Bikes should be electronically tagged, according to Lord Winston

The Labour peer calls for tags on bikes after an incident with an aggressive rider

Lord Winston has called for electronic tags on bikes (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lord Winston has called for bikes to be electronically tagged after he was involved in an incident with an aggressive cyclist.

The Labour peer said he was brushed by a cyclist who then “repeatedly kicked him” when he caught up with her.

Lord Robert Winston, a professor, doctor and TV presenter, has previously called for cyclists be licensed and has now suggested electronic tags on bikes could reduce anti-social riding.

The government recently threw out the idea enforcing cyclist registration due to the cost and complexity, but Lord Winston was one of a number of peers trying to revive the suggestion .

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Speaking on ITV’s This Morning programme, Lord Winston said: “It’s not that I am against cyclists. I am not at all against cyclists, but I am against people who cross red lights, who go up one way streets the wrong way, who ride on the pavement and who ride without lights at night, particularly with people who have poor visibility or older people who have frequently been hit or damaged.”

He added: “I don’t think it would be unworkable, the initial answers I got from the government were not satisfactory but I think the overwhelming messages that are coming through now is that it would be workable.

“For example, with an electronic tag on a bicycle, in time we would be able to detect all motor traffic through similar methods, we won’t use number plates eventually.”

Last month, the lords debated the idea of registration and licensing for cyclist to cut down on what one called “hoodlums in Lycra.”

The government recently urged the public to share their thoughts on road safety.

In it’s response, the government said the registration and licensing of cyclists was raised by some respondents, adding that the case for cycling licences is not as strong as for drivers because crashes are far less likely to cause serious injury to other road users.

The government added it has no plans to introduce a registration and licensing system because the “costs and complexities would significantly outweigh the benefits.”

During his TV appearance, Lord Winston also recounted a recent incident involving a cyclist.

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He said: “I was hit by a bicycle that hit my computer bag and then two minutes later this girl brushed past me.

“Because she couldn’t go as fast as the male, by that time there were people on the pavement, I managed to get in front of her and stop her.

“She was extremely aggressive and very unpleasant.

“She snatched my phone, tried to trash it and I was rescued by two passers-by who offered to act as witnesses to the police.

“She kicked me repeatedly.”

Lord Winston said he was contacted by the police who wanted him to report the incident, but said he didn’t because he didn’t have any way of identifying her.

He added: “Although I would probably recognise her again, the chances of her being picked up by a camera are so remote, I didn’t bother.

“There is massive aggression from some cyclists, which is completely unacceptable because they break the law.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.