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Government agrees to introduce tougher laws for “dangerous cyclists” who kill or injure, as Transport Secretary says “it’s only right tiny minority who recklessly disregard others face full weight of the law”

Ministers back an amendment to Criminal Justice Bill, put forward by Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, to introduce the offence of ‘causing death by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate cycling, and causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate cycling

The government has agreed to introduce tougher legislation to prosecute cyclists who kill or injure through dangerous or careless cycling, after ministers backed a series of amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill tabled by Sir Iain Duncan Smith which aim to ensure people on bikes “face the same penalties as drivers and motorcyclists” responsible for the death of pedestrians.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the proposed legislation would ensure the “tiny minority” of reckless cyclists would face the “full weight of the law”, while protecting “law-abiding cyclists”.

On Wednesday, ministers supported former Conservative leader Duncan Smith’s proposal to introduce the specific offence of “causing death by dangerous, careless, or inconsiderate cycling, and causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate cycling”, which would lead to tougher penalties for those who kill or injure while riding bikes, e-bikes, electric scooters, unicycles, and “personal transporters”.

As we reported last week, the amendments would replace the current legislation with which cyclists who kill or injure while riding recklessly can be prosecuted under the 1861 ‘wanton or furious driving’ law, which carries with it a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

According to Duncan Smith’s proposals, bikes would also be legally required to be “equipped and maintained” to standards set out in the Act.

The government will now bring forward an updated amendment to Home Secretary James Cleverly’s Criminal Justice Bill before it is put up for debate in the House of Lords.

> Iain Duncan Smith calls for creation of “causing death by dangerous, careless, or inconsiderate cycling” law

The topic of dangerous cycling has attracted widespread national print and broadcast media coverage in recent weeks in the aftermath of a coroner’s inquest being told that no charges would be brought against a cyclist who was riding laps of London’s Regent’s Park when he crashed into a pensioner, causing her fatal injuries.

The cyclist, Brian Fitzgerald, was riding in a group at a speed of between 25mph and 29mph at the time of the fatal crash, which led to the death of 81-year-old Hilda Griffiths. The speed limit in the park is 20mph, but the Metropolitan Police confirmed that it does not apply to people riding bicycles (as is the case throughout the country), and that the case had been closed because there was “insufficient evidence for a real prospect of conviction”.

Duncan Smith’s amendments were welcomed by Matthew Briggs, a longstanding campaigner for a dangerous cycling law, whose wife Kim was hit and killed by a cyclist riding with no front brakes in London in 2016, with the cyclist Charlie Alliston later being jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of causing bodily harm by “wanton and furious riding”.

Announcing the government’s backing of Duncan Smith’s amendments on Wednesday, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Most cyclists, like most drivers, are responsible and considerate. But it’s only right that the tiny minority who recklessly disregard others face the full weight of the law for doing so.

“Just like car drivers who flout the law, we are backing this legislation introducing new offences around dangerous cycling. These new measures will help protect law-abiding cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users, whilst ensuring justice is done.

“I would like to thank Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP for bringing forward this amendment, and to all the campaigners who have tirelessly highlighted this issue – this is in recognition of their efforts in particular.”

> Transport Secretary says tougher laws for dangerous cyclists "under review" and will be considered "with an open mind"

The government’s backing of Duncan Smith’s amendments brings an apparent end to years of debate around tougher dangerous cycling laws, in and out of parliament.

Former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps first raised the issue in January 2022, before declaring his intention to introduce the law again later that year during his infamous summer of backpedalling and U-turns that saw him suggest – and almost immediately retract – that cyclists should have licences, number plates, be insured, and subject to speed limits.

In June 2023, however, it was reported that the Department for Transport had admitted to campaigners that there is a lack of parliamentary time to implement such a law before the next general election, with attention then being turned to a private member’s bill as the primary hope of securing legislative success for the initiative.

But in September, Justice Minister Edward Argar confirmed to parliament that the government was still considering legislation to tackle “dangerous cycling”, after former Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom asked what work was being done to “make sure that the sentencing for those convicted of dangerous cycling is equalised with the sentencing guidelines for those convicted of dangerous driving.”

