A consultation initiated by the UK Department of Transport, which investigates the possibility of introducing an offence for cyclists that cause a death through dangerous cycling, has been criticised by some cycling groups as ‘tinkering around the edges’.
The national cycling and walking minister, Jesse Norman stated: “In recent weeks we have announced a range of measures designed to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. These include new measures to combat close passing, training for driving instructors, better collision investigation and £100m in new investment through the Safer Roads Fund. Now we are taking further steps - these include a consultation on new cycling offences, further work on national guidance on cycling and walking infrastructure, and improvements to the Highway Code. All these measures are designed to support the continued growth of cycling and walking, with all the benefits they bring to our communities, economy, environment and society.”
According to the campaign group Cycling UK however, there are concerns that these measures are only covering up the Government’s lack of success in dealing with wider road safety problems. The group’s head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore argued that: “Adding one or two new offences specific to cyclists would be merely tinkering around the edges. If the Government is serious about addressing behaviour that puts others at risk on our roads, they should grasp the opportunity to do the job properly, rather than attempt to patch up an area of legislation that’s simply not working. We need a full review - something promised by the Government in 2014 - because the way the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users hasn’t been fit for purpose for years.”
Currently, the number of pedestrian deaths caused by cyclists is a relatively minor problem in the UK: only three out of the 448 pedestrian deaths on the UK's roads in 2016 involved bicycles, whereas 99.4 % of pedestrian deaths over the last 10 years involved a motor vehicle. However, with cycling increasing in many areas, the Government wants to ensure that cyclists act responsibility and would be penalised in the same way as other road users for endangering others.
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Source: story first published by LocalGov on 13/08/2018