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West Midlands MEP calls for cyclist registration, compulsory high-vis & helmets

Nikki Sinclaire wants cyclists "accountable" with registration printed on high-vis tabards...

West Midlands European parliamentarian Nikki Sinclaire has called for all cyclists to wear registration markings so that they are “accountable” for their actions.

The former UKIP MEP, who now sits as a member for the We Demand a Referendum Now party, told BBC West Midlands yesterday that cyclists should wear fluorescent vests with registration numbers.

She said: “I think cyclists need to be accountable. They need to observe the Highway Code.”

I’m certainly not anti-cyclist, I’m a cyclist when I can get the time myself.”

Ms Sinclaire tweeted the above picture of herself wearing high-vis.

She told presenter Adrian Goldberg: “I see, time and time again, in Birmingham and London, cyclists running red lights and putting pedestrians in danger.

“I’m not saying the cycle itself should be registered. What I’m seeking is a registration of cyclists - not on all roads, just on main roads in the city.

“We need to encourage more cyclists, but we also need accountability.”

Adrian Goldberg said he had recently had to dodge a cyclist who had run a red light.

Ms Sinclaire said: “Had you hit that cyclist, you would have been prosecuted.”

Graham Hankins, of Birmingham cycling campaign Push Bikes, went on the show to explain why cycling campaigners think registration is a bad idea.

He said: “The registration system would be seen as a barrier to people cycling.

“There are lots of people out there would like to cycle but, the more rules you put in front of them, that would be seen as a barrier to cycling in the first place.”

Ms Sinclaire followed up her comments yesterday afternoon on BBC Hereford and Worcester.

She said: “For a start I think we need helmets, I should it be compulsory for people to wear helmets.”

She said that she only wanted cyclist registration plates in towns and cities, where it would be effective because of pervasive surveillance.

“The reason this would work in the UK, I don’t think it would work anywhere else in the world, is that we’ve got the most cameraed cities and towns in the world.”

Ms Sinclaire’s attitude to cyclists mirrors that of her former UKIP colleagues. In its 2010 election manifesto, the party said: “There needs to be a better balance of rights and responsibilities for pedal cyclists” and claimed there was “too much aggressive abuse of red lights, pedestrian crossings and a lack of basic safety and road courtesy.”

At the time, Chris Peck, policy co-ordinator at national cyclists’ organisation CTC, said: “UKIP are living up to their reputation with their cycling policy - it’s classic anti-cyclist third-pint-in stuff.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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