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Confusion as Grant Shapps now says he is "not attracted to bureaucracy" of number plates for cyclists

"I'm not attracted to the bureaucracy of registration plates. That would go too far," the Transport Secretary said in another interview yesterday...

Confusion reigned this morning as transport minister Grant Shapps' comments in an interview given to The Times appeared to contradict his widely-reported pledge to enforce tougher rules, namely possibly introducing number plates for cyclists, as part of the current legal review.

> Grant Shapps: Cyclists should have number plates, be insured and subject to speed limits

Speaking to the national newspaper, the Tory cabinet minister said: "I'm a keen cyclist, I'm very proud of the big expansion in the number of miles being cycled. I'm not attracted to the bureaucracy of registration plates. That would go too far."

These comments, published in a story on the front page of The Times, contrast with Shapps' interview simultaneously published on the front page of the Daily Mail, in which he says he "absolutely proposes extending speed limit restrictions to cyclists" before stating: "That obviously does then lead you into the question of 'well, how are you going to recognise the cyclist, do you need registration plates and insurance and that sort of thing?'"

The Mail interview prompted something of a media frenzy, with talk shows, news outlets and social media filled with debate about the prospect of cyclists needing a number plate to use the roads.

> "There is no war on cars. There is a war on bikes": Cyclists react to Grant Shapps' "hugely damaging" number plates and speed limits pledge

road.cc contacted the Department for Transport for clarification on the matter and were told: "It's just proposals. No new policy has been introduced as of yet. The Times piece is the more accurate reflection of the Transport Secretary's view. That's his position on it."

The Department for Transport is likely to clarify the position further in the coming hours.

> "Grant Shapps should be congratulated": Frothing talk shows and Mr Loophole discuss number plates for cyclists

Speaking to the Mail, 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.

"Particularly where you've got 20mph limits on increasing numbers of roads, cyclists can easily exceed those, so I want to make speed limits apply to cyclists.

"That obviously does then lead you into the question of 'well, how are you going to recognise the cyclist, do you need registration plates and insurance and that sort of thing.

"So I'm proposing there should be a review of insurance and how you actually track cyclists who do break the laws [via identifiable markings].

"I don't want to stop people from getting on their bike, it's a fantastic way to travel, we've seen a big explosion of cycling during Covid and since, I think it has lots of health benefits.

"But I see 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 and I think we do have to not turn a blind eye to that and I’m proposing setting up a review to do exactly that."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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99 comments

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chrisonabike replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
0 likes

Thinking again - don't the Dutch have some intermediate categories between "cycle" (which covers a lot of vehicles) and "full motorcycle / car". There's definitely a "motor scooter" class. They also have some fast pedelecs- not sure what category they fall into.

Ignoring the fact that all these things are currently very rare and accepting we "need to do something" - shouldn't the government be proposing a *study* (or even trial, just like with scooters - although that horse may have bolted now)? Since we don't have packs of them over here why not look overseas? Nothing to stop then reviewing both the safety data and how / why things are regulated.

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Paul J replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
2 likes

Yes, in NL there have long been "snorfietsen" and "bromfietsen".

A snorfiets is a very light motorbike, some historically were basically bicycles with engines. They are, by law, not supposed to be capable of more than 25 km/h. There was no requirement to wear a helmet with them, but that is (sadly?) changing next year.

A bromfiets is a 50cc bike, meant to be limited to 45 km/h. A helmet is required, since the 70s. You need to pass a test to ride one (since mid 90s).

Snor and brom fietsen used to go on bicycle paths (fietspad), but now they generally can not, unless otherwise indicated.

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hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
11 likes

Saw this piece on Gandruia about the only country that has mandatory cycle registration: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/17/north-korea-where-bicycle-licence-plates-are-non-negotiable-grant-shapps

They also ban women from cycling, so is that Grant's next bright idea?

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OldRidgeback replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

No, but he thinks they should be taxed.

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mattw replied to OldRidgeback | 1 year ago
0 likes

Taxing women?

Hmmmm.

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Capercaillie replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
8 likes

I wouldn't be surprised at anything with this lot. After all, they're now the UKIP/ Brexit Party in all but name. I remember one prominent UKIP member's comments about slovenly women not "cleaning behind the fridge". These are the "values" supported by many of their members after all. , Not sure why they're determined to elect a woman as leader though, although she does support a lot of their other values,
like calling Britons lazier than foreigners and avoiding "handouts" for struggling families while promoting tax cuts.

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hawkinspeter replied to Capercaillie | 1 year ago
8 likes
Capercaillie wrote:

I wouldn't be surprised at anything with this lot. After all, they're now the UKIP/ Brexit Party in all but name. I remember one prominent UKIP member's comments about slovenly women not "cleaning behind the fridge". These are the "values" supported by many of their members after all. , Not sure why they're determined to elect a woman as leader though, although she does support a lot of their other values, like calling Britons lazier than foreigners and avoiding "handouts" for struggling families while promoting tax cuts.

