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Simplify and improve the legal definitions of unsafe driving says Cycling UK

Cycling UK campaigning to end road traffic injustice

Cycling UK has called for clarity on the legal definitions for unsafe driving, renewing its call for the Government to undertake an urgent review of road traffic laws. “Every death or serious injury is a tragedy but too often families are also being let down by loopholes and a legal system that victims and bereaved relatives don’t think treats road crime seriously,” said Duncan Dollimore, the charity’s head of campaigns.

“Road crime is real crime,” he added, “and today we’re calling on the Government to take action and carry out the full review of road traffic offences, as it promised four years ago.”

Cycling UK says significant improvements could be made by addressing three key areas:

  • By simplifying and improving the legal definitions of unsafe driving behaviour
  • By increasing the use of driving disqualifications and closing the ‘exceptional hardship’ loophole
  • By increasing the current six month maximum prison sentence for drivers who fail to stop

The campaign is being supported by Brake, the road safety charity, and Roadpeace, the national charity for road crash victims.

If you agree with the campaign and want to add your voice, you can do so here.

Cycling UK points to two prominent cases which it says highlight the need for a review.

In 2015, cyclist Lee Martin was killed by driver Christopher Gard who was texting at the wheel of his van. Gard had been convicted of using his phone while driving on six previous occasions but had been allowed to keep his licence.

In 2014, Michael Mason died after he was hit from behind by a driver on Regent Street in London. The driver claimed she didn’t see him.  After the police declined to charge her, a private prosecution was brought for causing death by careless driving.

After the driver was acquitted, Mason's daughter, Anna Tatton-Brown, said: "It seems that failing to be aware of what’s in front of you while you’re driving is an acceptable mistake, not careless, and that no explanation for that failure is necessary.”

Earlier this month, the Department for Transport announced it was opening a consultation into new offences of causing death by careless or serious cycling.

Cycling UK believes this is merely tinkering around the edges of road safety and that the Government should use the opportunity to fulfil its commitment to a wider review, promised in 2014.

Dollimore said: “Since the Government made that promise, it’s estimated that over 1,800 pedestrians have died on Britain’s roads.

“In 2016, the last full year we have full casualty figures for, 445 pedestrians died in collisions with motor vehicles, and three in collisions with cyclists, but the Government plan to review cycling offences and ignore the main cause of road danger.

“This is a serious issue being overlooked by the Government, especially when you consider that in the last ten years 99.4% of all pedestrian deaths involved a motor vehicle.

“It’s time the Government took this problem seriously and ended the injustice suffered by far too many families who are being let down by the system.”

Cycling UK has released a video to coincide with the launch of its campaign, and is urging as many people as possible to take action by following its campaign action.”

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