The UKIP candidate for Cambridgeshire ward East Chesterton, Peter Burkinshaw, has dubbed all cyclists freeloaders in an extraordinary rant on CamCycle.org.uk.
Calling on the representatives of each politcal party to share their views on Cambridge’s cycling population, its infrastructure for cycling and more, the survey is as yet to be completed by all, but that hasn’t stopped Burkinshaw wading in to a debate, which he admittedly has little experience dealing with.
When asked of prior cycling experience in the Cambridgeshire area, Burkinshaw declares he has ‘none’. When asked about cost to benefit ratios of various transport modes, Burkinshaw states on cycling paths: "You are asking for benefits paid for by other road users. I would prefer more car parks."
That is just the beginning, however in what quickly becomes an unbelievable succession of responses.
When asked about traffic policing and relative danger levels posed by each mode of tranpsort, Burkinshaw states: "Cyclists are by far the most undisciplined road users. More police attention to cyclists would be useful. Cars are not a danger to other road users, provided they in turn act sensibly. It should be borne in mind that motorists have to pass a driving test. Cyclists are not tested for competence or knowledge of road signs and traffic lights."
Having already suggested that cars aren’t a danger, Burkinshaw proceeds to go on a rant about road funding, apparently unaware that "road tax" doesn’t exist and that roads are paid for out of general taxation and not the all too common misconception that Vehicle Excise Duty funds highways.
On Cambridgeshire adopting a similar prioritisation of space to the proposed segregated cycling routes in London, he says: "This proposal amounts to theft from the people who pay to use roads and the benefit given to those who don’t."
It gets bizarre too, with Burkinshaw suggesting roads would simply disappear if it were only cyclists using them:
"Road space is required for motorised vehicles who pay for it. It shouldn’t be wasted on people who don’t. Just for your information, I walk to most places in Cambridge, but you should bear in mind that if everybody cycled, there would be no roads to ride on. What is "sustainable transport"? Is it using things that other people pay for?"
This appears to not be the first time Burkinshaw has had a pop at cyclists too, telling the Cambridge Cycling Campaign in 2009:
"Provision for cyclists is already adequate. Please remember that motorists are the people who pay to use the roads whereas cyclists are “freeloaders”. They are entitled to use the roads but not disproportionately.
"If everyone cycled, as you suggest, there would be no roads to ride on."
Worry not, however, it appears Cambridge’s largely pro-cycling population hasn’t taken Burkinshaw too seriously in prior elections to date, with his 2011 and 2012 campaigns earning him the lowest portion of the votes by far.
Read the entire interview here, which currently also includes responses to the same questions from Lib Dem candidate Ian Geoffrey.