They were put in the tough (for them) position of choosing between a woman and a non-white man.

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Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
2 likes

Will Olympic sprinters need a registration plate to cross the road?

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Hirsute replied to Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
8 likes

It'll need 7 armed officers to arrest them.

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hawkinspeter replied to Car Delenda Est | 1 year ago
6 likes
Car Delenda Est wrote:

Will Olympic sprinters need a registration plate to cross the road?

Only if they're with a chicken

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IanMK | 1 year ago
13 likes

Who would have thought it, confused messaging from a member of Bozo's cabinet.

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Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
9 likes

Sack Shatts. Idiot!

Here's a politician scoring political points that will empower the moron motorist with his Shatty utterances. How many more cyclists will be injured or worse following Shatt's shit chat?

What a Shitter.
Boris. Sort him out!

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hawkinspeter replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
7 likes
Fignon's ghost wrote:

Sack Shatts. Idiot! Here's a politician scoring political points that will empower the moron motorist with his Shatty utterances. How many more cyclists will be injured or worse following Shatts shit chat? What a Shitter. Boris. Sort him out!

Boris is currently extremely busy with his caretaking duties summer holiday, so he won't be doing much of anything

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BalladOfStruth replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
12 likes
Fignon's ghost wrote:

How many more cyclists will be injured or worse following Shatts shit chat?

This is a very real concern. I'm out the door and cycling into work before most, so the roads are quiet, but on the way home - now that the gammons have had time to rouse from thier sleep and wank themselves raw to the DM front page - I wouldn't be surprised to see a few more punishment passes.

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Fignon's ghost replied to BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
0 likes

It's the Max Cady types you've got to keep an eye out for. They never ever forgive. Or forget.

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eburtthebike replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
0 likes
Fignon's ghost wrote:

What a Shitter

Shapps the Shit.

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BudgieJohnson | 1 year ago
16 likes

A couple of questions:

1) I only really ride offroad, will I need a number plate for that too and if the answer is yes please can it be a soft one in case I fall onto it?

2) Will my children also need a number plate for riding to school and if they break the speed limits will they go to prison?

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Hirsute replied to BudgieJohnson | 1 year ago
10 likes

This agent provocateur forcing his mum to break the law should definitely go to prison.

//pbs.twimg.com/media/FaTpb4dXgAEWXG5?format=jpg&name=medium)

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Fignon's ghost replied to BudgieJohnson | 1 year ago
6 likes

If your kids ride a Grifter. Their insurance premiums will be double the average due to the distraction caused by the suspect 3 gear shifting mechanism.

I fear for unicyclists. They'll have to pay by direct debit.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
6 likes

With a grifter, definitely need to pay road tax as the weight of it would really wear the roads. And if dropped on one the resurfacing work needed. 

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Fignon's ghost replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago
0 likes

Those Sturmey Archer units were rough going. I hit many a curb trying to get some transmission. No claims bonus. My arse!

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BudgieJohnson replied to Fignon's ghost | 1 year ago
3 likes

Don't even want a Risk Assessment on the olde Chopper stick shift then.....premiums will be massive!

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to BudgieJohnson | 1 year ago
0 likes

That was a family bike as could carry 6 kids on it if you ignored the safety warning on the saddle. 

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mdavidford replied to BudgieJohnson | 1 year ago
6 likes
BudgieJohnson wrote:

1) I only really ride offroad, will I need a number plate for that too

And would you need to make a Statutory Offroad Notification?

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I love my bike replied to BudgieJohnson | 1 year ago
7 likes

3a) Shouldn't horses, ponies etc need number plates as well?

3b) How do you fit a speedo(meter) to/on a horse?

3bi) Good luck with calibration!

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chrisonabike replied to I love my bike | 1 year ago
2 likes

Not needed as by definition they're limited to 1hp.

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ktache replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
4 likes

Weirdly, I had a little look at hp, because of the previous death by cycling bit a while back (laws same since days of the horse and other such nonsense), as 1hp is 250W, but WvA can stick out 3hp, horses generally can put out 6hp.

I'm guessing this is one of the reasons those SI people have stayed away from the HP.

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I love my bike replied to ktache | 1 year ago
1 like

@#?*! So, clydesdales & other heavy horses will need HH(orse)V licencing!

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chrisonabike replied to ktache | 1 year ago
2 likes
ktache wrote:

I'm guessing this is one of the reasons those SI people have stayed away from the HP.

But I thought we wanted to restore some of these good old units? Maybe road.cc could start by quoting candlepower for light reviews...

Rejection of the HP was actually because they didn't like his squirrels.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago
3 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Rejection of the HP was actually because they didn't like his squirrels.

Well, it takes all sorts, I suppose

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