Lord Winston’s not letting it lie. Days after being told by the Government that the costs and complexity of licensing cyclists would significantly outweigh the benefits, he says he’s considering introducing a private members' bill to force them to have number plates. He says a woman attacked him when he challenged her for riding on the pavement this week and that he didn’t report it because she is “impossible to identify.”
Last year, without citing evidence, Lord Winston claimed that cycle lanes have led to increased air pollution in London – something that was flatly rejected by the mayor. He has since been campaigning for cyclists to have licences and insurance.
After he tabled a question at the House of Lords, Winston was told that licensing and insurance were considered as part of the cycling and walking safety review in 2018.
Conservative peer Baroness Barran told him: “Over three million new cycles are sold each year. Licensing and insurance would require the establishment of a central register, and the government’s view is that this would be very cumbersome and expensive to administer.
“There is evidence that other countries that have trialled these schemes have then withdrawn them.”
But Winston is undeterred. This week he tried to support his position by telling The Times about a recent encounter with someone who had been riding on the pavement in Bloomsbury in London.
"I went up to her and told her very politely that it was against the law to cycle on the pavement and it was dangerous," he said.
“I thought she would apologise and walk off but she became very aggressive and was swearing. She snatched the telephone out of my hand and then threw it into the road. She then kicked me repeatedly.”
Two passers-by came to his aid and the woman – who he said was ‘clearly well-educated’ and in her late 30s or early 40s – rode away.
Winston said he had not reported the incident to police because it would be impossible to identify her.
"The requirement for number plates would mean cyclists who are blatantly breaking the law can be identified," he concluded.