Cyclists may need number plates and insurance as UK tries to overhaul road laws

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Cyclists should respect speed limits which currently only apply to motorists

Representative image (iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

Number plates and insurance could be made compulsory for bikes as the government is revising road laws amid a UK cycling boom.

If the proposed rules are introduced, cyclists will have to obey speed limits that currently only apply to motorists.

As new cycle lanes are introduced with the growing popularity of pedal vehicles due to their health and environmental benefits, cyclists have been urged to observe speed limits.

An overhaul of the laws raises the possibility that cyclists could face penalty points or fines for speeding or crossing red lights, Mail online said.

Government officials say number plates or some form of identifiable marking may be needed to aid enforcement, while compulsory insurance for bicycles would help pedestrians get compensation for injuries caused by reckless cycling. .

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is believed to have called for legislation that would deal with ‘death by unsafe cycling’.

The proposal actually aims to bring about greater parity between cyclists and motorists. Under current laws, a cyclist can get away with a maximum prison sentence of two years, while a motorist can be sentenced to life.

Insisting that the government did not want to discourage cycling, which “is a fantastic way to travel”, Shapps said, “I absolutely suggest extending speed restrictions to cyclists”.

“I see no reason for cyclists to break traffic laws and get away with it,” he wrote in Daily mail.

“A selfish minority of cyclists seem to believe they are somehow immune to red lights,” he said, reminding cyclists that traffic lights were there to regulate all traffic.

The Parliamentary Transport Safety Advisory Council found that faulty bicycles accounted for 1% of crashes resulting in pedestrian fatalities, compared to 65% of those fatal crashes where a car driver was at fault.

It said in its report that seven road deaths in 2019 were attributed to cyclists, compared to 721 deaths by motorists.

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