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British Cycling calls for end to "hazardous leniency" in sentencing of drivers who kill or injure cyclists

"Greater consistency in the way police deal with incidents on the road": The governing body has joined forces with law firm Leigh Day to sponsor an All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking report which will be published in Parliament today...

British Cycling has spoken out about "hazardous leniency" in sentencing of drivers who kill or injure cyclists and pedestrians, which "enables even the most persistent and reckless offenders to evade justice", and has called for change.

Along with the governing body's legal partner, Leigh Day, British Cycling has sponsored the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking's (APPGCW) latest report, due to be published in Parliament today, making recommendations to improve safety on Britain's roads.

British Cycling marked the day of the report being published by emphasising a desire to see "changes to the justice system to clamp down on repeat road offenders" and bring an end to "hazardous leniency which allows some offenders to escape driving bans or being held accountable for their actions."

"Both organisations want to see greater consistency in the way police deal with incidents on the road with a national protocol rolled out to ensure a basic standard of evidence gathering is used up and down the country," British Cycling explained.

The cross-party APPGCW's report suggests numerous changes that could make the roads safer, including escalating penalties for repeat offenders, increasing the maximum sentence for dangerous driving, and removing the ability for magistrates to grant exceptional hardship, ensuring an automatic ban for those reaching 12 points until a successful appeal is heard in the Crown Court.

> Cycling UK calls for end to loophole that allows drivers with 12 points to avoid ban

The escalating penalties for repeat offenders suggestion would reflect a similar step to what is already in place for drug dealing and domestic burglary offences, while the report also calls for "greater consistency when police investigate serious collisions" through a standardised reporting system across all forces for obtaining statements from witnesses and collecting evidence.

British Cycling, Leigh Day, Cycling UK, and the Metropolitan Police service were some of the organisations who offered insight for the report, which also calls for crash victims to be treated as victims of crime at the scene of the incident, to provide them with "vital rights relating to submitting and receiving information and receiving adequate support".

"Enables even the most persistent and reckless offenders to evade justice"

Commenting on British Cycling's role in the report, CEO Jon Dutton said the governing body is "all too aware of the hazardous leniency embedded in our current legal system" and hoped the report could "act as a catalyst for discussion" ahead of the next General Election.

"Through our work with Leigh Day to support British Cycling members involved in incidents on the road, we are all too aware of the hazardous leniency embedded in our current legal system, which enables even the most persistent and reckless offenders to evade justice," he said.

"We know that cycling has a vital role to play helping people to lead more active lives, reducing congestion in our towns and cities and connecting communities – but for too long its potential has been hamstrung by the pervasive and malevolent impact of dangerous driving. As we look ahead to next year's General Election, we hope that this report will act as a catalyst for discussion and developing solutions amongst all of the major parties."

A senior solicitor at Leigh Day, Rory McCarron, added: "In our work for British Cycling's members and other injured cyclists and pedestrians we see numerous cases involving serious injury where the police have simply failed to collate even the most basic evidence such as witness statements and video footage.

"This means a prosecution is not pursued, allowing a dangerous road user to continue without any punishment. Often it appears this is because there are no robust and consistent procedures in place for officers to follow in relation to road traffic collisions.

"At times, it is only as a result of the injured person bringing a civil legal case that results in evidence, including video footage, being gathered which is then passed onto the police to secure a prosecution. Much more needs to be done to improve the handling of road traffic collision investigations to really protect vulnerable road users."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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9 comments

Avatar
leedorney | 5 months ago
2 likes

It's not difficult - the police/CPS need to get their house in order!

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wtjs replied to leedorney | 5 months ago
2 likes

the police/CPS need to get their house in order!

These duff organisations are not even slightly interested in enforcing traffic law- it's all too much trouble for them. This is black Nissan Navara WU59 UMH, regularly seen with large trailer around Garstang- over 6 years without MOT, insurance and VED- not much like they show on the telly is it? In the fictional world the vehicle is towed away, but in real police life illegal vehicles are condoned by the police. Reported months ago to two different, equally indolent and useless reporting portals in Lancashire Constabulary. Those offences are easily confirmed- little hope, then, for offences against cyclists which most police officers snigger at, as 'not real offences'.

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lonpfrb | 5 months ago
3 likes

Still failing to connect Road Danger to the Active Travel objective i.e. Department of Culture Media and Sports to Department of Transport responsibilities.

Nobody wants to accept the risk of being killed or seriously injured for the benefits of active travel. So attitudes to vulnerable road users must change which is the responsibility of the Department of Culture Media and Sports.

