By JAMES MILLS Last updated at 21:57pm on 14th January 2008 Hurtling through the traffic, the cyclist probably thought he had got away with jumping a red light and nearly knocking over an elderly woman. But the pedestrian in question was 84-year-old Tory peer Baroness Sharples who perhaps inspired by Lady Thatcher, swiftly delivered her own form of retribution. The veteran peeress swung her handbag and landed a sharp blow to the cyclist as he whizzed past outside the House of Lords. And she said her only regret was that she didn't hit him harder. She added that cyclists were becoming an increasing menace to pedestrians by ignoring traffic signals such as red lights and riding on pavements. And she called on cycling groups to do more to encourage courteous behaviour on the roads. Her comments reinforced calls for laws requiring cyclists to put registration plates on their bikes. Lady Sharples said she had narrowly avoided being knocked down by cyclists three times in London. Describing the most recent incident, she said: "I had a bag and I swiped him. I did not hit him hard enough. They are a ruddy nuisance. "I know they need to get to work and a lot of them behave properly, but there are an increasing number that just don't obey the lights and it's not fair on pedestrians." The widowed baroness, whose first husband Sir Richard Sharples, former Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam, was assassinated while serving as Governor of Bermuda in 1973, suggested a licensing scheme for cyclists but conceded that such a law might not be workable. "It's up to cycling organisations - they should tell their members," she said. "Laws have got to be good. If they don't work they are worse than useless." Lady Sharples said she believed male cyclists were more likely to be a menace. "Women do, in general, stop at the lights when they see somebody crossing." She raised the issue in the House of Lords during a debate on road safety. She asked the government's transport spokesman Lord Bassam: "Can the Minister say whether I am within my rights when, at a pedestrian crossing, a cyclist rides straight at me when I have the lights in my favour? "I swiped one with a bag the other day. Would I be in trouble?" Lord Bassam replied: "I will be careful on this. I am a great admirer of the noble baroness, and I think she probably did the right thing." London Mayor Ken Livingstone has sought to clamp down on dangerous cyclists with police issuing £60-on-the-spot fines for riding on pavements or jumping lights. Tory MP Mark Pritchard urged ministers to consider a registration plate system for bikes to make it easier to identify cyclists riding dangerously. He said: "Cyclist etiquette would improve if they could no longer remain anonymous." (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=508136&in_page_id=1770) I love the expression on her face in the picture!