Cycling and motor-cycling in a classical liberal modern nation

David Davis

The Devil articulates, in his usual inimitable style, thoughts about two-wheeled transport, and the burdens of assumed guilt placed upon “motor-ists” in accidents involving cars and motorbikes/bicycles.

I would go further.

Bikers are in general reasonably competent motorists. I have not often met madmen, although one nearly did collide head-on with me on Murder Mile (the A570) last week.

But…it ought to be mandatory for cyclists to carry insurance, with huge, astonishing fines and jail for not so doing. Plus crushing of their bike. And their bollocks.

I’d set the tariff at about £466,000 p.a. for “third-party-only”. And wannabe-cyclists would have to be internally-RFID-chipped. they won’t mind: they are all Statists anyway.


  1. But…it ought to be mandatory for cyclists to carry insurance, with huge, astonishing fines and jail for not so doing. Plus crushing of their bike. And their bollocks.

    Yay, liberty.

    The Devil’s barely coherent, hate filled rant starts at a low ebb with the “some cunt” part and descends into regions excretial from there on in. To say I’m appalled at this “turn the state on people I don’t like” attitude from supposed libertarians doesn’t really cover my sense of abject despair.

    I wish the fucking “libertarian” blogosphere, and I use those quotes deliberately, would get its head around the idea that liberty is not synonymous with sounding off like a half-cut Daily Mail bore in the snug, demanding the state’s attention be turned away from themself and onto somebody else they don’t like. Maybe Old Holborn will chime in with one of his thuggish declarations of violent intent against fat people on council estates, before declaring he’s in hiding because MOSSAD are trying to kill him.

    You know, I do my best to try and join in in the commenty sections of blogs with useful discussion of what we might try to achieve and how we might try to achieve it. It might not be much, but it’s something. I’m doing my best in my spare time to piece together a useful history of western liberal thought and the rise of anglosocialism, relating to various religious and secular denominations, with the hope of writing something that may be of use to other libertarians. Then I look on the internet and what do I see? “Stamp on cyclists’ bollocks” and “motorcyclists are cockwads”. Not exactly fucking Hayek is it?

    Divide and rule. We are divided, and ruled. Yay.

  2. I’m struggling with this one. If cyclists had to buy mandatory motor insurance would they get free motors for their motorless bikes? 😉

    Seriously, I am stuck. On the one hand I’ve had a two wheeled twat not obeying the rules or watching the road hit my car and do about a grand of damage. Since I was stationary at lights the shite couldn’t blame me, but I wasn’t surprised when the mobile number he gave me so he could sort out the costs stopped fucking working within 24 hours. I can only hope the bastard’s gone under the wheels of an artic since. On that occasion I really felt that he should have had the same compulsory insurance I’d been shelling out for. Since moving to Melbourne, where cycling is unfathomably popular, I’ve heard of several incidents of cyclists skittling pedestrians, often through ignoring traffic lights or not using provided cycle lanes, and again thought that they should be insured.

    On the other hand if you did make cycling insurance compulsory how would you enforce and police it? Here it would probably mean yet another fucking licence and rego stickers being issued by Vicroads, but where to put the stickers on the bikes. And without bikes being individually registered a sticker would be tempting to steal unless made with glue that’s almost impossible to get off intact. In turn that’s a pain in the arse when you have to change it. Even without those problems it would rely on cops having nothing better to do than look at rego stickers on bikes, and like the UK the cops are too busy manning speed traps and shooting children. The only thing that I can think of is a one off and fairly hefty levy charged when buying a bicycle which goes to some sort of state run insurance slush fund (which is pretty much how 3rd party injury insurance is for motor vehicles here, except that’s renewed annually). But then that might make the bike shop up the road go bust, and it’s hardly his fault that some of his customers are twats.

    No easy solution I’m afraid, and as imperfect as it is I think we have to stick with the status quo.

  3. To Ian B:

    I do fundamentally agree about the rather higher-than-usual use of vindictive-invective, inside parts of the libertarian blogosphere. That’s why I don’t allow it (except in comments, which is unavoidable since I want them to be un-moderated) in this blog.

    However, since “The Road” is a dangerous place, always has been and will be, and the current Enemy-Class-Gramsco-FabiaNazi-thought-hegemony demonises ordinary drivers of the safest sort of mass road transport, such as “cars”, you must understand the frustration we feel.

    if I was to, say, hit accidentally, a 35mph-spandex-suited grimacing specimen of “aggressopithecus saurocyclodon”, on his 3-gram bike, on the A5109, because he was occupying too much of my side of a blind bend, and in avoiding a Belgian 44-tonner coming the other way I knocked him off, I would be liable automatically. And _heeee_ has to carry _NO_ insurance. Whatever.

    Why then would I get run off the road by the Plod, and possibly jailed, and certainly ruined financially and professionally, for having no insurance?

    Sorry, but for now, cyclists are more equal than others.

  4. I have to say, I thought at first the post above was intended ironically, as a joke. I’m not so sure now.

    That bikes and cars should be treated equally I’d agree with, that this means they should both be forced by the state to buy insurance I’m not so sure I like.

