UK’s transport secretary implied that he is not a fan of unnecessary ‘bureaucracy’, however

Current UK transport secretary Grant Shapps last week (17 August 2022) claimed that cyclists could be required to purchase mandatory insurance as part of rules included in a new Transport Bill, which will begin passage through parliament later this year.

Shapps, who may lose his cabinet position once a new prime minister is selected next month, told the Daily Mail that “there should be a review of insurance and how you actually track cyclists who do break the laws”.

Shapps suggested that new laws should be brought in to extend speed limits to cyclists and allow cyclists to be prosecuted for speeding and riding dangerously.

“I want to make speed limits apply to cyclists,” he said.

“That obviously does then lead you into the questions of ‘how are you going to recognise the cyclists, do you need registration plates and insurance and that sort of thing?’”

However, in a separate interview with The Times, Shapps said: “I’m a keen cyclist - I’m very proud of the big expansion in the number of miles being cycled [in the UK].

“I’m not attracted to the bureaucracy of registration plates – that would go too far.”

Cycling-focused news website Road contacted the Department for Transport to seek clarification on Shapps’ comments and was told: “It’s just proposals. No new policy has been introduced as of yet. The Times piece is the more accurate reflection of [Shapps’] views. That’s his position on it.”

A welcome step?

Lee Evans, bicycle insurance comparison expert at, said that the transport secretary’s suggestion that bicycle insurance would be made mandatory, similar to car insurance, was a “welcome step in the right direction” for pedestrians and cyclists.

He added: “Bicycle insurance can help protect 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 more vulnerable road users.

“Although bicycle crime and theft is still low after the pandemic, we’d recommend every cyclist has insurance, which doesn’t have to be expensive. It can even be added to a home insurance policy as a specified item if the bicycle is under £1,000.”

Cycle insurance

Cyclists are currently able to use UK roads without any form of insurance and are not required to identify themselves via markings, such as a licence plate.

This does not necessarily mean that cyclists are uninsured, however.

Nicola Hall, associate solicitor within the personal injury team at Osbornes Law, explained: “It is often assumed that cyclists do not have insurance in place.

“However, a large majority of our clients have specialist bicycle insurance, which covers the costs of repairs or replacement of a bike if it is stolen.

“If a cyclist is involved in an accident, third party liability insurance will also provide cover if injuries have been sustained to another road user or [if there has been] damage to their property.”