Motoring Lawyer Says Cyclists Should Have Registration Numbers Or Number Plates
The lawyers claim comes after a large increase in the number of offences by so-called lycra louts who regularly ignore road signs, go through red lights and terrorise pedestrians.
Over the last four years, the number of cyclists fined by the police has more than doubled. Official figures show that in 2016, 2,137 riders were given tickets for flouting the rules of the road, while in 2020 the number of cyclists fined was 4,784, an increase of 124%. However, 98% of the fines for cyclists over the last five years were issued in London.
Road traffic lawyer Nick Freeman believes those figures barely scratch the surface of the problem. He has begun a campaign for cyclists to display a registration number on their jacket or helmet.
Mr Freeman said, “Thousands and thousands of them go through red lights every day. They cycle with impunity unless the rough hand of the law grabs hold of them.”
For that reason, he’s calling for people to sign a petition demanding for cyclists to show a number on their helmet or high-vis jacket, so that when they commit offences, such as ignoring red traffic lights, they can be easily identified and traced.
In July, a cyclist was given a two-year jail sentence for causing fatal injuries to a pedestrian. Ermir Loka rode through a red light in Tower Hamlets, London, and hit a 72-year-old pensioner who later died from his injuries. Although the incident was caught on CCTV, Loka was only identified after handing himself into the Police.
Mr Freeman’s sentiments were echoed by Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers who says that cyclist who break the law are a danger to themselves and others. He said, “It should be made compulsory that cyclists wear helmets, and the helmets should have to show their registration number on the back. At the moment, they are unlucky if they get caught.”
Cycling Group Says Number Plates for Bikes Wouldn’t Work
The campaigns manager for Cycling UK, Keir Gallagher, rejected the calls for cyclists to display registration numbers. He said, “Introducing number plates for cycles wouldn’t just be unworkable, it would do little to reduce pedestrian casualties and would be a huge waste of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”
The UK government said in 2018 that it had no plans to introduce a scheme for licensing and registering cyclists. It added that the benefits of such a regime would be far outweighed by the cost and complications involved. In fact, the new Highway Code due out in the autumn gives cyclists even more priorities on the road.
Personalised Number Plates for Cyclists?
If the calls for more control of cyclists gathered enough momentum, the government might have to change its position. If registration numbers for bike riders were introduced, would they work the way as for motor vehicles? If so, cyclists could get themselves distinctive personalised number plates or proudly display their number on a high-vis jacket. That could even work as an incentive.