People argue that cyclists should have a licence plate like cars if they use the roads. The main reason I think is so that if they do something wrong they can be tracked and traced.
Yes; some cyclists break the rules when they are out. They ride on footpaths (which is wrong), they jump red lights. This is all true, but, it’s true of all road users. Every type of road users has a sub-set of people who will break the rules and thinks it’s OK. Cars parked on pavements. Pedestrians crossing where they shouldn’t. There’s always someone.
It doesn’t mean every driver/rider/walker is bad, just that some are. Or some are some of the time. Effort goes into policing the highest risk behaviors/incidents. If a cyclist jumps a red light, he could cause an accident but it’s likely he’ll come off worse than anyone else.
The problem with registration plates for bikes is how do you implement that? All bikes? Your kid riding round the park? What age do they start to need a plate? Is it for the person or the bike? What about bikes only used off-road? (like SORN motorbikes for off-road use, or SORN 4×4 for off-road use…)
It’s just too complex and costly for the government to implement, hasn’t been implemented anywhere else in the world where they don’t seem to feel it’s necessary.
The Department of Transport’s standard response to this being impractical also goes along the lines of if they required registration plates for cyclists, they’d have to do the same for pedestrians too.
So – what do we do instead? We should look at educating cyclists to make sure more of them behave better on the road instead. That is something where an effect can be had and an improvement made without an impractical, costly scheme to put registration details on people to punish them when they break the rules – let’s make them more aware of the rules first.