And last week, in a clear indicator of the direction the government was intent on taking, Harper revealed that he was planning to review Duncan Smith’s amendments with “an open mind”.

In an interview with the Telegraph, the Transport Secretary also claimed his government remains committed to promoting active travel schemes, a claim many will question given the ongoing funding controversies and lack of mention of cycling policies during his party conference speech last autumn that was slammed by Cycling UK as an “ill-fated attempt to win” votes with pro-motoring policies, while “undermining” active travel success.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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113 comments

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wycombewheeler replied to HLaB | 2 months ago
0 likes

HLaB wrote:

Thats one very big down hill and a strong, courageous cyclist.  I've never topped out at over 50mph myself.  I doubt there's many places in the UK where it could even be achieved  7

only needs a 10% hill, with good sight lines and a straight run off.

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chrisonabike replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 2 months ago
1 like

Think someone (Rendel?) has had a look on another thread - IIRC highly unlikely wattage to achieve that posted?

EDIT - this one:

https://road.cc/content/news/cycling-live-blog-16-may-2024-308403

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Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
3 likes

Yep, I was looking at another section  of Chelsea Embankment but same figures hold good: a 70kg rider on the flat (which CE is) with no wind either way will need 3,300W on the tops or 2,600W on the drops to touch 52mph.

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eburtthebike replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 1 month ago
2 likes

"Lycra lout cyclists are creating death traps all over Britain"

Killing millions of people every year/month/week/day, unlike those lovely, friendly, law-abiding misunderstood drivers, who don't even scratch anybody, ever: it's all a lie put about by the notorious cycling lobby.

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john_smith | 2 months ago
0 likes

"Just like car drivers who flout the law, we are backing this legislation introducing new offences around dangerous cycling."

Crikey. Is it really so difficult to speak coherent English?

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wycombewheeler replied to john_smith | 2 months ago
4 likes

john_smith wrote:

"Just like car drivers who flout the law, we are backing this legislation introducing new offences around dangerous cycling."

Crikey. Is it really so difficult to speak coherent English?

sounds right to me; car drivers (who flout the law) are backing legislation on dangerous cycling, and so are the telegraph.

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Argos74 | 2 months ago
7 likes

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/hor...

Well okay. One death eight years ago determines the legislative agenda, but a death every four day (on average from the 2022 numbers) is just acceptably normal. FMJ.

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
8 likes

Dangerous cyclists

//pbs.twimg.com/media/GNs1vQPWUAM48R8?format=jpg&name=medium)

Outside the Co-Op in Stoke Newington Road. Photos by Amy Nicholson

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
5 likes

Thank you, brother or sister (and your Sheffield stand allies).  You were not lost in vain.

(Just noticing the nice juxtaposition of shops in the background - everyone's covered!)

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
6 likes

Today, @pacts and partners published a ground-breaking Road Safety Manifesto.

https://www.pacts.org.uk/manifesto-for-road-safety-2024/

 

Also today, @MPIaianDS and his backbench Bill to include cyclists in death by dangerous (cycling) driving laws, moved forward with government support. 15 people were killed in cyclist crashes.

Last week, @kimleadbeater and her backbench Bill to introduce a #GDL to support young drivers, stalled without government support. 319 people were killed in young driver crashes.

In 2021, @BorisJohnson and the national strategy to reduce all deaths and serious injuries on Britain's roads was pulled, and it remains unpublished today
@RishiSunak. 1766 people were killed in all road crashes. All road deaths have the potential to be avoided and there should be equivalence for all road users.

But: @Mark_J_Harper @GuyOpperman @transportgovuk prioritised the prevention of 15 deaths in cyclist crashes over 1766 road deaths, (including 319 in young driver crashes), and @Keir_Starmer @LouHaigh @Bill_Esterson
remain silent. #stoproaddeath #VisionZero

//pbs.twimg.com/media/GNseS-NXEAAWalL?format=jpg&name=small)

https://twitter.com/ian_m_greenwood/status/1791061993325040012

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
0 likes

I am interested to know the exact wording of all this. Currently not up to date

https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3511

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Clem Fandango | 2 months ago
12 likes

No cyclist involved, but this was in the local press recently.  Driver hits pedestrian leaving them for dead, claims he thought he'd hit a fox. (FFS!).

