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"Dangerous cycling" law will be passed following election, Labour and Conservatives confirm

A Labour spokesperson said the party "will change the law to protect people from dangerous cycling", the Conservatives having already committed to resuming the process to pass stricter legislation if they win July's election...

The prospect of "dangerous cycling" laws being introduced in the United Kingdom in the near future looks increasingly likely, Labour joining the Conservatives in committing to introduce stricter laws if they win the upcoming general election.

In a fast-paced legislative push, the government had agreed to introduce tougher laws for "dangerous cyclists" who kill or injure — the matter attracting a great deal of political and media attention since a coroner's court inquest earlier this month heard that a cyclist would face no charges for his involvement in the high-speed Regent's Park crash which saw a pensioner fatally injured, the incident taking place back in 2022.

When Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week called a general election for July 4, it put the legislation in doubt, Parliament's prorogation meaning it would not be passed in time, the amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill proposed by former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith having been due to be debated in the House of Lords on 6 June.

However, over the bank holiday weekend both the Conservatives and Labour pledged to introduce "dangerous cycling" laws if they are elected, suggesting legislation will be resumed following this summer's election.

Cyclists in London at night stopped at red light - copyright Simon MacMichael

"Labour will change the law to protect people from dangerous cycling, and we commend the families for their relentless campaigning," a spokesperson from Labour told the Telegraph.

"The Criminal Justice Bill was meant to be a flagship bill for his government, but Rishi Sunak walked away from his promises to these families the moment it suited him. It's understandable that the families of victims will feel let down."

Likewise, a Conservative spokesperson stressed that the party remains "committed to delivering a new offence of dangerous cycling, ensuring cyclists who ride dangerously are brought to justice".

A group of campaigners, made up of families of pedestrians killed by cyclists, had written to Sunak and Keir Starmer demanding the next prime minister passes the legislation.

"To be clear, each of us supports the idea to get more people cycling in the UK and we all recognise the benefits," the letter reportedly stated. "This is about closing a legal loophole and not an anti-cycling endeavour in any way.

"However, with the increase in people cycling, there is a concomitant increase in risk and in a modern democracy, we need adequate laws to deal with all eventualities.

"We are therefore taking the unusual step of writing to you both together to ask you to commit to finalising this simple, non-contentious but important legislation in the first session of Parliament if you are to be successful in winning the election."

It was penned by Matthew Briggs, widower of Kim Briggs killed by Charlie Alliston — the London fixed-wheel rider sentenced to 18 months for the current 'causing bodily harm through wanton and furious driving' offence that can be used to prosecute cyclists in such incidents.

Cyclist in London at night with bus and red light in background - copyright Simon MacMichael

Mr Briggs has led the campaign, receiving support from Duncan Smith in the past three weeks, the Conservative politician's amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill having already passed in the House of Commons when the election was called.

While the discussion around "dangerous cycling" laws has been thrust into the spotlight by widespread coverage across certain sections of print and broadcast media this month, the proposed changes have been questioned by some who say they will do little to have any meaningful impact on road safety, the number of pedestrians injured or killed by cyclists far outweighed by the number injured or killed in collisions involving the drivers of cars.

Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman pointed out that more people are killed by lightning and cows each year than cyclists.

"It's important that we say that because there are three involving, not necessarily caused by, but three or less involving a bike rider," he explained. "And as the Secretary of State [Mark Harper] said, this is such a tiny minority. More people are killed by lightning, or cows. And that same thing [cycling] is joyous. It's good for society. And we put the focus on this minuscule, negative thing. Absolutely, everybody should obey the laws of the road. But is this really the best use of our time to be talking about this now?"

Road safety charity Brake called the attention and emphasis placed on cycling as "disproportionate".

> Conservative MP Philip Davies accused of "massive prejudice against cyclists" after "angry email rant" to constituent who questioned his "contradictory" road safety views and number plates for cyclists stance

"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," Brake's CEO Ross Moorlock said.

"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."

And speaking in the same week that the government agreed to introduce tougher laws for "dangerous cyclists", the UK's head of roads policing spoke at-length about her wishes for making the roads safer and pointed to speeding, mobile phone use and a fall in the "basic standard of driving" as the main concerns.

Jo Shiner also made the case for stricter punishments for anti-social driving, arguing that drivers who kill or cause serious injury through their actions often receive lenient punishments when compared to other non-traffic crimes.

"If you actually compare some of the sentences the drivers who do kill people because of the way they drive versus other crimes in society, predominantly those sentences are lower and families don't feel they get the justice they deserve," she said.

