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'Dangerous cycling bill' will not become law, after UK general election announced by Rishi Sunak

The amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill was due to be debated in the House of Lords on 6 June, but will now fall through after the Parliament’s prorogation

The amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill set to introduce tougher legislation for cyclists who kill or injure through dangerous or careless cycling, after being agreed upon last week, is now set to be ditched due to yesterday's announcement by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling for a general election on 4 July, it has been reported.

On 15 May, ministers supported former Conservative leader Sir Iain 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".

> 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”

The amendments would have replaced 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. 

However, now Forbes' transport journalist Carlton Reid has reported that the amendment will now not go forward, with an announcement published on the House of Lords Library yesterday saying that the Bill is set to be debated in the second chamber of the Parliament on 6 June, now rendered void.

"There isn’t enough time for [the law to pass through the House of Lords],| a parliamentary insider has been quoted as saying. Reid adds: "This is because the Criminal Justice Bill is contentious legislation and could have been challenged by the upper chamber. Other laws are likely to passed in the so-called 'wash-up' period before parliament is dissolved on May 30 ahead of election campaigning."

Duncan Smith’s amendments had been 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".

> “That new dangerous cycling law can’t come soon enough”: BMW driver crashes spectacularly into bike stand on pavement – prompting cyclists to ask, “when will Mark Harper do anything about this?”

After the news that the proposed bill will not be made into a law, the 'KimBriggsCampaign' Twitter account, which has been calling for the "dangerous cycling law" to be introduced into the Criminal Justice Bill, said: "Whilst I’m no const[itutional] expert - I understand that all legislation passing through Lords will fall after prorogation.

Previously, Matthew Briggs, who runs the account, had said that he will delete his seven-year-old social media accounts pressing for a law change but he will now continue campaigning.

"If that’s the case then we will be back. The bill has cross party backing & the main work is done. These incidents will keep happening and the spotlight will return. There are a number of possible routes being by highlighted to me this evening," he wrote.

As of now, Labour whips are said to be holding talks to work out what outstanding legislation can become law before the end of the current parliamentary session, which includes extending support for passing the Victims and Prisoners Bill to establish a compensation scheme for victims of the NHS infected blood scandal. However, it's alluded that the Criminal Justice Bill will not receive such backing.

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."

> "If the aviation or rail industry had the safety record that roads do, planes would be grounded, and trains would be stopped": Brake road safety charity latest to respond to government's 'dangerous cycling' bill

In January 2022, Former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps first raised the issue 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.

On Tuesday, the ministers' decision to pass the amendment was slammed by the road safety charity Brake, which responded by calling the attention and emphasis placed on cycling as "disproportionate". 

Brake cited statistics that shown nine people were killed in collisions involving a cyclist between 2018-2022, while just in 2022, 1,766 people died and 29,000 were injured on the roads in total. The charity mentions Chris Boardman's interview on BBC News, in which he said more people are killed by lightning and cows each year than cyclists. 

Brake's CEO Ross Moorlock said: "Every road death and injury is devastating for the families involved, and we welcome robust and fair sentencing for any road user who kills or harms through reckless behaviour.

"However, it feels that the focus being given to this announcement – by both Government and the media – is disproportionate given the true extent of road casualties across the UK, and the lack of commitment from this Government to address road safety at a strategic level.

"If the aviation or rail industry had the safety record that roads do, planes would be grounded, and trains would be stopped.

"Given the Government is so eager to act on dangerous cycling, we ask that they now continue this trend, by introducing further legislation that ensures that we see a significant and sustained reduction in road death and injury both this year and in the years to come."

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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48 comments

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David9694 | 2 weeks ago
1 like

Saturday: bring back National Service (Monday: and we'll make you an un-person if you don't join in); at that rate, it'll be helmets and insurance for cyclists by Thursday. 

PS Forgot to turn my ad blocker on - look what it's serving up!

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Hirsute replied to David9694 | 2 weeks ago
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There will be an option to stand by traffic lights and arrest red lights jumping cyclists instead of joining up.
My wife thinks national service is great. There will be a massive contract variation order on the garrison contract she works on. Building new accommodation, maintenance of it, security, catering, barrack damage.
Trebles all round!!

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Cycle Happy | 2 weeks ago
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On 15 May, ministers supported former Conservative leader Sir Iain 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".

No doubt this will have already been mentioned but I somehow missed it, but electric scooters are motor vehicles so already covered by death from and serious injury by dangerous driving. I also believe the electric cycle reference is, to all intents and purposes, directed towards illegal electric cycles, so again already covered by driving laws as they are motor vehicles.

