British minister calls for license plates for bikes
Yin and Yang
Cyclists and other road users are like Yin and Yang to some extent. Or water and fire, each other’s opposites. Many times, they actually can’t see or smell each other when participating in traffic. The result? Danger lurks, with possible greater consequences. Motorists can be tracked down and held liable for this through license plate registration. Cyclists, on the other hand, have almost free rein. In other words, regulations around motorized vehicles are significantly stricter than around cyclists. This while many a cyclist is certainly no saint either and flouts traffic rules, according to British Transport Minister Grant Shapps.
Increasingly, they exhibit traits of misbehavior and contempt for the rules of the road. Shapps thinks antisocial cyclists imagine themselves intangible because the chances of possible prosecution are nil. Not least because the cyclist is legally considered a “weak road user” in Britain. As a result, nine out of ten times a cyclist washes their hands when involved in an accident with a car or truck. In the Netherlands, too, the cyclist is held over the head with this mild hand.
With the introduction of a mandatory license plate and bicycle insurance, Shapps believes he can bring order to the ever-expanding cycling population in the United Kingdom. Shapp’s proposal and plea is anything but new in the British Parliament and has so far been rejected each time by his own Ministry. Again, the plan met with firm resistance by the coalition. ‘Just the gigantic load of bureaucracy and red tape would be an unmitigated disaster,’ the defense read. Moreover, the rise of the bicycle among Britons is a positive and at the same time healthy development now that the costs of other forms of transport are skyrocketing. ‘What we need is better infrastructure for cyclists,’ thinks Edmund King, the president of the British Automobile Association.