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Bike rider fined £440 for “dangerous cycling”

Circumstances behind prosecution following incident in Buckinghamshire are unclear

A man has been fined £440 after being convicted of dangerous cycling by magistrates in Buckinghamshire.

The Bucks Free Press reports that Jack Lang, aged 25 and from Old Wolverton, committed the offence on 5 February this year on Hardwick Road, Woburn Sands.

He did not enter a plea, but was found guilty on 4 August at a hearing at Wycombe Magistrates’ Court. He was also ordered to pay £154 costs.

The circumstances of the incident that led to Lang being charged were not reported, and we have sought clarification from Thames Valley Police, which is responsible for policing in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

Dangerous cycling is an offence under section 28 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended), which states:

(1) A person who rides a cycle on a road dangerously is guilty of an offence.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above a person is to be regarded as riding dangerously if (and only if) —

(a) the way he rides falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist, and

(b) it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.

(3) In subsection (2) above “dangerous” refers to danger either of injury to any person or of serious damage to property; and in determining for the purposes of that subsection what would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.”

Given the offence with which Lang was charged, however, it appears that no-one was injured by his actions, otherwise he would more likely have been charged with causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

Whatever the circumstances – and we will update this story once we have been able to establish them – one thing the case does highlight is that whatever the mainstream media narrative over the past week or so, cyclists are subject to road laws, and can be punished for breaking them.

The main reason such cases seldom appear before the courts, however, is that the focus of police and prosecutors when pursuing road traffic offences is placed on incidents in which most harm is done, whether that be someone sustaining serious injury or losing their life – and in the vast majority of those, the accused will have been driving a motor vehicle.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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