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:
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.
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.