Thursday 28 July 2016

Cyclist Licenses - the bad idea that will not go away

There are plenty of blog posts and articles with this already, so forgive me for not going into the already well-trodden details as to why this isn't a good idea. The arguments have been made and not addressed by advocates of cyclist licensing - and until there are well thought out responses there's nothing left to say on the subject. If you believe cyclists should be licensed I invite you to respond to the points raised in such articles, and when you've done so we can have a discussion - merely re-stating that you see a necessity for cyclist licensing and again not answering the argument against isn't having a discussion, its just you being an ass.

But I do want to address something here - cyclist licensing is an argument that just keeps coming back. This morning I observe that someone has set up yet another 'campaign' (although it could be, and I think it is, just be one person with an axe to grind).

Why is it that we keep seeing this? I mean, why do people set themselves up as crusaders for bike licensing without doing the slightest amount of due diligence? What is it that makes this demonstrably erroneous stance blindingly obvious to them? 

I put it to you that the guy phoning your local radio station to demand that cyclists are licensed, or whoever it is behind the new twitter feed, and anyone else making this argument, is suffering from the same delusion - it is OBVIOUS to them that cyclists should be licensed. They don't need evidence, they don't see any point in addressing the practical, cost, health, legal or safety issues involved because they've already decided that OF COURSE cyclists should be licensed. The reason they give for their argument varies (accountability to catch red light jumpers, because cyclists who break the law 'get cyclists a bad name', because there's no way of identifying cyclists, etc.) but it always comes from the same place - an assumption that licenses solve these assumed problems (they don't) and a perception of cyclists as a collective social out-group (we aren't). 

The name for a phenomenon where facts don't have to be put forward because its obvious that 'they' must be thus controlled, and there's no need to engage in the arguments put forward against a claim? The elevation of 'common sense' over study, evidence and facts? Prejudice.

Literally, it is just that. They've decided in advance, they've pre-judged the idea based upon how they perceive cyclists. They are, in the most literal sense, prejudiced against cyclists.

As such these people are unremarkable - they're all just sub-variants of Type 2, Type 4, Type 6 or even Type 8 cyclist haters, and I believe we should respond to them as such. And, just like with any other cyclist hater, we should be unsurprised when they react with contempt, disgust, hate, and a refusal to provide evidence for that which from their biased perspective is already obvious. 

My dear Cyclists4Licenses - I await your contemptuous blocking of me, merely an uppity cyclist.


  1. Thank you so much! You repeat my thoughts so well; I KNOW I am not alone!

  2. I see cyclists4licences have deleted the account...

  3. The issue of bicycle licensing has also resurfaced in Toronto (Canada) recently. The points you raised are those Toronto's cycling community can also relate to, so thanks for sharing. Here's a post I wrote on bicycle licensing in that city.

    1. Cool, thanks for reply. Will go have a look at that.