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Cyclists have had an easy ride for far too long

Westminster cyclist

At last. The Government has declared war on Lycra louts. It could introduce a new offence of death by dangerous cycling, following concerns there is no suitable legislation to bring them to heel.

Cyclists are a rather sanctimonious breed; they like to think they are clean, green and relieve congestion on the roads while keeping themselves fit. And, worse still, many of them want to convert you to their two-wheel cause. They remind one of those zealous ex-smokers who have seen the light and want you to renounce your foolish ways.

And then there is the persistent minority who ignore the Highway Code. For too long bicyclists have got away with flouting red lights, weaving in and out of traffic lanes, cutting in front of vehicles and cycling on pavements. More needs to be done for their own good, even if it's a spoke in their wheels.

For a start, they should be ruthlessly fined on the spot. Rather than waiting for hapless motorists to overrun the time on their parking meters, traffic wardens should be encouraged to get on their own bikes and give chase to the miscreants. And why can't bicyclists pay insurance like car drivers and motorcyclists? They should also have points docked from their licence for careless bicycling. I have lost count of the times I have nearly collided with a cyclist in the gloaming because they think it is their God-given right to drive without lights.

We must stop caving in to the bicycling lobby. The last straw for me was when Kensington and Chelsea council permitted bicyclists to ignore one-way street signs. Why?

Do not be misled by the propaganda. Bicycling is as hazardous as the man or woman behind the wheel. I know. The last time I rode a bicycle I collided with a traffic light.

MP Andrea Leadsom has introduced a Private Members' Bill following the death of Rhiannon Bennett, aged 17, who was killed by a speeding cyclist in 2007. The cyclist was fined £2,200 after prosecutors decided dangerous cycling was the only appropriate charge (rather than causing death by dangerous cycling, which is what the new Bill would seek to implement).

Cycling groups argue against the Bill because deaths are so rare, they say. According to figures from the Department of Transport from 2009, no pedestrians were killed in Britain by cyclists but 426 died in collision with motor vehicles. But deaths on the road due to drunken driving are not that common either (in 2007, of 2,946 people killed on UK roads, only 16%, or 460, came as a result of drink-driving) but it doesn't stop government implementing draconian laws for motor vehicles.

Bicyclists have had an easy ride for far too long. It's time they got off their high saddles and joined the crawling human race.

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