It's clear that the Highway Code rule Hierarchy of Responsibility has made little impact so the Department of Transport is failing to deliver Active Travel by itself and must work with the root cause and responsible Department.

The Department of Culture Media and Sports has clearly failed to protect vulnerable road users with the light touch regulation of the Editors Code of Conduct and IPSO so that it's time to make cyclist a protected characteristic to minimise hate speech in the mainstream and social media.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to lonpfrb | 5 months ago
5 likes
lonpfrb wrote:

Still failing to connect Road Danger to the Active Travel objective i.e. Department of Culture Media and Sports to Department of Transport responsibilities.

Nobody wants to accept the risk of being killed or seriously injured for the benefits of active travel. So attitudes to vulnerable road users must change which is the responsibility of the Department of Culture Media and Sports.

It's clear that the Highway Code rule Hierarchy of Responsibility has made little impact so the Department of Transport is failing to deliver Active Travel by itself and must work with the root cause and responsible Department.

The Department of Culture Media and Sports has clearly failed to protect vulnerable road users with the light touch regulation of the Editors Code of Conduct and IPSO so that it's time to make cyclist a protected characteristic to minimise hate speech in the mainstream and social media.

I'm in two minds about whether cycling should be a protected characteristic. On the one hand, it would make it easier to shut down the idiots spewing anti cycling propaganda, but on the other hand it almost diminishes the idea of a protected characteristic. Whilst cyclists are injured and killed on the roads, the problem is nowhere near the size of problems that various skin colours and sexualities have had to face over the decades/centuries.

What I'd prefer is if traffic policing was emphasised. Make it so that drivers believe that they WILL get caught if they regularly speed or use a phone. Also, tighten up the sentencing guidelines and fix the jury problem with careless/dangerous court cases - ideally bring in a driving test examiner to provide expert opinion about whether driving would be an instant fail during a driving test and have the judge instruct the jury that driving below the standard of a driving test is definitely careless driving and if it has a high chance of causing injury (or did), then it counts as dangerous.

We already have relevant legislation around road use, so it's a matter of making that relevant rather than ignored. Once the police are on top of things, it won't matter so much if MSM are pushing anti-cyclist tripe as motorists would be removed from the roads if they persist in abusing cyclists.

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grOg replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago
0 likes

'I'm in two minds about whether cycling should be a protected characteristic. On the one hand, it would make it easier to shut down the idiots spewing anti cycling propaganda, but on the other hand it almost diminishes the idea of a protected characteristic. Whilst cyclists are injured and killed on the roads, the problem is nowhere near the size of problems that various skin colours and sexualities have had to face over the decades/centuries'.. for a second, I thought I was in the Guardian comment section.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to grOg | 5 months ago
3 likes
grOg wrote:

for a second, I thought I was in the Guardian comment section.

Because you read a sensible, nuanced and thoughtful comment?

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chrisonabike | 5 months ago
9 likes

Don't panic drivers!  First, the police have to catch you!  These are the folks who say "well - there are a lot of those kind of cars about" or who conduct investigations by asking searching questions like "do you remember hitting someone?" to which you can try saying "No, I've not memory of that" - often that's enough!

Even in the event they pin you down, you've then got the CPS watching out for you.  They're normally good for reducing the charges.  If it still gets to court you can deploy the usual excuses or just keep shtum - as long as you've not been wildly intoxicated the odds are with you.  Everything failed?  Have you some relative, friend or employees who might be negatively impacted if you weren't driving about?  (sad face).

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Dogless | 5 months ago
4 likes

This almost (almost!) sounds like British Cycling actually doing something to encourage/protect cyclists. Are they feeling ok?

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Clem Fandango | 5 months ago
17 likes

Just did a quick Google search for news on this.  Not disappointed.  The headlines from the usual suspects all seem to frame it as another covert operation in the alleged "war on motorists" & pretty much unanamously describe it as a report by "pro cycling" MPs (ie biased & to be immediately discounted - unlike any "pro motoring" activity over the last 50+ years, or anti-environmental policy sponsored by the interests of oil companies & the like). 

My favourite is the Express reporting "Outrage" at motorists facing being fined for going 1mph over the speed limit.   Yet I seem to remember them getting very giddy at suggestions (from Grant Schapps - LOL) last year that cyclists would have to have number plates & obey speed limits because they "shouldn't get away with" things like breaking speed limits.  Who'd have thought it....

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