Licence to cycle

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Having just read Malcolm Parkin’s letter (18 April) and having cycled in Edinburgh for the past 35 years and had several close encounters with vehicles, I can also report that I have had just as many encounters with cyclists on pavements and jumping lights as a pedestrian.

I think it is time to put us 
cyclists on the same footing as motorists. A cyclist has no obligation to know the Highway Code in the way a fully qualified (or even a provisional) licence holder does.

They hold no insurance and have no measure of their competence to be on the highway.

If we had a “cyclist licence” and insurance it would make collisions with cars much easier to deal with for us cyclists, because we can then get our insurance company to fight our case with the motorist, whose insurance company will automatically be in favour of their client.

If cyclists possessed a licence they would also have a greater degree of legitimacy on the road.

I was taught to cycle at primary school. We were drilled to stop at lights and crossings. These basics do not seem to be taught now. These days it appears de rigueur to jump on to pavements to gain an advantage and jump lights if you can.

If a car user does this a camera can quickly enforce justice.

The highway codes makes many provisions for pedestrians and cyclists, but it appears modern cyclists are on their own one-way street with blinkers on, shouting at cars and lorries when they transgress against them, but have the attitude that the rules of the road only apply selectively as the situation suits them.

In my experience, most incidents are caused by motorists not taking enough care and attention, and cyclists are always vulnerable. But both parties must be equally culpable.

Any motorist in an incident not having the necessary qualification or paperwork can expect serious repercussions as a result.

Hamish Tulloch

Stewart Terrace


Why do you publish and highlight such half-baked nonsense as Mr Parkin’s letter on “peddling myths”?

The principle of liability does not remove the defence that the cyclist was behaving irresponsibly; it more than helps enforce the idea that the motorist should be paying more attention and taking care. Indeed, this duty of care cascades down: a cyclist would be required to pay equal attention to pedestrian traffic and has similar liability.

The “road tax” argument is a red herring – low carbon cars pay no such tax and cycling has even lower carbon profile.

(Dr) Michael Gray

Eastfield Road


The problems between cyclists and drivers boil down to bad manners, and when you’re on the receiving end of these it’s hard to respond politely. I am now too scared to cycle in town.

Maureen Black

Inverleith Row