A digital method to deal with illegal cyclists and motorists


Although the weather is extremely warm for autumn in London, it’s still getting dark earlier during the day and I’m now cycling home from work after the sun has set. I cannot believe how many cyclists don’t have lights on their bikes, and for some reason it really irritates me.

As a rough guess I thought about a quarter of all cyclists between the City of London and my home in North West London don’t have any lights. Tonight I counted them (there isn’t a lot more to do when cycling 13 miles):

  • 9 cyclists without lights from a total of 21 bikes
  • That’s over 40% of the cyclists I saw this evening didn’t have lights on when it was dark.

Unrelated (well it will be related later on) Mrs H and I hardly watch any television (it goes part way to explain how we have four children…) yet one of our favourite programmes is Road Wars, which follows a team of police officers who drive top end sports cars around at high speed pulling over offenders. And one of the most common offences is no insurance.

One in fifteen cars in the UK are uninsured. £30 of every premium goes towards a central organisation called MIB to cover drivers who can’t claim from an uninsured third party.

Back to my bicycle.

I started thinking that the Police should team up with a cycle retailer and stand at pretty much any junction in the City of London pulling over any cyclists without lights. Instead of fining the cyclists, they should make them pay £30 for a set of lights. That’s got to be better than an on the spot fine, because the outcome is better for the Police (less accidents) and the cyclist (less accidents!).

I have a similar solution for drivers with no car insurance. The Police should carry a laptop or a tablet computer and when they pull over an insured driver, instead of the £5,000 fine, penalty points and seizing the vehicle, they should offer an option for the driver to buy the insurance on the spot. Just hand over the laptop with a comparison engine and watch the driver buy a policy.

One of the tactics that uninsured drivers use is to buy insurance and cancel the policy or direct debit after the first month, so one of the terms of this on-the-spot-insurance-cover should be to pay for a full year.

For any other complex social problems, send me an email just before I get on the bike in the evening!

2 thoughts on “A digital method to deal with illegal cyclists and motorists

  1. Really like your idea for the cyclists. however, what will the police do about the 4 cyclists who went acorss the red lights at Caledonian road today. On another note, the issue relating to insrance wont work as the person has 14 days to cancel, unless there is a specifc policy that lasts 1 year, with no cancellation, but then how many people have £600 to pay as a one off.keep up the good work.

  2. I will figure out the 4 cyclists issue later. I’ve always thought about raising super sharp nails by red lights, so maybe there’s an opportunity for Bluetooth in there somewhere!For the 14 day cancellation – you’re right it needs to be non refundable. My point is that rather than fining drivers, solve the initial problem (no insurance or lights) immediately, on the roadside. The £600 one off fee is not our issue – if drivers don’t have the money for insurance, they shouldn’t be on the road. And a sweeping statement – I think most cyclists in the City can afford £30 for a set of lights. They’d certainly lose more by getting knocked off their bike and spending a few weeks in hospital.

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