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TfL policy shift?

Tour de France in London

Ken Livingstone – Pro-Cyclist, when it suits him…

Cyclists in London could be made to fit number plates to their bikes under plans being drawn up by Ken Livingstone, the capital’s mayor. A rise in the number of cycle journeys together with increases in riding on pavements and through red lights are the factors thought to be behind the new plans.

RCUK’s editor’s view

On one hand he could be regarded as the ‘doyenne’ of the Capital’s cyclists, but this is clearly a step towards the populist approach and the more cynical cyclists may also see it for what it is: A vote winner. Plenty of newspapers and radio stations have joined in and this seems to get the motorist’s vote. So our opinion? Bonkers. It’s totally impractical will take money away from far more useful projects, it will also have a reversing effect on cycling uptake and numbers. Like the bells on bikes law, it’s like trying to make cyclists fit ashtrays to their handlebars.

I’d like to think that paying road tax or even a cycling tax is essentially a good idea, if I believed it would make a difference. Driver’s attitudes to cyclists are bordering on the barbaric in London and the UK as a whole and Ken just underlines this message with this proposal. We are regarded by non cyclists, like Livingstone, as second class road users and should know our place. It’s a Clarkson-esque solution from a man who’s done so many positive things for cyclists. Or should that be that TfL has done so many things for cyclists, Livingstone clearly wants to be a pro-cyclist when the mood takes him – as this is, quite frankly, a stab in the back.

And another thing. Livingstone wants to stop errant cycling, so do I, but first we should also stop errant driving and driving without insurance/Tax/MOT etc. as these are the issues that have a REAL influence on road safety, road injuries, deaths and subsequent accountability – Topics that Ken is less happy to discuss. Let’s concentrate on what is REALLY dangerous here, not on perseeved danger by the ill-informed.

Recent press releases and trade reactions:

‘Livingstone’s plans will see cycling levels plummet’ says CTC

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s plan for a registration scheme for bicycles and their users in London is an ill-thought-through and completely unworkable idea that risks reversing the current growth in London cycling, according to the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation, CTC.

Speaking on LBC Radio this week, Livingstone announced plans to use a Private Bill to compel all cyclists entering the capital to be registered to a particular bicycle and for that bike to display a registration plate that can be monitored by cameras. He hopes to use the system to catch cyclists who cycle on the pavement and ride through red lights.

CTC Campaigns and Policy Manager, Roger Geffen, said: “CTC is in favour of cyclists obeying the law, but a registration scheme would be an extremely costly and bureaucratic system that would undoubtedly put many people off cycling. A problem with errant cyclists undeniably exits but pales in road safety terms when compared with dangerous drivers. A better way to tackle cyclists’ bad behaviour is through provision of good cycle training.”

The Government this month announced an extra £15million for cycle training to the National Standard for children. CTC was instrumental in drawing up the National Standard for cycle training, recently adopted by Government. This aims to raise the standard of cycle training for people of all ages, to give them the confidence and skills to ride safely and responsibly in all traffic conditions.

The Story as reported by London Cycling Campaign

Mayor of London proposes registering cyclists

The scheme was proposed by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London, speaking on the radio on the 27th of July 2006. Livingstone announced plans to use a Private Bill in Parliament to compel cyclists in London to be registered to a particular bicycle and for that bike to display a registration plate that can be monitored by cameras.

LCC expresses its dismay
The London Cycling Campaign has written to Ken Livingstone expressing its dismay at the proposal which could undo efforts by the Mayor, Transport for London and organisations like London Cycling Campaign to reduce congestion and pollution in the capital.

Problems with registration
Registration will be costly, complex and bureaucratic. It will also be a cost barrier for those considering taking up cycling, especially those on low incomes. Simon Brammer LCC’s director said “There is no doubt that licensing would deter many occasional cyclists and those who are considering taking up cycling. In particular it would have an impact on those who may be unable to afford the cost of a licence. A better way to encourage safe and considerate cycling is cycle confidence training in line with National Standards.”

Also read this report, for a total contrast of ‘messages’ from TfL, this news story is from

London gets new ‘go cycling’ marketing campaign

The Mayor of London today launched Transport for London’s latest cycling campaign to get more Londoners on to two wheels. The summer marketing campaign, which will include TV, radio, poster and newspaper advertising, aims to build on the growing number of people in the Capital who agree that ‘You’re better off by bike’.

Since 2000, the number of cyclists on London’s major roads has increased by 72 per cent. With more than 500km of London Cycle Network, London is the fastest growing cycling city in Europe. Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said:

“Cycling in London is a huge success story with increasing numbers of people taking to two wheels every day.

“As we build up to this year’s Tour of Britain and the excitement grows about next year’s Tour de France, this summer is a perfect time to encourage even more people on to their bikes.”

Jenny Jones, the Mayor’s Green Transport Advisor, said: “More and more people are coming up with their own reasons for cycling.

“It can be a mix of health, pleasure or speed. We hope that this campaign will prompt a few more Londoners to make the switch to pedal power. The more cyclists there are, the less polluted and congested London becomes.”

The summer cycling campaign advertising will run on television and radio from today. Newspaper and poster advertising will run from 17th July. TfL has increased investment in cycling from £5.5m in 2000 to £24m this year.


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