Lawford Kidd, Personal Injury Solicitors

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Tackling Dangerous Cycling

A recent report published by the Department for Transport has concluded that there is a strong case for changing the law to tackle the issue of dangerous and careless cycling that causes injury or death. If the recommendation is accepted by Government it would bring cycling in line with driving offences.

Cycling Safety Review

The report is a result of a review of cycling safety that was announced by the UK Government in September last year following a series of high profile incidents involving cyclists.

The review was to be conducted in two phases:

  • Phase one was to analyse the case for creating a new offence equivalent to causing death or serious injury by careless or dangerous driving to help protect both cyclists and pedestrians. 
  • The second phase will be a wider consultation on road safety issues relating to cycling.

The recently published report reflects the findings of phase one of the review.

Reaction of Road Safety Organisations

The report has been generally welcomed by road safety organisations.

“Delivering justice for those who have lost a loved one on our roads is vitally important,” said, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake. “Whether a crash was caused by a bike or a car makes no difference to the families devastated by such loss and so we welcome the move by the Government to provide parity in the law.”

However, national cycling charity Cycling UK has said that the introduction of new cycling laws would be a missed opportunity to improve road safety unless introduced as part of a comprehensive review of all road safety laws.

“What’s needed is a full review of all road traffic offences and penalties, something the Government promised back in 2014 but has yet to deliver,” explained Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns.

“Whether someone is prosecuted for careless or dangerous driving is often something of a lottery, as are the resulting sentences, leaving thousands of victims and their relatives feeling massively let down by the justice system’s failure to reflect the seriousness of bad driving,” he said.

“Adding one or two new offences specific to cyclists would just be tinkering around the edges, especially when the way that mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users is dealt with hasn’t been fit for purpose for years,” he added. “That system can’t be fixed simply by bolting on one or two new cycling offences to something which isn’t working now.”

Cyclists and Pedestrians Let Down by Existing Laws

Cycling UK highlights that the number of cases involving collisions between cyclists and pedestrians remains relatively low. In 2016, 448 pedestrians were killed on our roads, but only three of those cases involved bicycles. And in the last ten years 99.4% of all pedestrian deaths involved a motor vehicle.  

The organisation also believes that cyclists and pedestrians are regularly being failed by the existing laws on careless and dangerous driving, with only 27% of drivers convicted of death by careless driving sent to prison, for sentences on average of only 14 months.

Contact Us

If you have been injured in a cycling-related accident and would like to find out more about your compensation rights then contact our specialist personal injury lawyers today.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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