While Andrea Leadsom MP vows to carry on despite the Commons setback, without Government backing her Private Members Bill on causing death by dangerous cycling is unlikely to progress further, according to the Guardian’s bike blog.
Ms Leadsom’s campaign followed the death of Rhiannon Bennett who died after being struck by a cyclist in 2007.
The proposal by Ms Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, was to introduce a specific offence of causing death by dangerous cycling. Ms Leadsom argued that a new law was necessary as the current offence of dangerous cycling has a maximum penalty of £2,500, with no possibility of a prison sentence.
According to the Guardian blog, Mike Penning, road safety minister, promised he would back the proposal, and the DfT confirmed it would "consider the merits" of the new law.
In April 2011, the Guardian ran a ‘Comment is Free’ article, voicing the concern of cycling groups about the proposed law. The main objection boiled down to the fact that pedestrian deaths from cyclists are so incredibly rare that the law would be both a near-irrelevance and a distraction from the greater peril posed to pedestrians (and other road users) from motor vehicles.
A statement from Andrea Leadsom says: “Despite the Bill not receiving its second reading on Friday, I will not let this rest. I will continue to campaign for justice for Rhiannon and to update the 1861 Offences Against the Persons Act to ensure dangerous cycling can be dealt with in the same way as dangerous motoring. I will continue to keep pressure on the minister who I know takes a keen interest.”
A statement from Mike Penning said: “I am clear that everyone who uses the road – including cyclists – have a responsibility to behave safely and with consideration for others. We are investigating how existing legislation is working to establish if any changes are needed to ensure justice in these sorts of cases and whether there is a route to address these difficulties without the need for new primary legislation.”
Click here to read the full Guardian bike blog report.