Four months inside & a 6 month ban.  To be fair, the rozzers seem to have done quite  lot to get a conviction for failing to stop on this one (doesn't seem to happen often) but given that to me at least, that offence is probably just as bad, if not worse than the standard of driving - it doesn't exactly smack of the "full weight of the law" getting thrown at the driver.   

Cyclists should “face the same penalties as drivers and motorcyclists” huh?   

"Yes m'lud, the sun was in my eyes, thought I'd hit a fox, little Martin's cello lesson to get to, stress at work, exceptional hardship etc. Besides, can you prove the manner of my cycling?"   

https://www.surrey.police.uk/news/surrey/news/2024/05/man-jailed-for-failing-to-stop-at-the-scene-of-a-collision/

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peted76 | 2 months ago
17 likes

This all just makes me a bit sad. As others have far more eloquently put.. there are just so many other useful/meaningful things that the .gov should have put time and energy into before spending time on this law. It's not right and I cannot wait to see the back of this government (not that I think the next set of ankles will be any better). 

Although I do also have obvious sympathy for Mr Briggs and the case of his wife being run over.. it still grates that she simply stepped out into the road without looking and happened to get crashed into by a moving vehicle which just so happened to be ridden by, as it turns out, an arsehole. A series of unusual circumstance was the cause of that death.. aaaand he had the full force of the law thrown at him. BUT a cyclist victim getting mowed down from behind at 60mph or more on a straight road by a distracted driver gets treated like it was unavoidable and the driver argues it was sun in their eyes, or the cyclist was wearing black and no one in government blinks an eyelid. Where's the morality in our justice system for that?

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
8 likes

Although it would be rarely used, I fear that anyone tried would receive an unfair press and unfair sentence.

This local story has a lot of anti-cyclist comments which I fear would be found in any jury.

https://www.gazette-news.co.uk/news/24314923.colchester-cyclist-left-bro...

Hit and run, no insurance

Comments section

Ban Cycling

Simple set of instructions for cyclists: 1. Upon arrival at roundabout: stop 2. Get off cycle. 3. Use pedestrian crossing rules and cross roads wheeling cycle. 4. Mount cycle after crossing junction and carry on.

Remove the hazard, ban Cycling

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stonojnr replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
4 likes

Maybe this also proves the point, but how has this case not been front and centre on the news this week

https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/birmingham-teenager-...

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andystow replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
3 likes

Hirsute wrote:

Simple set of instructions for cyclists: 1. Upon arrival at roundabout: stop 2. Get off cycle. 3. Use pedestrian crossing rules and cross roads wheeling cycle. 4. Mount cycle after crossing junction and carry on.

"Work to rule" comes to mind. I think that if somehow every UK cyclist did that one day, this commenter's response would be "no, not like that!" Drivers do have to stop for pedestrians crossing, right?

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chrisonabike replied to andystow | 2 months ago
3 likes

More malicious compliance: perhaps one day per year could be nominated as "here's what you get when you discourage active travel" day.   All those who replaced driven journeys with cycled ones (and walked ones?) at some point during the previous year could hire a Luton truck each (IIRC basic licence covers that) and drive about, showing how much things would be improved if we didn't have to allocate all that space* for pedestrians and cyclists not to use.

* Half a metre here, 1.5 metres there...

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Cycloid | 2 months ago
8 likes

I have said this before

This has nothing to do with Road Safety or Justice - it is the Government Posturing before an Election.

We have a divisive Government which uses hatred to divert attention from the real issues.  Any minority group becomes a target, Illegal Immigrants, Anyone on Benefits, Public Servants, Climate activists, Cyclists......... Remember our Prime Minister is on the side of the motorist.

Cyclists and cycling has become an election casualty.

