UK cyclists to be bound by 20mph limit in safety revolution

Grant Shapps says he is determined to stamp out danger caused by 'hard core of cyclists'

Riders on a cycle lane in Westminster, London. PA
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Cyclists in Britain risk being fined if they break a signposted 20mph speed limit under new proposals being pushed by the government.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he wanted to stop cyclists from dashing down roads at unreasonable speeds and he plans to set up a review of the laws around cycling.

Less than two weeks after vowing to create a “death by dangerous cycling” law that would treat killer cyclists the same as motorists, Mr Shapps said he was determined to stamp out such behaviour.

“There is definitely a hard core of cyclists who seem to think the laws of the road don’t apply to them,” Mr Shapps told The Times. “I do think the Highway Code should be updated to recognise speed limits for cyclists.

“How can it be right that some people are able to break the speed limit and bomb through red lights?”

Mr Shapps said it was high time a review of the existing laws on road safety was conducted and updated so they applied to cyclists as well.

Changes could see cyclists required to travel at the same speed as drivers in 20mph zones.

But he ruled out introducing mandatory registration plates for bikes, saying such a move would “go too far”.

Under the Highway Code and Road Traffic Act, speeding limits only apply to motor vehicles and their drivers. While local authorities can impose speed limits on cyclists, the practice is rare.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said cyclists should have to abide by speed limits just as drivers do. EPA

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Mr Shapps said it “cannot be right” that cyclists are not breaking any laws when they speed on public roads.

“Particularly where you’ve got 20mph limits on increasing numbers of roads, cyclists can easily exceed those, so I want to make speed limits apply to cyclists,” he said.

“I’m proposing setting up a review to do exactly that.”

He signalled his openness to a review of insurance requirements for cyclists, and how a rider is tracked down if they are suspected of breaking the law.

Mr Shapps said he did not want to discourage people from cycling, but said the Conservative government could not “turn a blind eye” to potentially risky behaviour.

The minister this month vowed to create a “death by dangerous cycling” law to “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care”.

The move will close a legal loophole that means that cyclists who kill pedestrians can be jailed for a maximum of two years.

The change comes four years after the government ran a consultation on proposals for new offences of causing death or serious injury while cycling.

Under Mr Shapps’ proposal, the new law would be added to the Transport Bill due to be put before parliament in the autumn.

Mr Shapps, however, may not be in his current ministerial role when the cabinet is reshuffled by the next prime minister. The winner of the contest — either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak — is set to be announced on September 5.

Updated: August 17, 2022, 8:37 AM
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