Cycle route calls rapped by councillor
CYCLISTS are more dangerous than cars, according to an outspoken district councillor.
Larry Abraham, member for Hartley and Hodsoll Street, pulled no punches when responding to calls from Sevenoaks' two-wheeled travellers for more cycle routes.
UNHAPPY: Lawrence Abraham
He said cyclists should tax and insure their vehicles – and keep off the road – if they wanted more facilities.
Mr Abraham, from Carmelite Way in Hartley, said: "They're more dangerous than any car I've ever seen. They should be paying road tax and have insurance."
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Opposing an appeal for more cycle paths and safer routes for children to schools, he said: "Where's this money coming from?"
Laura McGrillen, a transport planner for Kent County Council, reassured him children take cycling proficiency training and receive a certificate but Mr Abraham's safety concerns were mirrored by councillor Alison Cook.
She said: "I take my grandchildren for walks but there are huge problems when cyclists and walkers share the same paths.
"Unfortunately, a lot of cyclists, as soon as they set off, see themselves as king of the road. And a small child hit by a bicycle could have a nasty experience.
"Cyclists should be trained before they take to the road, especially adults who perhaps haven't got on a cycle since their teenage years.
"It's them, rather than the children, I want to see trained."
She added: "We don't often see cyclists on cycle routes but we do see them on the road. It's galling when they have cycle routes and don't use them.
"Maybe cyclists should pay some sort of contribution or be licensed in some way."
John Morrison of Sevenoaks Cycling Forum said: "We thought we'd knocked those clichés on the head and got beyond that.
"But there's still some hostility towards cyclists in the council from a minority and there seems to be a reluctance for some of them to inform themselves."
He added: "Sevenoaks is the only district in Kent where there is no cycling provision. It's not just a transport issue. It affects carbon reduction, air quality, youth policy and health."
Earlier, members of the environment select committee listened to presentations from Ms McGrillen and Tunbridge Wells councillor Tracy Moore about the benefits of promoting cycling.
Every £1 spent on promoting cycling saves nearly £3 in health benefits, it was claimed.
Mr Morrison welcomed councillors resolving to "take the initiative" in drawing up future cycling plans – though Mr Abraham proudly voted on his own to oppose the motion.