Cycling UK says that an ongoing government review is only likely to result in new careless and dangerous cycling offences, and describes such an outcome as “a patch-up job rather than the holistic review required.”
The government announced a two-part review of cycle safety in September in the wake of “a series of high profile incidents involving cyclists” – thought to be a reference to the case in which pedestrian Kim Briggs lost her life following a collision with cyclist Charlie Alliston.
The first phase of the review is looking at whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists. The review will then move onto wider improvements to cycling road safety.
Speaking to Sky News this week, Kim Briggs’ husband Matthew renewed his call for a new offence of causing death or injury by dangerous or careless cycling.
"I maintain that the law is hopelessly out of date,” he said. "A week after Kim died I received a call from the police to say there was an issue with the bike and they were considering bringing charges but they didn't know which charges they could bring because these laws weren't there.”
Describing an 18-month wait for the case to go to trial, he added: "I don't blame the police at all for this but the police had to go back to 1861 to scrabble around in a box of old laws, when it's very, very clear this is just an omission and we need the law to catch up."
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said the charity was expecting to hear the government’s proposals later this month.
“Unfortunately, despite the representations made by us and others, the Department for Transport appears to have undertaken this as a discrete inquiry, without carrying out the broader review of all road traffic offences promised back in 2014.
“Instead of asking whether the definitions of and standards for ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ actually work when applied to offences by any road user, Government seems keen on only adding new careless and dangerous cycling offences: a patch up job rather than the holistic review required.”
Dollimore is also calling for support from the cycling public ahead of the second part of the review to ensure anti-cycling campaigners do not redirect it towards further regulation of cycling.
“Also expected this month is the launch of the government’s inquiry into cycle safety, which they have repeatedly claimed will be evidence led.
“Whilst that may well be their intention, we know from the media coverage following the Alliston case that there will be numerous individuals and organisations who use this opportunity to press for further regulation of cycling, ignoring the principal causes of danger to cyclists and pedestrians.
“Cycling UK is therefore going to need all the support offered by our members and the wider cycling public when the cycle safety review is launched, to make sure it’s not side-tracked by peripheral issues and the focus remains on the safety of people cycling and other vulnerable road users, not on victim blaming.
“We know that road.cc readers will understand the importance of this, and we will be asking as many as possible to respond to the review and support Cycling UK’s submissions.”