Chris Boardman has called for a review of how the justice system responds to road collisions after a motorist was this week acquitted of causing the death of cyclist Michael Mason through dangerous driving in a case brought by Cycling UK’s Cyclists Defence Fund (CDF).
Gail Purcell stood trial after the CDF crowdsourced more than £75,000 to bring a private prosecution after the Metropolitan Police Service decided not to refer the case to the CPS.
Following the verdict, British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman, said:
“We are disappointed and dismayed by the outcome of a case that further highlights that a review is needed of how the justice system responds to collisions on the road.
“Everyone should be concerned about this matter – no matter how you travel – because bad driving can affect us all. The standards of what constitutes careless and dangerous driving need to be looked at very carefully to make sure cases of bad driving can be dealt with effectively.
“In any other activity we would not sit back and accept that certain actions or mistakes will inevitably cause the death of others. The police and CPS need to look carefully at this case to consider how the process of investigation and prosecution can be improved.”
CDF spokesman Duncan Dollimore also expressed concern at the message conveyed to the general public regarding driving standards.
"Careless driving is supposed to be driving which falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver. If failing to see an illuminated cyclist on a well-lit road is not careless driving, and no explanation for that failure is required, that reinforces the arguments Cycling UK has made through our Road Justice Campaign for many years: namely the definition and identification of bad driving offences needs urgent review.”
He added: “Although we can only be disappointed at the result, we hope that this case demonstrates why we need to look closely at how the justice system serves the victims of road collisions and their families, and whether the standards applied to decide what is, or is not, careless or dangerous driving are fit for purpose.”