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"Dangerous" cyclists "entirely unaccountable" and should have number plates, argues former Met Police chief

The Met's former commissioner told the House of Lords: "I fear that cyclists, particularly in London, seem to be entirely unaccountable."...

The discussion around number plates for cyclists has been reignited today in the House of Lords, the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Lord Hogan-Howe, claiming that to tackle danger cyclists should need "a registration plate somewhere on the back" in order to avoid being "entirely unaccountable".

The topic has enjoyed an extended spell out of the public eye since last summer, when then-transport secretary Grant Shapps aired, then quickly backed out of, the idea during a frantic few days which culminated with the Department for Transport telling this website it was "just proposals" and that the views expressed in a contradictory interview downplaying his original idea were closer to "his position".

> Department for Transport assures MP it has no intention to make cyclists carry number plates and insurance

Shapps ultimately stated he was "not attracted to bureaucracy" of number plates for cyclists and said there are "no plans" for such legislation. The matter has largely avoided the limelight since then, that was until Lord Hogan-Howe's comments in the House of Lords today.

Speaking during a debate on measures to regulate pedicabs, the Evening Standard reports the former chief of the Metropolitan Police, who held his position between 2011 and 2017, asked "if we learn any lessons about holding pedicab drivers and owners to account, could we consider whether we take those lessons and apply them to cyclists?"

"I fear that my list of people who are dangerous is longer than just people who have electric scooters and electrically charged cycles," he said. "I fear that cyclists, particularly in London, seem to be entirely unaccountable.

"Even having a registration plate somewhere on the back would not be a bad idea to make sure that people are held to account and it is not totally without consequences if they choose to ignore things that are meant to keep us all safe. On occasion they have terribly injured people, and on some occasions killed them."

The debate also heard from former Tory minister Lord Blencathra who argued the pedicab bill is a "trivial little measure" compared to e-scooters and called for their complete ban in England and "greater penalties" for pavement cycling.

"I want to amend this Bill to ban all e-scooters in England from any public highway, including pavements, and give police powers to immediately confiscate any they find in use on public roads," he said.

"All rental e-scooter trials should cease immediately and greater penalties imposed on cyclists on pavements, especially if they're commercial couriers."

> London school makes pupils who cycle put number plates on bikes

In June, Italy's transport minister Matteo Salvini outlined plans for a road safety bill which would force cyclists to carry number plates on their bikes, pay insurance, and make helmets and indicators mandatory.

In a speech to the Italian parliament in the summer, Salvini outlined his plans to increase road safety in the country through legislation which he says will guarantee "more rules, more education, and more safety on Italian roads".

Salvini, who leads the Lega party, which forms part of the right-wing coalition led by prime minister Giorgia Meloni, said that under the plans cyclists will be forced to wear helmets and carry licence plates and indicators on their bikes, while also paying insurance.

Just days later and Salvini backpedalled, insisting that the rules were aimed solely at people riding scooters.

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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41 comments

Avatar
Bigfoz | 3 months ago
0 likes

Crack on. I cAN'T Wait to see how much damage bikes with plates cause to cars too close to them... I'd be happy to paint peel the odd w*nkpanzer...

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David9694 | 3 months ago
4 likes

it's so unfair that cars have to have registration plates

Hit-and-run driver from Lenham who killed a mum in Charing Heath after day at Faversham Hop Festival has been jailed

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/maidstone/news/hit-and-run-driver-who-kille...

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David9694 replied to David9694 | 3 months ago
0 likes

So very unfair 

West Mercia Police said they would like to speak to the owner of the pictured car after the crash, which involved a car and a cyclist, in Hereford's Newmarket Street.

https://www.herefordtimes.com/news/23942761.picture-released-police-hit-...

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Miller | 3 months ago
8 likes

Old bloke in the HoL drifting towards senility. He should take up cycling, it's good for mental acuity and physical wellbeing.