In addition to the governments and media's efforts to make cyclists a disliked out group, I believe that the non enforcement of the road traffic laws of illegal electric cycles does huge damage to the general negative attitude towards cyclists. During my fortunately brief times spent in city centres, my head is on a swivel trying to navigate as an able bodied pedestrian as adult males ride their illegal heavy over powered throttle controlled electric (motor) cycles at speed between pedestrians without pedalling. It is a thoroughly unpleasant environment. As a partially sighted or physically vulnerable person it must be terrifying. The offenders are typically food delivery riders. These illegal electric cycles conflate in the mind of the ignorant or misled to be grouped as cycles and the riders as cyclists, rather than the motor cyclists they actually are. These illegal motorcyclists are in conflict with pedestrians as they are often on footpaths or shared use paths to access the takeaways they are delivering from and city centre flats they are delivering to. The illegal electric cycles are heavier than a lot of legal electric cycles, ridden at high speed as they are derestricted, over powered, throttle controlled and most importantly ridden by people motivated by speed as that equates directly to pay received.

Enforcing the existing laws relating to these illegal electric motorcyclists would prevent way more injuries (whether minor or serious) and deaths than introducing new laws targeting cyclists who are not the true problem group. I don't mind the principle of introducing laws to cover death by and serious injury by careless cycling but I strongly object to the intentionally misleading and disproportionate claims in trying to justify it. If the government wanted to protect pedestrians from injury, they would invest heavily in cycling infrastructure, pedestrian infrastructure and enforce the existing road traffic laws to get the illegal and dangerous drivers off the roads, pavements and shared paths.

It would be easy too in relation to illegal electric motorcyclists. Town centre CCTV already captures the evidence of them not pedalling up to the takeaways. Their illegal motorbikes could easily be seized as they are stationary waiting to collect their deliveries and the motorcyclists prosecuted for insurance and licence offences. There are so many of these offenders now through a long period of non enforcement, I believe it would only be fair to give a month or two of warnings before an enforcement crackdown and to include the delivery companies and takeaways in this pre enforcement engagement. It would be in their interest to only employ legal riders, else their food is at significant risk of not getting delivered and they lose custom, so would quickly begin to police itself.

An added benefit would be reduced fire risk in people's homes from the home brew electric motorcycles having been removed.

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chrisonabike replied to Cycle Happy | 2 weeks ago
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I'm mostly with you here but a point of pedantry:

Cycle Happy wrote:

The offenders are typically food delivery riders. These illegal electric cycles conflate in the mind of the ignorant or misled to be grouped as cycles and the riders as cyclists, rather than the motor cyclists they actually are. These illegal motorcyclists are in conflict with pedestrians as they are often on footpaths or shared use paths to access the takeaways they are delivering from and city centre flats they are delivering to. [...] Enforcing the existing laws relating to these illegal electric motorcyclists would prevent way more injuries (whether minor or serious) and deaths than introducing new laws targeting cyclists who are not the true problem group.

Do you have figures here?  I mean "stands to reason" but some non-anecdata would help.  I agree they're disconcerting and sometimes poorly ridden.  But in my experience - in or near the centre of town - while some are clearly not legal (lack of pedalling while ascending hills) these folks are not e.g. actually doing much more than the expected top speed limit.  At least I seem to be keeping pace with them or even overtaking on the flat and I'm no racing snake (]panniers, mudguards, hub gears, heavy lock, dynamo...).

The full-on electric motorbikes (which have zipped past me at 20mph and up) seem to be more of a thing out in the suburbs, ridden by masked youth, presumably delivering things which lighter and higher-value than pizzas or curries.

I would agree that those delivery bikes are heavy and I've heard (from bike shop staff) that unsurprisingly they're ... indifferently maintained.  (The game in Edinburgh seems to be companies set up and rent them out for a fairly stiff price.  So to split the cost several guys will band together and rent one, then basically run it 24/7.)

Cycle Happy wrote:

[...] before an enforcement crackdown and to include the delivery companies and takeaways in this pre enforcement engagement. It would be in their interest to only employ legal riders, else their food is at significant risk of not getting delivered and they lose custom, so would quickly begin to police itself.

At least the app-based food delivery companies appear to have the wheeze of getting several cost savings through the "not our employees" strategy as a foundation of their business model.  And I think they largely won the last legal round on that point.  So I wouldn't expect much from them.

