Registration plates for cyclists being considered by UK Government

Cyclists could also need insurance under new laws and be forced to stick to speed limits

A cyclist in a bike lane in London
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cyclists in Britain could be forced to have registration plates as well as insurance in a dramatic shake up of road laws in the United Kingdom. 

The changes in policy would also see cyclists being forced by law to stick to the same speed limits as motorists.

As reported by the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), other changes that the UK Government are considering are cyclists potentially receiving fines and licence penalty points if they break speed limits or run red lights. 

These potential changes have arisen as the transport secretary Grant Shapps, proposed a Whitehall review of how cyclists who flout road laws and the highway code can be tracked down by the police.

Last week, Shapps initial plans were revealed in order to “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care."

On the plans to introduce speed limits for cyclists, Shapps said: “Somewhere where cyclists are actually not breaking the law is when they speed, and that cannot be right, so I absolutely propose extending speed limit restrictions to cyclists.” 

He added: “Particularly where you’ve got 20mph limits on increasing numbers of roads, cyclists can easily exceed those, so I want to make speed limits apply to cyclists. 

“That obviously does then lead you into the question of ‘well, how are you going to recognise the cyclist, do you need registration plates and insurance and that sort of thing’. So I’m proposing there should be a review of insurance and how you actually track cyclists who do break the laws [via identifiable markings].”

It’s believed that the policy changes are being considered due to the UK cycling boom of recent years and that the government is keen to implement any new rules in 20mph zones in particular. 

Despite the fact that Mr Shapps may not even still be in place when changes are made, ministers are still keen to set up a cycling review ahead of the Conservative party electing a new prime minister on 5 September. 

Part of the review would see mandatory insurance for cyclists also being considered. 

If 'reckless cyclists' seriously injure or even kill pedestrians, this would provide the opportunity for compensation for any victims to be secured. 

Shapps said: “I don’t want to stop people from getting on their bikes. It’s a fantastic way to travel, we’ve seen a big explosion of cycling during Covid and since, I think it has lots of health benefits.

“But I see no reason why cyclists should break the road laws, why they should speed, why they should bust red lights and be able to get away with it.”

Last week Shapps plans to introduce a new ‘death by dangerous cycling’ law were branded as ‘frustrating in isolation’ by a cycling charity. 

Matt Mallinder, the director of Cycling UK said that while the charity is not opposed to a new law for dangerous cycling, it should be accompanied by a review of “ineffective” driving offences. 

Mallinder said: “It’s frustrating to see a new offence for death by dangerous cycling added to the statute book in isolation when it is merely mirroring ineffective driving offences."

He added: “Cycling UK is not opposed to an update of the law regarding cycling offences, but if the government is to proceed with this new law, then it must finally make good on its commitment of 2014 to review all road traffic offences and sentencing - including the new cycling offence. 

“To do less is to ignore the heartache and anguish families of all those thousands – pedestrians, cyclists and other motorists – who see loved ones killed on our roads, and then witness the injustice of a failed legal system which allows dangerous drivers continued access to our roads.”

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