Want to understand UKIP? Look at their bike policy

Not beloved of UKIP

Not beloved of UKIP

Conservative Week continues. Having looked at the philosopher who represents the best of conservatism, we look at the party that represents the worst of it: UKIP. I argue that their policy on cycling is microcosm of their ugly worldview

Ummm…wouldn’t their policy on Europe be the key one?

Not really. It’s not the most salient issue for UKIP supporters by any stretch.

Ok but bikes certainly aren’t either

No but it’s a microcosm for their wider attitudes.

So what do they say about bikes?

Their 2010 manifesto had the following to say:

10.2 We believe that there needs to be a better balance of rights and responsibilities for pedal cyclists, with too much aggressive abuse of red lights, pedestrian crossings and a lack of basic safety and road courtesy.

10.6 UKIP would consult on the desirability of minimum third party liability insurance cover for cyclists – a simple annual flat rate registration ‘Cycledisc’, stuck to the bicycle frame, to cover damage to cars and others, which are currently unprotected. The Cycledisc should also carry clear identification details, which will help counter bicycle theft, and deter dangerous cyclist behaviour. We support provision of cycle parking at
reasonable charges.

10.7 UKIP believes that basic cycle and safety training should be made mandatory, and be funded in schools or via local authorities. UKIP supports the campaign work of national cycling organisations.

10.9 Local authorities should be given additional powers to enforce a ‘cyclists dismount’ or ‘no cycling’ regulation where there are safety concerns – such as on busy roundabouts, junctions or bus lanes, or where the road would be too narrowed by cycle lanes and cause
unacceptable delays to traffic

So they don’t like bikes?

Apparently not.

Indeed one UKIP candidate accused cyclists of “thieving from paying road users” and of being “by far the most undisciplined road users” who were deserving of “more police attention.” By contrast “cars are not a danger to other road users.”

So what does this tell us about UKIP?

I’ve already argued on this blog that the Conservative party is essentially about defending the interests of “our people” and that UKIP is essentially the Tories on steroids.  And cyclists are not UKIP’s people.

UKIP’s support is concentrated amongst older voters. By contrast, cyclists tend to be young.


UKIP’s to be hostility to cycling is founded on misapprehensions.

They worry it’s dangerous but this looks at it the wrong way. The evidence is that far from being dangerous – the benefits of the extra exercise dwarf the risk of accidents.

Nor are cyclists a particular menace to others. Between 2001 and 2009, cyclists caused just 18 deaths, while drivers were responsible for 434 3,495.

And the ‘road tax’ that cyclists supposedly avoid was abolished in 1937. Now roads are funded out of general taxation that cyclists pay just like everybody else.

In short, UKIP’s attacks on cyclists – like those on immigrants – represent the irrational anger and resentment of “their people” against everyone else.

18 thoughts on “Want to understand UKIP? Look at their bike policy

  1. I’m surprised there not ranting on the amount of foreign bikes that are coming into the UK.
    Just somthing else to make me sigh 😦

    • I expect if you pushed them on the issue they actually would lament the loss of a Britain where all cyclists rode a good honest Raleigh, before the Americans and the Italians ruined it all by producing very high quality bikes at reasonable prices…damn them.

      To me UKIP generally seem to give the impression of being stuck in some kind of imagined 1970’s heyday, where women and “minorities” knew their place, and where cycling was seen as just an odd thing to do unless you were a child.

      Hopefully when the economy picks up the current climate of fear will disperse and UKIP will go back to being taken no more seriously than the Monster Raving Loonies.

  2. I – like everyone else desperately trying to be cool & relevant – was completely against UKIP because of their “horrific” stance on immigration.
    But now I’ve seen this, it’s going to be quite tough to vote against them. This is what the ordinary man on the street has been after for ages and ages (actually, that could be said of their immigration stuff too). Finally, someone getting cyclists to take some responsibility.
    It’s just sad that it’s them and it;s only them that is standing up to arrogant RLJ cyclists. Viva UKIP! Viva!

      • Stella is a Moron (In case this isn’t clear). I want to have my bike and ride it. Down with cars! :)*

    • As an ordinary Man on the street, who passed his cycling proficiency back in the day, I find this comment ridiculous. I have both car and bicycle insurance too! As a commuter, the most dangerous moments are when car drivers forget they are in charge of a dangerous weapon and allow their emotions and distractions get in the way of PAYING ATTENTION and making the correct decisions. A bit like a UKIP voter at the polls then.
      When car drivers do start paying attention then maybe all the young children and older people might feel it is safe enough to get themselves around on a bicycle too. Until then you will only have the brave and foolhardy to judge.

    • And that sums up UKIP perfectly. Ordinary and deeply, painfully ignorant men in the street railing against things that are, at worst, mostly harmless (immigrants and cyclists), while totally failing to grasp the wider context of which those things are a part (an ever-more-globalised economy making life harder for most working people worldwide, and an unforgiving, cars-uber-alles street/town/transport planning culture which robs kids of their independence, sucks the life out of communities, treats pedestrians and cyclists with total contempt and generally makes people fat and miserable). You can only hope to address these problems by electing people that actually understand them – knee-jerk reactionaries like UKIP have nothing useful to offer.

      • Im a Cyclist, I don’t agree with what UKIP are saying about taxing us, but overall I agree with The Get out of Europe Policy that The Conservatives are unable to fully commit to as they don’t have The Balls basically.
        We do need to cut down radically on European Immigration as you would have to Blind and Deaf not to have noticed the difference in the last 15 years of how this Country has changed, and not for the better.
        And if you really love cycling then you will enjoy the Green space we have at present, imagine another 15 years of unrelenting Immigration there wont be any Green space left as it will all be built on to Build the New Houses, Hospitals and schools that will be needed to cope with it !

  3. I notice this involves quite a lot of new regulation, along with the attendant paperwork. I thought the Kippers were supposed to be small government libetarians and firmly against all this nanny state stuff?

  4. cyclists should have basic training and insurance to cover damage , should dismount where it is dangerous and obey the rules of the road ….. whats so bad about that? or do cyclists (im a cyclist by the way) think that everyone else is the problem and if they hit a pedestrian or damage vehicles or property that it doesnt matter ?

  5. anyone who gets into a car to go anywhere, or do anything, faces growing stress in most places. The cost of owning and operating a car/truck etc. The congestion that seems to be getting more constant. The need for parking during the trip. Tolls and fees along the way. Maintenance for the machine you drive. High insurance costs for automobiles, trucks etc. Every time they see a cyclist on the road what they re really seeing is less competition for road space, for parking. A reduction in the nice, hustle and poison gas with which they have to deal. One would think that motorists would applaud and encourage cycling just for the benefits to the motorists.

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