Registration plate scheme shelved

Thank you to everyone who expressed their views on cycle number plates and registration to the Mayor and Assembly members.

Responding to letters, Assembly Members from all parties have said they would oppose such a scheme and the Mayor now says that such a scheme would be a “last resort.” The Department of Transport says it has concluded that a registration scheme would be too expensive to establish and run. 

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, responded saying that  “a registration scheme can only ever be seen as a last resort, given the difficulty and cost in implementing such a measure and I have no desire to inhibit the further growth of cycling numbers.”
The Mayor highlighted the growth in cycling and said  “Whilst the vast majority of road users follow the rules, there is a small minority who are irresponsible and do not show courtesy to others. This applies to motor vehicles parking in cycle lanes or monopolising the ‘advance stop’ space allocated for cyclists at junctions – and it also applies to cyclists going through red lights and riding on the pavement.” The Mayor said Transport for London will be launching a ‘Share the Road’ campaign encouraging all road users to obey traffic regulations.

Assembly Members Respond

Assembly Member Jeanette Arnold (Labour Party)  said:  “I agree that a registration scheme for cyclists is unnecessary and unworkable.  As I see it, Ken's remarks were in response to the few irresponsible bike riders who must understand that the highway code applies to them. I have let him know that in my view, we do not need a hammer to crack this particular nut.” “On cycle training, TfL is working with the London boroughs and the National Cycling Strategy Board on a framework for structured cyclist training for Londoners.”

Assembly Members Valerie Shawcross and Murad Quereshi (both Labour) echoed the Mayor’s remarks noted above.  

Assembly Member Jenny Jones (Green Party) said that she would oppose a registration plate scheme as did Darren Johnson (Green Party) saying it would be expensive, unworkable and would kill off all the recent gains in increasing cycling in London. They will continue to campaign for funding for cycle training and improved infrastructure and against a bike registration proposal.

Assembly Member Geoff Pope (Liberal-Democrat)  said  they did  not support the introduction of bicycle registration plates as they felt it would be an unnecessary restriction of civil liberties. He said they wanted to encourage cycling in London, as a way of  reducing  congestion and improving  air quality, they feared that registration plates would lead to a decrease in cyclists.

Assembly Member Damien Hockey (One London Group) rejected registration plates saying it would end up costing taxpayers and cyclists a fortune and would not solve the problem. He favoured better enforcement.

Assembly Member Brain Coleman (Conservative) described registration as bureaucratic nonsense while Richard Barnes (Conservative) considered it impractical and a potential waste of police time. He considered it important that more Londoners be encouraged to cycle.

London Cycling Campaign welcomes the considered views of Assembly Members. While LCC opposes registration plates for cyclists it advocates responsible and considerate behaviour by all road users including both cyclists and drivers. What London needs are improved conditions for cyclists on the roads and widespread promotion of cycle training to National Standards, particularly in schools. Cycle training encourages cyclists, whether young or old, to ride confidently, safely and considerately on city roads. LCC is pleased to work with the Mayor, the London Assembly and local authorities to promote cycle training and encourage safe and responsible road use.