The introduction of a 'death by dangerous cycling' law, proposed by then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last year, is unlikely to be passed before the next general election due to a lack of parliamentary time.
According to The Sunday Telegraph, the Department for Transport has told campaigners, many of whom are bereaved relatives, that the proposed update to the law — which can currently see a cyclist who kills while riding recklessly jailed for a maximum of two years under the 1861 wanton or furious driving law — will struggle to be passed before the next election, expected to be held in January 2025.
It has been suggested that ministers may instead turn to a private member's bill — proposed by individual MPs or Lords, rather than the government — a DfT source telling the newspaper "handout private member's bills are a normal way for the government to deliver uncontentious new statute".
However, only a few bills of this type are enacted, raising fears among campaigners that the introduction of such a law, that would see cyclists guilty of the offence facing the same punishment as drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving, is being delayed and may never come about.
Matthew Briggs — whose wife Kim was killed by London fixed wheel cyclist Charlie Alliston, the 20-year-old sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders institution back in 2017 — said he was "deeply disappointed" to meet Roads Minister Richard Holden a few weeks ago and be told of the delay.
Mr Briggs launched his campaign after Alliston's sentencing and suggested the DfT has "become cowed by the militant fringes of the cycling lobby".
"Or were Mr Shapps' announcements last year simply an act of political opportunism?" he asked. "At the heart of this are grieving families calling for a very straightforward legal change which the government's own advisers recommended nearly seven years ago."
A source close to Shapps, who was moved to Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero four weeks after proposing the change, insisted he had believed the change possible at the time.
"Grant knows nothing can repair the pain caused by losing a loved one, but he also believed changes to the law could be made," they told the Telegraph. "However, he left his role at the Department for Transport just four weeks after proposing the change."
A DfT spokesperson added: "We are clear that dangerous cycling is completely unacceptable. There are laws in place to prosecute those who cycle irresponsibly and we are considering legislation to further address this issue."
Diana Walker was 77 when she was hit and killed in a 2016 collision involving a cyclist in Pewsey, Wiltshire, her husband Peter saying ministers' hands are being tied by "a left-wing cycling fraternity" of DfT civil servants.
"I'm absolutely fed up with them," he said. "All we are asking is that if a cyclist causes a pedestrian's death it should be treated in the same way as any other road accident with commensurate legislation."
Another bereaved relative, Christine Berridge, said she feels "terribly let down".
"These ministers have been promising to change the laws and nothing has happened. More people will have to die until something actually happens."
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.