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Proposed shake-up of road laws could see cyclists face 20mph limits, carry number plates require insurance

By Tom Gibson | August 23, 2022


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Ministers are set to propose a radical new set of road laws that will see cyclists brought inline with motorists.

Proposed shake-up of road laws could see cyclists face 20mph limits, carry number plates require insurance

The changes that are set to be proposed by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will mean cyclists will be forced to have registration numbers, insurance and observe speed limits in 20 mph zones.

As part of the changes, cyclists would be subject to licence penalty points and potentially fines for speeding and breaking other road rules such as running red lights and stopping in no-stop zones.

In order to enforce these penalties however, cyclists would need to carry some sort of registration plate – quite how that would work we’re not sure.

As part of a planned review, ministers want mandatory insurance to be considered in order for pedestrians and other road users to claim compensation if a cyclist is at fault for an incident or accident.

Pedestrians hit by cars can make huge claims against motorists that are paid out by the driver’s insurer but this isn’t possible for victims of reckless cyclists and riders cannot be sued if they don’t have enough wealth.

The plans would be part of a wider crackdown on a minority of aggressive riders that would also see the creation of a new offence of death by dangerous cycling, which Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced to media earlier in August.

If a cyclist causes the death of someone else by dangerous cycling at the time of writing, they can be jailed for a maximum of two years, whereas motorists can rightfully be jailed for life. The review of road laws is designed to create greater parity amongst road users following changes to the Highway Code earlier in the year.

Announcing his intention to introduce the new death by dangerous cycling offence earlier in August, Mr Shapps said: ‘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.’

And although Grant Shapps may no longer be transport secretary when either Sunak or Truss is unveiled as the new PM, he has previously said his successor will be carrying on with the review.

A 2019 report last year by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety showed that of 470 incidents in 2019 in which a pedestrian had been killed by a road user. Five collisions were the fault of cyclists, compared with 305 caused by car drivers and 51 by HGV drivers.

Prominent road laws solicitor Nick Freeman said: ‘This is something that needs to happen for everyone’s safety and Grant Shapps should be congratulated for eventually listening.’

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