All bicycles to be fitted with bells from May 2004

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The Independent Online

All bicycles sold in the UK from next May will have to be fitted with bells.

David Jamieson, a Transport minister, said that, under new regulations, manufacturers would be obliged to ensure that bicycles had the device in place. He said: "The regulation will enhance the safety of pedestrians sharing space with cyclists and had been requested by groups representing pedestrian and disabled people."

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents praised the decision but said that the Government had not gone far enough. Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the society, said: "We welcome the move, it's a good idea and pedestrian groups have been calling for this for a long time.

"This will require bells to be fitted when the bike is sold, but the legislation should have required the bells to be on bikes when they are being used. If cyclists don't like the idea of having a bell, they could take it off."

He added that it would take a long time for the new bikes fitted with bells to replace the tens of thousands of cycles in the UK without them.