I really think it's to the detriment of (almost) everyone to allow companies to outsource costs, responsibilities towards their staff AND risk to the public.  Without them having more skin in the game I think a strategy of "just take out the guys on the street corners" is going to cost a lot and achieve little.

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Cycle Happy replied to chrisonabike | 2 weeks ago
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I don't have any figures and haven't looked for any either. I doubt they would exist and even if they did would be inaccurate. My whole comment is just my opinion. My further opinion is that the figures would be inaccurate because the majority of minor injuries and a significant proportion of the serious injury incidents would never be attended and thus recorded incorrectly as involving a cycle as that is how the other party would describe it. Only the properly investigated ones would be attended and it be established that the involved vehicle was a motorcycle. The type of electric motorcycles I witnessed and am referring to are not generally the 30mph plus ones but home brew and over powered or derestricted ones. They weren't doing over 20mph, more like between 10 and 15mph. A speed that I could easily cycle in a straight line on that street, but not when weaving in and out of pedestrians. As they are throttle controlled, they appear to comfortably maintain a much higher velocity whilst weaving than a pedal cycle.

I completely agree re the allowing of companies to outsource their costs and responsibilities. I do think they would be impacted though and would expect some traction from them as their supply of delivery riders would be less than their demand for service.

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brooksby replied to chrisonabike | 2 weeks ago
3 likes
chrisonabike wrote:

At least the app-based food delivery companies appear to have the wheeze of getting several cost savings through the "not our employees" strategy as a foundation of their business model.  And I think they largely won the last legal round on that point.  So I wouldn't expect much from them.

If the food delivery companies had to treat their couriers as genuine employees- minimum wage, holidays, etc - I'm pretty sure they'd go bust in about thirty seconds flat.

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chrisonabike replied to brooksby | 2 weeks ago
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Indeed. So you wonder - why facilitate them? What are they contributing to?

Yes there are a few folks who're happy for the employment flexibility (even with such low pay). But some of those are likely in the grey economy and I doubt governments have leaving room for that that as a secret policy goal.

At least cigarette manufacturers have actual employees...

I'm guessing (without checking donations to political parties...) it's some combination of "all business is good business" and "loophole too far". Maybe there's not enough political capital in tackling stuff like this and indeed your opponents can say "So you're against innovation and entrepreneurs"?

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HoarseMann replied to Cycle Happy | 2 weeks ago
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Quite. It's all a bit too late if 'death by dangerous' legislation is required. It's not like having this legislation in place for motorised vehicles has prevented fatalities.

Actually enforcing the existing laws is what is required, so that poor behaviour can be challenged before it results in tragedy.

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wycombewheeler replied to HoarseMann | 2 weeks ago
2 likes
HoarseMann wrote:

Actually enforcing the existing laws is what is required, so that poor behaviour can be challenged before it results in tragedy.

that's a radical approach to road safety, it'll never catch on.

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brooksby | 3 weeks ago
12 likes
KimBriggsCampaign wrote:

These incidents will keep happening

At a rate of maybe 2 a year.  Yeah - excellent use of Parliamentary time… 

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Steve K | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

This article suggests it's not yet certain the Criminal Justice Bill will fall.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to Steve K | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

It is by no means certain it will fail.  There is a process that the government could carry it over into the next parliament and in the event of a Conservative win in the next election the bill could be resurrected and continue its way through the process.  Whatever colour the next government is, if it is agreed to carry the bill over then there is a chance that the next government won't scrap it.

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wycombewheeler replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 3 weeks ago
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Mr Hoopdriver wrote:

It is by no means certain it will fail.  There is a process that the government could carry it over into the next parliament and in the event of a Conservative win in the next election the bill could be resurrected and continue its way through the process.  Whatever colour the next government is, if it is agreed to carry the bill over then there is a chance that the next government won't scrap it.

yes, there are two options

1) the bill continues as it has the support of the new government. DbDC will remain as already voted on

2) the new government draft a new bill, DbDC potentially won't be included in the new draft and may or may not be introduced as an amendment, since most of the right wing press attack dogs will have lost their seats.

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Steve K replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 3 weeks ago
2 likes
Mr Hoopdriver wrote:

It is by no means certain it will fail.  There is a process that the government could carry it over into the next parliament and in the event of a Conservative win in the next election the bill could be resurrected and continue its way through the process.  Whatever colour the next government is, if it is agreed to carry the bill over then there is a chance that the next government won't scrap it.

