Transport secretary Grant Shapps wants to introduce number plates for all cyclists (Photo: Getty)
Grant Shapps is considering introducing a new road law which means cyclists would have to follow 20mph speed limits and have number plates.
The transport secretary has promised to introduce a “death by dangerous cycling” law so that cyclists who kill other people are treated the same as motorists.
The main way to do this would be to add number plates to bicycles so they could be tracked.
The transport secretary told The Daily Mail: “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.
“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.’”
He said he was proposing a review of insurance and how you track cyclists who break the laws.
At the moment, the Highway Code and Road Traffic Act speeding limits only apply to motorists. Local authorities can currently push speed limits onto cyclists, but it isn’t common.
The Department for Transport did not want to comment on Shapps’ claims when asked by the PA news agency, but officials did confirm to the Mail that these proposals would mean cyclists have to have number plates.
Shapps said he didn’t want these measures to discourage anyone from cycling, but added: “I see no reason why cyclists should break the road laws.”
If he does move ahead with a death by dangerous cycling law, it will end the legal loophole which means cyclists who kill pedestrians can only be sentenced to two years in jail.
Shapps suggested the proposal could be added to the Transport Bill set to go to Parliament in the autumn.
It comes as ministers grapple to make a mark before an inevitable reshuffle in government when Boris Johnson’s replacement is appointed in September.
Shapps did put himself in the running to be the next prime minister after Johnson announced his resignation, but he dropped out to back Rishi Sunak after just a week.
As the race to be the next PM continues, ministers have been dubbed a “zombie government” by MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis for failing to manage the cost of living crisis.
And it seems not many people are impressed with Shapps’ idea – especially as inflation is now at 10.1%, energy bills are set to soar again in October, the NHS is on its knees and a drought has been declared across the country.
Despite unveiling this proposal about cyclists, Shapps has actually refused to wade into the ongoing dispute between rail employers and employees which is causing nationwide strikes – despite calls for him to join talks.
something very *august* about that speeding cyclists story from gov this morning
no way for cyclists to tell if they’re speeding…no way to police it either.
Proper red-meat-intended-to-wind-up the masses story.
— Ava-Santina (@AvaSantina) August 17, 2022
I’m no expert but on the day of double-digit inflation the likes of which a generation have never seen, is it wise that your priority seems to be calling workers lazy and suggesting they put licence plates on bicycles?
— Matt Chorley (@MattChorley) August 17, 2022
Will cyclists actually be made to get insurance and fit number plates? No. Is it a sign of a floundering government when even their distration tactics are unoriginal? Yes. Where is the creative thinking?
— Ed McConnell (@EdJMcConnell) August 17, 2022
This is more about imposing red tape than going through red lights.
The Conservative Party is on the wrong road by pandering to the anti-cyclist brigade.
may need number plates and insurance under plans for new road laws https://t.co/8Gesha5GSJ
— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) August 17, 2022
This is incredibly alarming. It’s something almost no governments have tried, and shows what happens when ministers can freelance amid a zombie government. I’m confident it will never happen, but for Grant Shapps to even raise it is hugely damaging. https://t.co/tBAIaezvtb
— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) August 16, 2022
The front page of today's Daily Mail is about the possibility of cyclists needing number plates. https://t.co/7YsSNWw5VD
— James Oh Brien (@mrjamesob) August 17, 2022
Oh God, here we go again. If your government is floundering and you need a headline, launch another attack on that deadly threat to civilisation - cyclists. pic.twitter.com/zddkp4tJRT
— George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) August 17, 2022
On the one hand, number plates for cyclists is bonkers. On the other, anything that pisses off cyclists is funny and therefore somewhat worthy
— Calgie (@christiancalgie) August 16, 2022
Oh, you can't afford to run a car…
You're having to use a bicycle…
WE NEED NUMBER PLATES AND INSURANCE FOR CYCLISTS! #r4today
— Sanj (@jhumus) August 17, 2022
— Ivan Doherty 🇾🇪 🇺🇦 #FBPE #MUFC (@prettyinpink4u) August 17, 2022
There's just absolutely no way cyclists are going to accept number plates. This is just yet another pernicious pro-car move by an increasingly right-wing Tory government pandering to anti-cyclist voices. https://t.co/79puvp4sjW
— Robin Whitlock 🇪🇺🇺🇦 (@RobinWhitlock66) August 17, 2022
The thing that I really can’t stomach about Conservatives suggesting cyclist number plates:
UK has £2.3bn cycling industry, employing thousands. Becoming the only country with bike registration would damage it beyond repair.
Pointless red tape strangling the economy you say? 2/3
— John Stevenson (@johnstevenson_x) August 16, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.