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cyclisto | 3 months ago
6 likes

I agree, unaccountable cyclists is a problem, but it is time to start speaking openly about a bigger problem, unaccountable pedestrians.

Rumors say that Armani is already designing the next Spring Collection suits with license to walk special insertion point.

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the little onion | 3 months ago
11 likes

Off duty Met police officers should wear their collar numbers in case they kidnap, rape and murder innocent members of the public.

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open_roads | 3 months ago
5 likes

I'm conflicted on this - even as a regular cycle commuter in London.

My experience of a 25 mile round-trip commute across London several times a week is that it feels very unsafe and much more so than even 5 years ago - not just because of driver innatention but due to the following:

- illegal eBikes travelling (very) fast on the roads and cycle lanes - typically with  zero consideration for other road users including cyclists

- illegal and legal eScooters - same as above - often being driven the "wrong way" down one way streets / cycle lanes / across lanes of traffic etc.Just crazy moves it's very hard to anticipate or avoid.

- Proliferation of Lime / Santander bikes being ridden seemingly by people with literally no common sense - and who noticeably are much more likely to jump red lights

- Huge numbers of Deliveroo /Just Eats moped and illegal eBike riders - often completely ignorning the speed limits / lights / highway code and many without lights at night.

I still don't think putting registration plates on bikes would make any difference - not least because the Santander / Lime bikes already have registration numbers.

What is needed though is for the Met Police to do their job.

They have a record number of officers and are completely invisible during my morning / evening commutes. In the area where I work the Police just stand around doing nothing even when illegal eBike riders are literally right next to them - and also do nothing about eScooter riders.

The Met could very easily seize huge numbers of illegal eBikes / mopeds / scooters just by waiting outside McDonalds etc for the Deliveroo / Uber riders to turn up. And with that done then start nabbing people on eScooters /  illegal eBikes on the roads and cycle paths.

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David9694 replied to open_roads | 3 months ago
0 likes

I'm conflicted on this because yes there's not enough roads police, chapeau! on your commute, but the other riders you mention don't pose any direct threat to you. 

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open_roads replied to David9694 | 3 months ago
3 likes

The other riders unfortunately do represent a very clear threat to other cyclists including me e.g.

- "riding" (under full motor power of 25-35 mph) straight at me the wrong way down stupidly narrow cycle paths

- cutting me up in heavy traffic whilst I'm already trying to focus in the 16 million cars in the 4 lanes next to me round Shepherd's Bush roundabout

- moving at speed without any signals

And today I narrowly avoided being taken out by a yoof riding a Sauron (sp?) eBike doing well over 40mph straight towards me on CS6 - he was wearing a balaclava and my first thought was that I was about to get mugged.

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mitsky | 3 months ago
7 likes

Isn't North Korea the only country that actually has a cycle registration system?
Yes, lets go follow their example...

Upto 2021, as a cyclist with a camera, I was getting at least a 70% (if not 80%) success rate in the Met police issuing NIPs/FPNs for my dangerous driving reports.

The Met police are now so under-staffed/under-resourced that I'd be lucky to get a 10% success rate now for identical reports with evidence.

So either dangerous driving is being considered OK or they simply haven't upped their game in dealing with it.

I've noticed an increase in dangerous driving lately (we all know phone use behind the wheel is endemic) and a massive increase in red light jumping by drivers as they know they can get away with it.

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David9694 | 3 months ago
4 likes

Car seized as police probe New Forest hit-and-run which killed pig

https://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/23942547.car-seized-police-probe...

Sounds like he got caught uninsured by chance weeks after the so very accountable the hit and run. 

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levestane | 3 months ago
0 likes

Fossil fuel cars have the blue panel on their plates. EVs have the greenwash-green panel. Hopefully pedal cycles will have a genuine green panel.

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David9694 replied to levestane | 3 months ago
1 like

maybe it maybe it should be hi viz green?