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Hirsute | 2 months ago
12 likes

This just came up

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/articles/cqvnvpxejv8o

I can just imagine the headlines and witch hunt if it were a cyclist. As it is the sentence "Police Scotland said the 40-year-old man driving the car was not injured." sums up the absurb car culture we have.

As earlier, why not spend parliamentary time on

New laws for hit and run offenders

Allowing death by careless driving sentences to be appealed by families under the unduly lenient sentences scheme

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dubwise replied to Hirsute | 2 months ago
2 likes

That is Polis Scotland in a nutshell, only care about drivers.

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OldRidgeback | 2 months ago
5 likes

It's a pointless law that'll probably be used only in extremely rare casis. But it's met a need to satisfy the frothing rage of Tory MPs thinking it'll win them some votes.

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stonojnr replied to OldRidgeback | 2 months ago
4 likes

And I look forward to the rounds of opposition MPs who will stand up to oppose it, starting with the all party parliamentary group for cycling and walking.

But suspect I might be waiting as long as any of them to decry it, as its taken the current lot to carry out their comprehensive review of road safety and laws

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NotNigel | 2 months ago
7 likes

Not sure what everyone's worried about.  
In the unfortunate event that one of us was on the receiving end of this charge, we've accumulated every excuse under the (blinding) sun courtesy of the stories from this site,  to get off  scott free.

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lesterama replied to NotNigel | 2 months ago
7 likes

Ah, didn't you realise? Those excuses only apply to motorists, not car-dodging people on bikes.

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ubercurmudgeon | 2 months ago
14 likes

Iain Duncan Smith is an expert in the best use of parliamentary time. After all, when Boris Johnson was rushing his Brexit withdrawal agreement through, he said that "if there is anything about this arrangement that we have not now debated, thrashed to death, I would love to know what it is." He found out, half a year later, when he declared his hatred for the agreement, and that there was "£160 billion liability for the UK buried in the fine print" (although that figure he got from The Sun, showing his other major talent, that for getting his facts from reliable and dispassionate sources.)

A far more worthwhile law would be "causing death by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate politicking", which Mr. Duncan Smith would be banged to rights for, given that he led the introduction of Universal Credit which has blighted, and undoubtedly contributed to the ending of, countless lives.

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ROOTminus1 replied to ubercurmudgeon | 2 months ago
5 likes

He is a dangerous man; ineptitude wrapped in a facade of unassuming banality.
His cockups are constantly overshadowed by the scandals of others, which is easy for someone whose demeanor made John Major look like a wild-child, whilst being amongst such out of touch characters as dePfeffel, Sunak, Mogg, Truss, Currie, et.al.

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Sikh On A bike | 2 months ago
5 likes

What about car drivers who kill cyclists getting the full weight of leniency i have been hit once driver was given driving awareness
The next 2 deliberate intimidations TVP just said don't be naughty to the driver even though I had video

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brooksby | 2 months ago
10 likes

As has been pointed out - how would they propose to define "careless/inconsiderate/etc" in a cycling context? You can't go with the "below the level of a reasonable cyclist" because any fule kno that no cyclists behaviour is reasonable. You can't point at whether they'd fail a driving (cycling) test if they'd done "that" because there is no cycling test or licence.

Or will it go with some Kafka style test where if you are arrested and charged then you MUST be guilty because if you were innocent then you wouldn't have been arrested in the first place...?

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Tom_77 replied to brooksby | 2 months ago
0 likes

brooksby wrote:

As has been pointed out - how would they propose to define "careless/inconsiderate/etc" in a cycling context? You can't go with the "below the level of a reasonable cyclist" because any fule kno that no cyclists behaviour is reasonable. You can't point at whether they'd fail a driving (cycling) test if they'd done "that" because there is no cycling test or licence.

Road Traffic Act 1988 defines dangerous cycling:

Quote:

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.

and careless cycling:

Quote:

If a person rides a cycle on a road without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road

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brooksby replied to Tom_77 | 2 months ago
6 likes

But that's my point - the man on the Clapham Omnibus thinks every cyclist rides at below the standard of being competent and careful...

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