Last week’s suggestion from a highly-paid police and crime commissioner that all cyclists should be forced to ride with number plates has been expanded upon by a Daily Mail columnist in today’s newspaper.
Simon Heffer wrote: "In the interests of public safety … don’t allow anyone on the road on a bike without wearing a high-visibility vest, on the back of which would be … a number."
This would be an identification of the rider, not the bicycle. Taken to its logical conclusion this would mean that motorists (and other road users, such as pedestrians and equestrians) would also be required to be individually numbered.
Heffer also suggested that cycle infrastructure improvements should be paid for by the sale of hi-vis vests:
"The cyclists want a government initiative to fund more cycle routes and better facilities. Well, let this be funded by registration fees paid when applying for your hi-viz vest."
The source of Heffer’s beef is clear: "There are more cyclists on the road today than ever. More than a million people have taken to bikes in the past five years. And the more numerous they become, the more essential it is to control them."
In his piece he manages to squeeze in a surprising number of the points on the "cyclist hate checklist."
"Dare I say it, there is a little bit of an arrogance about cyclists now. In this age of environmental and health zealotry, the fact that they don’t add to the world’s carbon footprint, they don’t use precious resources (apart from a bit of oil, for which they no doubt feel duly ashamed) and are personal crusaders against the obesity epidemic is supposed to make them just a bit morally superior to the rest of us."
Naturally, and totally on-message, he also savages Lycra. According to Heffer cyclists "go through the ritual of spraying on Lycra before mounting their bikes, it makes them feel a breed apart from everyone else in their joint missions to get from A to B while saving the world."