Road safety minister to support ‘death by dangerous cycling’ law

12.11 | 11 April 2011 | | 5 comments

The government is looking to introduce a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling, according to the Guardian.

The move follows concerns that there is no suitable legislation to deal with riders who are involved in incidents such as hitting pedestrians on pavements.

According to the Guardian report, Mike Penning, road safety minister, has privately promised to support a bill presented to the House of Commons by Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, who is campaigning on behalf of a family whose daughter was killed by a cyclist.

But the plans have been criticised by cycling groups who argue such deaths are so rare that a new law is unnecessary, and that this issue is a distraction from the threat to pedestrians posed by cars.

Currently, cyclists can be fined for dangerous or careless cycling but more serious offences can only be dealt with under a section of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. Ms Leadsom MP, a regular cyclist, insists she only wants to clear up a legal anomaly and is not seeking to vilify fellow riders.

Chris Peck, the CTC’s policy co-ordinator, said: “If the DfT really wants to consider this as a serious proposal, then they need to consider the use of all road traffic offences.

“Currently, only around 25% of road deaths are prosecuted using causing death by careless or dangerous, or causing death while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We have recorded dozens of cases where the deaths of vulnerable users, including many cyclists, are simply never prosecuted."

Click here to read the full Guardian report.


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    Legislation does cater for the drivers/riders/operators of other vehicles. This is about cyclists and making them more accountable for their behaviour.

    Brian, Wales
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    This new law will only work if the cyclist can be identified, otherwise to avoid strict punishment, a cyclist would just ride off from the scene of the collision.

    This kind of law would only work if bikes are required to have some form of registration plate to make cyclists accountable and traceable. The problem of pedestrians being injured by cyclists does not warrant such a measure.

    Adam, Hants
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    Figures obtained from MAST for those who are interested:

    Between 2005 and 2009 10 pedestrians were killed in cyclist-related collisions (3 on the pavement) and 262 were seriously injured (92 on the pavement). These figures do not apportion ‘blame’ however.

    Richard, Northampton
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    As a keen cyclist, no problem with the concept, but the law should include ANYONE in charge of ANY vehicle and shouldn’t single out cyclists. As the article points out, car drivers are the biggest culprits as far as deaths are concerned.

    Rob Hattersley (Birmingham)
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    As a regular cyclist and member of the CTC, I have no problem with this law at all. Those cyclists who continue to go through red lights and cycle on pavements etc give the rest of us a bad name and there should be a suitable punishment if this behaviour has tragic consequences.

    K, Bradford
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