Katy calls for cyclists to be forced to display plates

Katy Bourne ENGSUS00120140801130135
Katy Bourne ENGSUS00120140801130135

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has called for cyclists to be forced to wear number plates so they can be prosecuted more easily if they break the law.

She wants cyclists to face the same prosecution procedure as motorists if they jump red lights or break the law.

But cycling groups have slammed the suggestion as ‘totally unrealistic’.

Ms Bourne spoke out at a recent public meeting, claiming a few individuals ‘ruin it for the many’.

She said equal punishment for drivers and cyclists would ‘make life easier’.

She said: “I would like to see cyclists wear some form of identification like cars have.

“This way when they go through traffic lights, you can actually identify them and then you can prosecute them for breaking the law.”

She added: “It is something that has been at the back of my mind for a long time.

“When you use the road, if you are driving a car you have your number plate to identify you.

“Other people register, they pay to use the roads and cyclists don’t. There have been occasions when I have been sat at red lights and seen cyclists go through.

“It is never the responsible cyclists that do this. The ones that belong to the clubs are great, they are the ones that adhere to all the laws, so it is the few that ruin it for the many.”

A similar idea was found by the RAC in 2006 to be “impractical, bureaucratic and dangerous”.

Carlton Reid, author of Roads were not Built for Cars and executive editor of BikeBiz, said: “It has been tried and is not something that has worked in any country ever.”

The plate would have to be big enough to be visible to traffic cameras, making it difficult to fit on to an average bicycle, he said.

He added: “Number plates don’t stop motorists texting at the wheel, going through red lights or speeding.

“It’s an ill-thought-through idea. Does she expect every six-year-old to have a number plate on their bicycles?”

Cycling campaigners also hit back at those who claim bike riders don’t pay to use the roads - arguing road maintenance is funded from general taxation paid by all taxpayers.

Motorists pay vehicle excise duty which is linked to emissions.

MPs are debating cycle safety in the House of Commons as calls intensify for the government to create an annual cycling budget worth £10 per head.

The demand has been supported by the AA, British Cycling and the Commons transport committee. The Department for Transport has promised to publish a plan for cyclists.

Ms Bourne said though cycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around, it is vital that all road users behave responsibly, adding: “This means respecting each other’s chosen mode of transport - be that on four wheels or two.”

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