I was doing one of those little domestic jobs today that require only about three brain cells, so the other two were bouncing all sorts of ideas between them just to pass the time.
Believe it or not I was thinking about the state of the UK economy, the three billion extra pounds that The Government is allegedly about to pour into Northern Rock, the old sayings about good money after bad and when in a hole stop digging etc. and I thought about the recent allocation of vast sums to develop cycling infrastructure in a few chosen towns and cities and, unless I am mistaken, also a scheme to promote cycle training across the UK. Then I had a really naughty thought. I thought hang on, isn’t all this just a bit enthusiastic on the part of The Government. Yes the plans for cycling are good and I don’t want to suggest otherwise but isn’t it all a bit suspicious? Obviously they will try to avoid any medium term plans that are other than good, with an election only two years away. But could it be that we are getting the sugar now and the pill will come later, regardless of which party is in charge?
A bit later I thought about Digital Dame’s comment following my last post and I agree with her that we are likely to see a lot more inexperienced and incompetent cyclists on the roads during the next few years if cycling grows in popularity as fast as some are expecting – and that will be in addition to the careless and arrogant ones who are there already.
So cycling training could be a very good thing but could it be the beginning of a whole new approach by government? Providing the sort of infrastructure that we cyclists would like to see throughout the country is going to cost a lot of money of which the recent allocation is only a drop in the ocean. The Government could argue that cyclists should contribute to that cost. What if it were proposed that we all pay an annual fee of, say, £12? Let’s call it the cyclist’s licence fee. Hang on though, could it be that someone in the corridors at Westminster is thinking that they can do better than that – if they are going to spend all this money on infrastructure for cyclists they really should be able to justify it by showing the rest of the population that cyclists are fully competent and willing to behave responsibly – something that the rest of the population has, apparently, not been well disposed to believe so far. Might they be thinking that when the national cycling training scheme is in place there is only one logical step left – a national cycle “driving test” and a compulsory one at that.