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Government make U-turn on plans for cyclists needing number plate

Tom Fenton

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| Last updated 

Government make U-turn on plans for cyclists needing number plate

Plans that would have forced road cyclists to get licence plates and even insurance have been shelved by the UK government following a wave of backlash earlier this month.

After first floating the idea last week, Conservative transport secretary Grant Shapps seemed to walk back those comments on LBC Radio.

According to Shapps, there are now 'no plans' to introduce such measures which would require all cyclists on the roads to have a licence plate - in the same way a car owner would need one.

Previously, he wrote: "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."


"I don’t want to stop people from getting on their bike, it’s a fantastic way to travel, and we’ve seen a big explosion of cycling during Covid and since.

"But I see no reason why cyclists should break the road laws and be able to get away with it."

While standing firm on the issue of cyclist speed limits, he has seemingly assured the Department for Transport that licence plates are a none starter - for the time being at least.

Writing in The House magazine, Selaine Saxbee, the Tory MP for North Devon who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking, revealed: "The upside of the confusion created by the comments from the Transport Secretary is we appear to have some certainty now that number plates will not be getting onto our bikes any time soon!"

Saxbee added: "From a policy perspective I have been assured by the Department of Transport, as the Transport Secretary has reiterated to the press, that he has no plans to introduce number plates for bicycles or compulsory insurance."

Cyclists who kill pedestrians are rarely convicted of a serious offence. Credit: Martin Philpott/Alamy
Cyclists who kill pedestrians are rarely convicted of a serious offence. Credit: Martin Philpott/Alamy

While she acknowledged that all cyclists should follow the laws of the land, the MP questioned why such a measure was even being considered by the government.

"It is very hard to understand why on earth anyone would even need a conversation about such matters," she added.

One of the main justifications for the proposed number plane law is that it's part of a wider crackdown on cyclists who seriously injure, or even kill, pedestrians. Under current UK law, riders who directly cause the death of a pedestrian can only be jailed for a maximum of two years.

A new law tackling that issue, backed by Shapps himself, is set to be presented to Parliament this autumn. As part of the upcoming Transport Bill, it would see individuals prosecuted for 'causing death by dangerous cycling'.

Writing in the Mail, Shapps stated that grieving relatives of those killed in cycling accidents have 'waited too long for this straightforward measure'.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: UK News, Travel, Politics

Tom Fenton
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