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Police Are Considering Number Plates for Bicycles In Berlin

Amid an increasing number of accidents and complaints about the aggressive behaviour of cyclists in Berlin, the city’s police are in favour of making it compulsory for bicycles to be fitted with number plates. With similar behaviour seen in British cities every day, should the UK consider mandatory registration numbers for cycles?

Should Bicycles Have Number Plates?

Visit any city and you’ll see cyclists ignoring red lights, riding the wrong way on one-way streets, hurtling across pavements, and taking out pedestrians. Anyone who dares to complain to these reckless riders will most likely receive a tirade of abuse. Currently, there’s no way of tracking down cyclists who commit offences and leave the scene.

In an interview with the Berliner Morgenpost, Berlin’s chief of police, Barbara Slowik, said that bicycles should be required to have number plates. She said that in the event of complaints, serious violations and, above all, incidents with serious consequences, it is an important aspect to be able to identify the cyclist.

In Berlin, more than 50% of accidents involving bicycles are caused by the cyclists themselves. The most common reason for cycling accidents is riders using the wrong lane.

Slowik says that, for all road users, it is always about the danger to the more vulnerable people. Car drivers need to be aware of bikes and bike riders should be cautious around pedestrians. “And you have to think about how you can deal with it. In view of the complaints that pedestrians send us, a labelling requirement for cyclists would at least be worth considering.” she said.

Not Everyone is in Favour of the Proposal

Of course, most cyclists do ride responsibly and it is a small minority that give them a bad name. Often, the worst offenders are cycle couriers who are always in a hurry to pick up the next job.

In opposition to the proposal for bicycle number plates are cycling associations who say the move would be extremely negative. Cycling is the greenest form of transport and, as governments encourage more people to cycle, registration numbers could be counterproductive. They would prefer to see more education for new cyclists.

UK Motorists are in Favour of Number Plates for Bikes

The debate over registration numbers for bicycles in the UK has been going on for several years. Halford’s 2017 Sharing the Road report revealed that 59% of UK motorists backed the introduction of number plates for cycles to encourage more responsible riding. A massive 86% of the road users questioned wanted to see tougher penalties for cyclists.

With the increasing use of CCTV, ANPR cameras and dash cams, bicycle number plates could identify offenders and enable the police to track down and prosecute them.

Personalised Number Plates for Bikes

If it were to be made compulsory for bicycles to be registered and to display number plates, it may be possible to buy a personalised plate for your bike to add a unique touch. Currently, you can put private number plates on cars, vans, lorries, buses and motorcycles. CarReg has been supplying private and personalised number plates for over 30 years.