Justice system ‘failing to protect cyclists’
A cross-party group of MPs is calling on the Government to do more to protect the safety of cyclists, particularly when it comes to removing dangerous drivers from the road.
In a new report published today (2 May), the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) says the justice system is currently failing to protect cyclists by allowing dangerous driving to go unchecked, and by letting down the victims of road crashes.
The APPCG says hundreds of thousands of crimes - committed by a ‘small minority of road users’ - are going unrecorded by the police each year, resulting in a feeling of ‘lawlessness and aggression’ that is deterring many people from cycling.
The report points to statistics which show that the number of driving bans handed out has fallen by 62% over the last 10 years, which exceeds the drop in serious motoring offences recorded over the same period.
The report - which has been welcomed by, among others, the charity Cycling UK - sets out 14 recommendations focusing on ‘preventing harm and danger in the first place’ and ‘ensuring justice where injury has resulted’.
These recommendations include revising the Highway Code to provide stronger legal grounding for a hierarchy of road users, with vulnerable road users prioritised ahead of drivers, and changing the driving test to improve driver behaviour towards cyclists.
Focussing on enforcement, the report says roads policing should be given a higher priority and that the police must ensure that a higher standard of investigation is maintained in all cases where serious injury has resulted.
In addition, the report says all police forces should ensure that evidence of common offences submitted by cyclists, or other witnesses, using bike or person mounted cameras or smartphones is put to use, and not ignored.
Expressing concern over the decline in the number of driving bans and the ‘very large numbers’ of drivers who are escaping disqualification upon reaching 12 points, the report says the Ministry of Justice should examine the reasons behind the decline, in particular the effect of the ‘exceptional hardship’ scheme.
The report also says the West Midlands Police ‘Be Safe, Give Space’ campaign has widespread support among the cycling community, and should be rolled out nationwide.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s senior road safety and legal campaigns officer, said: “This cross-party group of MPs and peers has identified the problems that affect us all – whether we’re driving, cycling or walking – and made sensible recommendations to make our roads safer.
“Cycling UK welcomes the report's recommendations and believes it should set the road safety agenda for the next Government. We hope politicians of all parties will be able to support them, and work together to prevent avoidable and dangerous incidents on our roads.”
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