Pretty sure it can't be carried over. But it could, of course, be re-introduced as part of a new Bill.

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Steve K | 3 weeks ago
1 like

I note from the order paper for the House of Commons that Mark Harper is due to make a written statement on "Transport".  

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Steve K replied to Steve K | 3 weeks ago
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Steve K wrote:

I note from the order paper for the House of Commons that Mark Harper is due to make a written statement on "Transport".  

It was nothing to do with this.

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Hirsute | 3 weeks ago
15 likes

In contrast GMP traffic today

Leigh, 4 drug drivers arrested, Seized 7 cars no insurance, Recovered a stolen car, Issued 22 mobile phone TORs, Caught 21 people speeding, + loads more.

All in front of a high school

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to Hirsute | 3 weeks ago
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Sorry that's irrelevant and all fabricated.  Cars drivers never do anything like that - I could believe it if it was those dangerous cyclists but car drivers - really..

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Mad Franky replied to Hirsute | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

frankly, this is just GMP preventing honest, hard working residents of Greater Manchester going about their business and contributing to the economic success of our Great Britain which, as the boss of the ONS confirmed, is going "gangbusters".

GMP should instead be devoting this resource to investigating the corrupt local Labour politicians. One of whom may or may not have benefitted to the tune of a couple of grand when selling a house over ten years ago. I mean christ, Liz Truss spent more than that on gin at a foreign office lunch so it just goes to show how cheap His Majesty's "Opposition" actually is.

It. Is. A. Disgrace

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wycombewheeler | 3 weeks ago
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Did Rishi Sunak call an election now because

a) He thinks the current economic trend won't continue and now is as good as it gets

b) he thinks there will be a feelgood factor during the european football that will help the incumbent.

c) he's bored and wants to move on to an after dinner speaking tour for more money

d) he is really a cyclist and wanted to kill Iain Duncan Smiths amendment to the criminal justice bill?

 

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mitsky replied to wycombewheeler | 3 weeks ago
1 like

or

e) He actually is trying to get re-elected and needs a certain demographic of voters who are more likely to go to the polls in the summer rather than winter...

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wycombewheeler replied to mitsky | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

traditionally poor weather has supressed the labour vote more than the conservative vote. Whether this not holds true when the mean age of the tory voter is probably over 70 is unknown.

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Car Delenda Est replied to wycombewheeler | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

Uni students will have gone home, to their more conservative hometowns where their vote is wasted, and will need to register to vote again.

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wycombewheeler replied to Car Delenda Est | 3 weeks ago
0 likes
Car Delenda Est wrote:

Uni students will have gone home, to their more conservative hometowns where their vote is wasted, and will need to register to vote again.

where they are registered to vote does not change when term ends. they could be registered at uni, or they could be registered at home. whether their home consitituency is more or less conservative is up for debate. Arguably going home will make them unable to vote IF they are registered at their uni address. I know we recieved 3 polling cards for the pcc election, one being my daughter who was away at uni. So in her case she gets to vote, which would have been difficult in term time.

However, far from being wasted in the "more conservative" constituencies, I would suggest at this time with the strong feeling against the government those will be the seats being contested, with the less conservative seats going to labour with strong majorities this time.

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bensynnock replied to wycombewheeler | 3 weeks ago
1 like

It's July in Britain. The weather is going to be poor.

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hawkinspeter replied to bensynnock | 3 weeks ago
6 likes
bensynnock wrote:

It's July in Britain. The weather is going to be poor.

FTFY

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wycombewheeler replied to bensynnock | 3 weeks ago
0 likes
bensynnock wrote:

It's July in Britain. The weather is going to be poor.

I don't know where this perception comes from. I spend a lot of time outside cycling and the weather is rarely poor.

Sometimes it rains, but you have to accept that unless you want to live in a desert.

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stonojnr replied to wycombewheeler | 3 weeks ago
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technically some parts of the UK are classified as a desert, it still rains

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Rendel Harris replied to stonojnr | 3 weeks ago
3 likes
stonojnr wrote:

technically some parts of the UK are classified as a desert, it still rains

A killjoy writes: that's not actually the case, there used to be a popular belief that Dungeness in Kent was the only official stretch of desert in the UK, but the Meteorological Office debunked that a while ago. The official designation of a desert is somewhere that receives less than 250 mm of precipitation a year, which doesn't apply to anywhere in the UK.

 

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stonojnr replied to Rendel Harris | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Ok, there are some places in the UK, St Osyth, technically classed as semi arid deserts, and it still rains.

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