Road laws should be changed so that cyclists have to abide by 20 mph speed limits or face penalties, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has proposed.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Shapps said he would “absolutely propose extending speed limit restrictions to cyclists.”
He said it “cannot be right” that there is no law preventing cyclists from breaking the speed limits for motor vehicles.
“Particularly where you’ve got 20 mph limits on increasing numbers of roads, cyclists can easily exceed those, so I want to make speed limits apply to cyclists,” he said.
Shapps said it is not his intention to “stop people from getting on their bike,” adding that cycling is “a fantastic way to travel” and has “lots of health benefits.”
But he said he sees “no reason why cyclists should break the road laws, why they should speed, why they should bust red lights and be able to get away with it.”
He proposed a review that will examine whether cyclists should be required to buy insurance and carry registration plates, which will help the authorities to track down cyclists who break the laws.
‘Expensive Barriers’The latest proposals have been criticised by transport groups and opposition parties.
Cycling UK, a charity representing cyclists, said the proposals are “impractical and unworkable” and accused Shapps of “proposing expensive barriers” to cycling.
Labour’s shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said Shapps’s comments were “utterly absurd.”
Legal LoopholeThe transport secretary’s new proposal comes after he pledged to create a “death by dangerous cycling” law to “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care.”
The move will close a legal loophole which means that cyclists who kill pedestrians can only be jailed for two years.
Shapps wrote in the Mail+ earlier this month that a “selfish minority” of cyclists believe they are “immune” to red lights.
“We need the cycling equivalent of death by dangerous driving to close a gap in the law and impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care,” he said.
According to figures from the Department for Transport, 304 pedestrians were injured and four were killed after being hit by bicycles in Britain in 2020.