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alchemilla | 3 months ago
11 likes

Penalties for pavement cycling should only be considered after penalties for pavement parking (and therefore driving on to by cars) has been introduced across the whole of the UK.
Please.

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LeadenSkies | 3 months ago
11 likes

Number plates make no difference at all if the owner doesn't register details or if the police don't enforce as Lord Hogan-Howe should know full well. After all he presided over the total failure of the Met to enforce millions of what he no doubt considers petty driving offences and in my view must shoulder some of the blame for the total collapse of driving standards in London and the Home Counties. One of the worst Met Commissioners on record and the competition for that title has been pretty stiff over recent years.

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60kg lean keen ... | 3 months ago
9 likes

What next? If I step out of my house and walk to the shops, I need ID (and it must be on show at all times) as the state needs to identify Me at all times!  You know I might act like (or be) a wrong um!!  When will this push for authoritarian - 1984 - police state stop?

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David9694 replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 3 months ago
5 likes

Yes, the usual state control conspiracy theorists are remarkably quiet. 

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hawkinspeter replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 3 months ago
3 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

What next? If I step out of my house and walk to the shops, I need ID (and it must be on show at all times) as the state needs to identify Me at all times!  You know I might act like (or be) a wrong um!!  When will this push for authoritarian - 1984 - police state stop?

When we stop voting for authoritarians?

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

When we stop voting for authoritarians?

When they let us.

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OldRidgeback replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 3 months ago
8 likes

Helmets and hi viz for pedestrians, plus a tabard saying they've paid their pavement tax!!

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jthurber80 | 3 months ago
0 likes

Number plates?  Probably big ones.  Here in the Ole US of A we've got issues with unregulated e-bikes that, with the governors taken off, can easily top 50 mph, and frequently do on our expressways.

No helmets required (it's a bicycle, silly) and infrequently worn.  Fortunately most riders have liability insurance, thou they probably don't know it.  If you own an automobile (I got my first one in a decade and a half two months ago) the automobile liability portion of your policy USUALLY covers you when you're astride your bicycle and, doing something stupid, hurt somebody.

Thanks for listening and remember the mantra of bike riders in the San Francisco Bay Area:  Ride Fast = Take Chances

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Clem Fandango | 3 months ago
6 likes

At least he acknowledged that cyclists are actually people.

Baby steps fellow evil lobby members, baby steps.

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marmotte27 | 3 months ago
13 likes

Isn't it rather MET chiefs who are entirely unaccountable?

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EM69 replied to marmotte27 | 3 months ago
1 like

Exactly, draws attention from their own incompetencies.

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muhasib | 3 months ago
11 likes

This is the most encouraging news I've heard in ages, I mean there are ongoing mass demonstrations in the streets resulting in a Public Order Act and the new offence of 'scandalous mayhem' and public confidence in the police has been at an all time low. Despite this Britain's ex-top police officer has used this opportunity in the House of Lords to advise on cycling behaviour - this must mean all the other stuff has been sorted obviously?

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bigwheeler88 | 3 months ago
14 likes

A friend was run over and murdered by a car that had a number plate.

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HoldingOn replied to bigwheeler88 | 3 months ago
3 likes

Where was the driver?

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bigwheeler88 replied to HoldingOn | 3 months ago
5 likes

In the driving seat on his phone.

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HoldingOn | 3 months ago
7 likes
Quote:

"I want to amend this Bill to ban all e-scooters in England from any public highway, including pavements, and give police powers to immediately confiscate any they find in use on public roads,"

I thought they were already banned, except for the few places with a recognised trial?

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Backladder replied to HoldingOn | 3 months ago
5 likes
HoldingOn wrote:
Quote:

"I want to amend this Bill to ban all e-scooters in England from any public highway, including pavements, and give police powers to immediately confiscate any they find in use on public roads,"

I thought they were already banned, except for the few places with a recognised trial?

And even then only the official hire ones are legal, but this clown obviously thinks that the police have loads of spare time for his pet project.

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