The Whitehall review follows a 200% increase in cycling in the UK during the COVID-19 lockdown, according to Cyclist.
During this shift to a “clean, green mode of transport,” Grant Shapps, transport secretary, expressed that it was “great to see so many people switching” and that the government wanted to "use this recovery to permanently change the way we travel, with huge levels of investment.”
Despite this statement, Shapps is now keen for cyclists to have registration plates so “you can track cyclists who do break the laws [via identifiable markings],” while ministers are in discussion over speed limits for cyclists in line with those enforced for drivers.
Commenting on this U-turn, Shapps has said:
“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.”
These comments follow legislation proposed by Shapps earlier this month, which he said was needed to “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care.”
Under Shapps’ intended enforcement of mandatory cyclist insurance, if riders injure or kill pedestrians, it will allow the victims or their families to secure compensation in the same way they could make claims if someone was hit by a car or van.
Although concerns have been raised over the damage mandatory insurance costs will have on cycling, Lee Evans, Quotezone bicycle insurance comparison expert has expressed their support.
Evans commented that “the call be Grant Shapps this week for bicycle insurance to be a legal requirement similar to car insurance, is a welcome step in the right direction for both pedestrians and cyclists.”
“Cyclist and bicycle insurance can help protect the bike riders and other road users by safeguarding their finances from claims, the best policies cover medical expenses and personal liability.
“This review reflects the updates made to the highway code earlier this year and aims to protect the more vulnerable road users. It’s encouraging to see 70% of motorists support the call for insurance in the FairFuel UK survey,” added Evans.