Opinion: It’s time bicycles had registration plates and insurance

Bristol is an important British and therefore European city. In 1497 its port became Europe’s gateway to America and the new world, when John Cabot sailed there in his famous ship the Mathew. Bristol has been at the cutting edge of innovation and trade ever since.

Today, Royal Portbury Dock is a massive economic generator for the whole country.

The year 2015 saw this great world class city of ours become the first European Green City – something which we should all take pride in.

Wherever I go in the world, people always know Bristol. The United States alone has nearly 30 towns and cities named after it. There’s also a Bristol in Peru, Jamaica and two in Canada.

The Hotel Bristol in Paris is the only former Royal Palace with four Michelin stars!

Sustainability has become the new ‘in’ word with politicians of every colour. Business is also being proactive in developing more sustainable methods of operation.

Only last week I was chatting to the managing director of a large tech company who told me that despite having constructed four showers and state of the art changing facilities in his new office building he was struggling to attract programmers because they weren’t sure the facilities were good enough after cycling into work!

I tried an electric bike recently and it was amazing. Apparently some of these machines can now travel for more than 100 miles on a single charge. Cheap and clean transport will definitely be the future.

Places like Bristol and Bath, where there are many hills, are an oasis for entrepreneurial retailers of electric bikes.

Watching Bristol’s mayor George Ferguson cycling up Park Street is something to behold!

A friend recently told me that he heard two old ladies who were walking down the hill say…

“Look at E, that’s the mare-Er mind luv, look at un goin up thur like that at is age”

Little did they know that George was on his electric bike.

My only criticism of this new-found enthusiasm for cycling is the speed some of the cyclists travel at, particularly down Park Street. We have cars trying to do 20mph to keep within the law, and cyclists overtaking them at 40mph! Many without helmets on.

Is it about time we brought in legislation insisting on bikes having to have a rear registration plate and compulsory third party insurance?

I am all for cycling but fair’s fair. Many cyclists weave in and out of traffic and jump red lights. Many more do not have lights on at night. Some cycle on pavements too!

As both a cyclist and a motorist, I see both points of view, but it must be accepted that not all cyclists are good, and not all motorists are bad. It’s not exclusive.

A registration system and insurance for machines capable of travelling at over 40 mph is in my opinion essential. Lights, helmets and perhaps a proficiency test would be good for everyone and help ensure road safety and reduce accident levels.

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