    If you cause an accident, you’re liable for the costs. If you don’t have the money to pay, and you don’t have the insurance, I’d allow that you shouldn’t be able to declare bankruptcy for such an easily preventable failure and should go to jail. And if you want to defend yourself against idiots having accidents with you and then being unable to pay, you ought to be able to insure yourself against that yourself. If you choose.

    The basis of all forms of insurance is that those who don’t have any accidents pay for those who do. That seems to me the sort of arrangement you ought to have a choice about entering. The money all comes from same place, ultimately.

  5. If you cause an accident, you’re liable for the costs.

    Is this objectively the best assumption? One could also argue that any person who chooses to drive a car is choosing to engage in an activity with inherent risks, such as collisions with other vehicles, as well as due to road conditions, weather, or cows reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. From that perspective, it would be simple for drivers of cars to insure themselves against such incidents, should they freely choose to.

    That isn’t the correct perspective necessarily, but it’s another possible one. It depends on an assumption regarding what is morally correct, particularly that blame always has to be assigned.

    I will say to be honest that one thing that bothers me about the very economically-led approach to libertarianism, such as Rothbard’s anarcho-capitalism, is that it seems certain to lead to an intensely litigous society, sort of the modern USA but an hundedfold, in which people talk of the family lawyer in the same way as the family doctor, or the family dog. I am not convinced that this is entirely desirable. Besides all else, there is a widespread, apparently correct, belief that there is a very great difference in one’s chance of success in a case dependent on whether you have a “good lawyer”, which leads us to the inevitable conclusion that the courts aren’t so much about truth and justice as tactics. Ergo, it may not be wise to rely on courts any more than one has to.

    It may be wiser instead to adopt a perspective that life is a highly risky business, and that much of the risk comes from interactions with other human beings. Too much lawyering-up demonstrably ends with the courts clogged with vexatious and facile cases (I slipped on some ice because my neighbour didn’t clear his path when I went to borrow his lawnmower) which a more reasonable person would say, it was an accident, get over it.

    It may be better for people to insure themselves, than to require people to insure against harming others.

  6. The litigiousness of the modern Anglosphere has not come from Rothbardian anarchocapitalism, for we have not had any – even under Thatcher!

    What I was really objecting to is the tacit socialist-state-sponsoring and quasi-political support given to one interest-group (cyclists of various sorts, some openly aggressive in behaviour and “dress”) which therefore pays nothing towards its legal and access privileges, over another group, which is demonised while having to pay up.

  7. I didn’t say it had come from that, I was saying that it worries me that anarcho-capitalism seems to suggest a swerve in that direction, with all human existence moderated through the courts. I’m not sure I want to live like that. What causes endless vexatious litigation is a mixture of lack of restraint (what GK Chesterton called an “anarchy of the mind”) and the fact that courts can often be used as a bullying tactic, e.g. silly complaints by companies attempting to hamstring competitors. IP rights are a particular minefield in that regard.

    On the second point you make, I just don’t think joining in the coporatist bunfight is particularly helpful. Yes, drivers are demonised, but so are many groups, and cyclists are given state support, but so are many groups. But y’know, I used to ride a bike in my younger days, not because I was a radical socialsit car hater, but because it was cheap and I was full of youthful vim. There’s nothing inherently wrong with bicycles.

    The deeper problem is that roads are free, from that anarcho-capitalist point of view. They are thus oversubscribed and payments for them forcibly extracted by threat and deceit, which inevitably lead to vicimisation and serfdom. On the other hand, the idea of ways of travel being open to all is as old as mankind; and while I can see the benefit of toll roads I also think there is some kind of innate human right to travel the byways of our green and pleasant land, and the private property (over which farmer Giles has absolute rights) starts the other side of the hedge. There is no Meacheresque “right to roam” but there is some kind of right to get from Kettering to Corby. Indeed, invoking Chesterton again, he raised a rightful outrage at the vagrancy laws which made it illegal to be destitute, saying a poor man has no right in England to sleep on the verge. This is where libertarianism comes up against tradition, and becomes a little difficult to square the circle.

    What am I rambling about? I guess I imagine a libertarian England will still have the public King’s Highway, and thus it will always be crowded and full of people who hate each other. It just hopefully wouldn’t have an interfering government expressing preferences for one such group over another. Not perfect, but then we shouldn’t seek perfection. That’s what the utopian socialists do.

  8. Uh huh, yeah, libertarian up to a point, e.g. when someone gets on your tits and then you spit your dummy.

    You don’t like having to carry mandatory insurance, tough shit. That doesn’t seem like a good reason to force it on everyone else.

    And as for the phrase “Agressive in dress”, your prejudice is showing. Grow the fuck up.

    • Then why all the black-and-tan-spandex, the t-shirts with writing on them, the swimmers’ eye-goggles, the grimacing expressions, the silly plastic perforated hats, and the need to cycle in the middle of a car-lane?

  9. Actually, the constant Tory moaning about the “Compensation Culture” shows that restitutive paradigms are oncreasingly popular over the State’s “punitive” culture.

    As for the guy who’s declaring he’s in hiding because MOSSAD are trying to kill him: Just tell him that (a) The Mossad already knows where he is; and (b) if they really wanted to kill him, he’s already dead.

    And don’t ask me how I know this, OK?


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