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How kind, Bob. I absolutely agree that they should comply with the law.

In my view, cyclists are making a valuable contribution by not polluting the atmosphere or using up our reserves of fossil fuels. If they cycle to work, they are not going to be commuting long distances either.

I’m not sure how we do get cyclists to comply with the law. I have had to jump out of the way on the pavement too many times.

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Horse riders who use the roads don’t pay tax. Other exemptions are agricultural, horticultural, forestry, electric, steam vehicles, vehicles for the disabled, mowing machines. As electric vehicles are exempt it seems to be reasonable to exempt other non-polluting transport – like cycles. Should pre-1/1/77 vehicles also be exempt?

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VED must be paid for agricultural vehicles etc. unless they cover very short distances on public roads, for example between farm fields. I looked into this in connection with using dumpers and a small crane.

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You wonder how well this is observed. When on the road, with or without trailers, they can be a hazard to other traffic if they are not well maintained “ imposing MOT tests on standard tractors and livestock trailers, used by thousands of farmers, would mean more needless red tape as well as increased costs in return for little safety benefit.. As other road users must have roadworthy vehicles I wonder why these should be exempt.

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I share your concerns, Malcolm. I mentioned before that anyone can check the tax and mot status of vehicles online using the registration numbers: https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk

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Tractors have to pay the tax if they drive on roads further away than 5 miles from the farm centre. At least, that’s the case here.

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Officially: “Vehicles used just for agriculture, horticulture and forestry
This includes tractors, agricultural engines and light agricultural vehicles used off-road. It also includes ‘limited use’ vehicles used for short journeys (not more than 1.5 kilometres) on the public road between land that’s occupied by the same person.”

Of course what happens and the rules often differs. Cycling offers many examples. 🙁

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Phil says:
24 August 2017

They want dedicated cycle lanes and boxes at junctions. Only fair they should contribute towards the cost.

Unfortunately the eco-warrior claim doesn’t wash. Air pollution in London has got considerably worse in recent years, it might be the fault of cyclists slowing up traffic, it might be totally unconnected. Cyclists are also seasonal, you rarely see any in London if it’s cold or raining so saving the planet is obviously not worth getting wet for.

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Digger Barnes says:
24 August 2017

Cyclists become more vociferous and demanding as time passes. Rather like over indulged children, they become more and more self entitled and self righteous because the government panders to them by creating facilities (which cyclists often fail to use) and neglecting to punish offending properly or at all.

We now have many cycling websites that abhor road traffic laws being enforced against errant cyclists and quite a few of these websites actively encourage law breaking. Cyclists will aggressively demand that others abide by the laws, but they will try to excuse their own lack of compliance, using the most strained and pedantic reasoning.

Paying road tax and compulsory insurance would be a very good idea.

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Thanks, Wave; thought 5 miles sounded too much when I posted it. The Police are pretty hot on it around here.

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Rear-Admiral Charles Belsoff QC (hon) says:
26 August 2017

I would closely advocate a road tax based on the size of the cyclist’s bottom and the height at which it is displayed. A posterior high in the air would attract a “monkey stance” tariff, whereas one lower down towards the saddle would be less taxed, in more ways than one.

Spandex, lycra or any other materials which give the impression of simean hindquarters would be subject to an additional levy, this in order to partly compensate the public for having to witness a revolting and socially outrageous sight.

A “fat a**e” tax would be an additional measure aimed at reducing wear and tear on British roads.

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Not only wear+tear on the roads RAC but on the nerves of every driver as they totally ignore the Highway Code are colorblind when it comes to red stop signs , cut straight onto pavements knocking down children and old folk , ride two/three abreast blocking the road zig-zag all over the road when they have had one too many , watch as one bum cheek flops to one side or another causing the rider to lose balance due to uneven weight distribution on the vertical plane = force (vertically) weight /road friction /forward thrust and F air friction. which I am sure an engineer could correct by fitting a safety wheel on each side of the bike . Its a case of I defy you to knock me down as the government will protect me. First year cyclists should have a compulsory green sticker on their backs with an L on it , second year – two beer bottles -third year a certain proscribed weed . All said in the “best possible taste “as a long departed British comedian was apt to say.

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Basil Shoot to Thrill says:
26 August 2017

David Attenborough, in his best whispery voice, takes a departure from his usual environment and investigates a more urban environment.

An increasingly emerging specie is his subject matter. This species is demanding, unreasonable and dangerously unpredictable in its road behaviour. It is known as “cyclist self entitlis”.

Mr Attenborough observed the species in its natural habitat (the pavement) and marvelled at its capacity to spit out insults when its unlawful supremacy is challenged.