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Brian Paddick agrees with Moving Target
2.04.08 by Buffalo Bill

After reviewing the transport manifesto of Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London, and finding that he planned to license cycle couriers, and put this above all other cycling priorities, I wrote to the following letter to him:

From: bill at movingtargetzine.com
Sent: 11 March 2008
To: Brian Paddick
Subject: Transport manifesto

Dear Mr Paddick,

I write and edit a blog aimed at London bicycle messengers. I am currently reviewing the transport manifestos of the candidates for Mayor of London.

I read with interest your transport manifesto. I was pleased to see that cycling safety is mentioned, but fail to see how licensing cycle couriers will contribute to safer cycling. You may or may not be aware that, on average, 17 London cyclists are killed each year, the majority by Large Goods Vehicles (also known as Heavy Goods Vehicles or lorries). In the last 20 years, around 7 London bicycle messengers are known to have died whilst working have all been killed by lorries. In the light of these statistics, it is hard to see what contribution could be made to increasing the safety of cyclists in London by adding a level of regulation, which, furthermore, would be greater than that imposed on motorised couriers.

Here is his reply:

Dear Bill,

Thank you for this e-mail. I apologise for the delay in my reply.

In response to your question, lorries and motorbikes do have number plates already. I would also like cycle couriers have this level of regulation, to ensure that they act responsibly. I know from personal experience that this is not always the case.

I think a more important issue is the blatant disregard some HGV and bus drivers have for cyclists. We need to have more traffic police, and police on bicycles, to clamp down and make cycling in London safer.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch again if there is anything else I can help you with.

Yours Sincerely,
Brian Paddick
Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mayor of London

It’s nice to see that Mr Paddick has changed his mind, and put action on reducing the threat (which has been clearly established by proper research) from HGV/LGV/lorries to London cyclists above licensing bicycle messengers. I would like to see him change his manifesto, too, but I guess he is very busy at the moment.

Of course, I still totally disagree that couriers need to be licensed. When the London Bicycle Messenger Association was involved in the HGV/cyclist process with the Mayor’s office and Transport for London, the question of training came up. It was seen by the LBMA as an attempt to license couriers by the back door. Here is the official LBMA statement in response to the proposal:

Is it really appropriate for bicycle messengers to be singled out of the courier business for this type of licensing/regulation? Surely bicycle messengers should only be subject to the same regulation as the rest of the vehicle types within the business and within the framework of existing road legislation? What is being proposed is regulation beyond what pedal cyclists are subject to, and beyond what other couriers are subject to.

The point is that unless it can be shown that couriers are significantly more of a danger to themselves and the public (and I would want to see a decent piece research on this, not simply the perceptions of one man), than the average London cyclist, then they should be subject to the same regulations and rules as other cyclists, just as motorcycle and 4 wheeled couriers are subject to the same rules as other motorcyclists and 4 wheeled vehicles.

I have sent him an email to this effect.

  1. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/…

    perhaps this might enlighten you as to why he wants to license bicycle messengers. basically he’s a fuckwit.

    “A statement from Green Party candidate Sian Berry said: “Brian Paddick’s policies are a vague and symbolic overture to the taxi lobby, not concrete measures to actually improve conditions for road users.”“

    sian just got vote no. 2 from me.

    — sleepy    2 April 2008, 17:53    #
  2. If pedal bike couriers are licensed could the licensing somehow be through the businesses they work for? Thus providing legitimacy to their job and ending the fact that they get zero benefits as employees and zero benefits as self-employed.
    License = Employee.
    At least this way perhaps the mega-courier companies like the 2 big C’s would fight the licensing alongside their non-employees.

    — roxy    2 April 2008, 20:02    #
  3. Giving the Liberal Democraps column pixels is a blog faux pas. Or something like that – fkin yellow chumps.

    _targetbot    2 April 2008, 20:57    #
  4. @ Roxy: interesting concept, but experience of licensing in the US (Boston etc) hasn’t shown that there are any benefits to messengers from licensing.

    — Bill    3 April 2008, 11:23    #
  5. quite, licensing and legality with regards to pay are 2 very separate issues.

    his proposal with regards to messengers is based PURELY on wooing the LTDA. 2 more ways that he’s doing this:
    1. reversing Ken’s scheme were women and ethnic minorities were given money/benefits to do the knowledge. this scheme is what will be closed:


    2. banning pedicabs.

    if you check paddick’s page on transport:


    it’s quite clear that those poor downtrodden cabbies are a major factor in his decision making. i suspect that it’s an attempt to reverse the damage that being gay/soft on drugs will have on his chances[not my opinion but def a prob with large sections of the electorate].

    — sleepy    3 April 2008, 14:51    #
  6. Sleeps has got the nail on the head.

    — Bill    3 April 2008, 15:40    #
  7. hmmm, yes. I guess my thought was that if you can’t beat it, tie it up with things that companies with money don’t want. I.E. Instead of fighting licensing, fight for companies licensing their employees. That way the courier companies would be forced to actually get off their asses and fight for cyclists rights, because if they don’t their pocketbooks will hurt.
    Worst case scenario if it succeeds would be that messengers are licensed and have sick days and pensions. Best case if it fails is they’re not licensed and you haven’t lost anything and have managed to raise awareness of the shit treatment the couriers choose/are forced to work with.

    — roxy    3 April 2008, 16:11    #
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