House of Lords written question – answered at on 1 December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Wills Lord Wills Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing a licensing regime for cyclists.

Photo of Earl Attlee Earl Attlee Lords Spokesperson (Department for Transport), Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

The Government recognise that there is value in training cyclists to ride safely and confidently on the road. That is why we supported the development of the National Standard for Cycling and the related Bikeability training scheme. We have made a firm commitment to support Bikeability for the lifetime of the current Parliament and are providing £11 million this year to local authorities and School Games Organisers to train up to 275,000 children.

However, the Government consider that the costs of a formal testing and licensing system for cyclists would outweigh the benefits. The safety case for a testing/licensing system is not as strong as that for drivers since, by contrast with motorised vehicles, bicycles involved in collisions on the highway are highly unlikely to cause serious injury to other road users. Furthermore, cycling has clear benefits for cyclists themselves (particularly in terms of health) and for wider society (tackling congestion, reducing CO2 emissions and improved air quality) and the introduction of a licensing system would significantly reduce these benefits, especially over the short term. Over the long term, it would prohibit children and young adults from enjoying the mobility and health benefits cycling brings until they were old enough to pass a formal test.

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Chris Beazer
Posted on 2 Dec 2011 12:46 pm (Report this annotation)

Very good reply!!