All Sections

Why cyclists should be treated the same as motorists

Should cyclists be forced to carry number plates and treated the same way as motorists? Jack Scales thinks so. 

Should cyclists be made to carry numberplate?

In recent years there has been a growing sense of animosity between cyclists and drivers. Earlier this month, Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne caused a heated debate and increased the tension by stating that cyclists should be given number plates and subjected to the same treatment as motorists. I have to say, I think miss Bourne may be onto something here. Here’s my reasoning.

Cyclists would become more responsible 

At present there seems to be a belief amongst cyclists that they are above the law of the roads. They couldn’t be more wrong. The Road Traffic Act 1988 clearly states they are guilty of an offence if they are found to be cycling dangerously, carelessly, inconsiderately or while under the influence of drink or drugs. Sadly cyclists contravene the Road Traffic Act on a regular basis, usually with impunity. 

If cyclists had number plates we could easily punish those who regularly ignore red lights, use phones while cycling and break speed limits. They could be reported by passers-by, captured on CCTV and traced more easily by police. More to the point, many of them would likely feel less inclined to ignore the rules of the road if they felt they could be identified as easily as people who drive cars or motorcycles. 

Mandatory insurance for cyclists would protect us all

Most cyclists do not have insurance, simply because they feel it’s unnecessary. This couldn’t be more wrong. Bikes can travel in excess of 30mph, often while traffic around them has ground to a halt. Inevitably, some will crash — sometimes into other vehicles and occasionally into pedestrians or other cyclists. However, because they are uninsured the victims often find themselves out of pocket. Many cyclists choose to flee after a collision as they are aware there is little that can be done to bring them to justice. 

By imposing not only license plates, but also mandatory insurance, victims of cyclist crashes won’t be left with annoying repair bills or, worse still, medical fees or other loss of earnings. Mandatory insurance would also protect sensible cyclists from those that choose to cycle recklessly, endangering those around them. 

Registrations should be earned after a mandatory test

Back in 2012 Addison Lee minicab boss John Griffin drew scorn from cyclists when he argued that novice cyclists create more accidents and said: “It is time for us to say to cyclists, ‘You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up’.”  

Despite the backlash this recieved, the statement was not without merit. Data collected by the Transport Research Laboratory shows that cyclists under the age of 25 were more likely to be at fault when they were involved in incidents with cars. Conversely, when incidents involved cyclists over 25, the motorists were more likely to be at fault.  

This evidence therefore suggest that Mr Griffin was correct and novice cyclists do pose a considerable threat. For this reason it would be wise on the government’s part if they were to introduce a mandatory test which requires cyclists to be fully registered with the DVLA or another body. 

I’m certain that cyclists will find a way to criticize this statement and tell me I’m wrong. However, the simple fact is that inexperienced Cyclists can be a danger to themselves and the public, all the while sullying experienced cyclists reputation. Surely a test to ensure they are ready to take to the roads is a sensible option? 

Conclusion

In summary, I feel it’s imperitive that cyclists who regularly flout traffic laws, endangering themselves and others, need to be dealt with. It would seem that the best way of doing this would be to introduce license plates or at the vey least mandatory proficiency testing. Dangerous cyclists have been getting away with proverbial murder for years and until this is sufficiently dealt with by the government it will continue.

The fact the debate is constantly resurfacing shows it is a legitimate problem that needs addressing. In my eyes, if cyclists want to use the roads they should be expected to recieve the same treatment as motorists.

Comments