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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110 comments

Avatar
LeadenSkies replied to Stephankernow | 1 month ago
8 likes

I shouldn't have anything to worry about, but yet I do worry. Why? Because I have had a pedestrian step backwards into the road 2m in front of me. Luckily I was doing no more than 5mph because I was worried about his dog (not on a lead) and was able to miss him, although I came a cropper as a result. My worry is that had I hit him I would have been classed as at fault by a jury of my driving peers despite there being absolutely nothing that I could have done and no way to have predicted that the idiot was about to take two steps back off the pavement right into the road.

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Crazyhorse replied to LeadenSkies | 1 month ago
7 likes

This did happen to me. An elderly lady (amongst many others) stepped into the road at a v busy Bristol junction and against the lights (i.e. light was red for peds and green for road traffic incl me). I came around the corner (on green) and, as she saw me, she jumped backwards - and directly into my path as I sweved to avoid her. Algthough I was travelling at probs 3-5mph at the time of impact she was knocked over and her head hit the road with an awful thud. She was not fully conscious as a result and received hospital treatment (scan) before being discharged. That could of course have been much worse.

Police took witness statements and checked condition of my bike (esp brakes and lights) at the scene. It was clear I could not have avoided her, but perhaps might have been a different outcome on a fixie...

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Tom_77 replied to Stephankernow | 1 month ago
6 likes

Stephankernow wrote:

No good cyclists should have a thing to be worried about! I certainly haven't.

I had a near miss with a pedestrian the other day - video here.

If I had collided with them and they'd died, under the proposed law I could be looking at 14 years in jail. That ought to worry you as a cyclist.

I don't think my cycling was careless, let alone dangerous. But who knows what a jury of Telegraph and Mail readers would make of it?

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Jakrayan replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago
0 likes

Appreciate the view from a camera lens can distort things, particularly distance perception and thus apparent speed. However, bearing in mind there are pedestrians about, including on both sides of that pathway (don't know it so don't know if it's a shared path, private road or whatever) and they do generally have priority to me it looked like you were going too quickly for the conditions.

Nice reactions though. 

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Tom_77 replied to Jakrayan | 1 month ago
7 likes

Jakrayan wrote:

Appreciate the view from a camera lens can distort things, particularly distance perception and thus apparent speed. However, bearing in mind there are pedestrians about, including on both sides of that pathway (don't know it so don't know if it's a shared path, private road or whatever) and they do generally have priority to me it looked like you were going too quickly for the conditions.

Nice reactions though. 

It's a private road, with speed bumps. It forms part of NCN 23 - https://maps.app.goo.gl/Srxq7jmbVgmFYHUM8

This is the speed from my Garmin. I'm doing about 20kph, I slow down as I approach the 2 pedestrians and I slam the brakes on at the point marked with the blue arrow.

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Jakrayan replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago
0 likes

Thanks for the clarification, good to have the GPS evidence obviously 👍

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HoarseMann replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago
2 likes

Tom_77 wrote:

Stephankernow wrote:

No good cyclists should have a thing to be worried about! I certainly haven't.

I had a near miss with a pedestrian the other day - video here.

If I had collided with them and they'd died, under the proposed law I could be looking at 14 years in jail. That ought to worry you as a cyclist.

I don't think my cycling was careless, let alone dangerous. But who knows what a jury of Telegraph and Mail readers would make of it?

You did manage to avoid the pedestrian, so were cycling carefully enough, but you would have given them a shock.

It's worth calling out or sounding a bell and making sure they acknowlege you before passing, even if this means slowing to their pace and waiting behind for a few seconds. You might still give them a shock though! 

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john_smith replied to Tom_77 | 1 month ago
0 likes

If you had collided with her it would have been largely your fault though, surely?

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marmotte27 replied to john_smith | 1 month ago
2 likes

This is largely bullshit, surely?

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mattw | 1 month ago
3 likes

This needs to be set within an appropriate review of road safety, which we need to work for.

I odn't think I see a Labour Government doing "Dangerous Cycling" as a separate piece of legislation. They will have too much on their plate, and Rishi's wrecked national finances will need to be dealt with.

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stonojnr | 1 month ago
5 likes

Well the way it was reported when the election was called was a little more than it might put the law in doubt, the cycling media declared it deader than a Norwegian blue pining for the fjords.

It was always going to come back whoever forms the next goverment.

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lonpfrb replied to stonojnr | 1 month ago
2 likes

That would be a futile waste of parliamentary and executive time and money based on the facts.

Tax payers should oppose such waste.

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mctrials23 | 1 month ago
11 likes

What is this loophole I keep hearing about. Cyclists have been sent to jail when people have died as a result of their actions. Cyclists have also not been charged when it was determined that the death wasn't their fault... Sounds like its all covered already. 

Honestly I just want them to pass this so everyone can pat themselves on the back and then realise that A) cyclists hurt and kill a vanishingly small number of people and most of the time it isn't the cyclists fault B) That if cyclists are treated like drivers, there will be absolutely zero change to sentence lengths when they do kill someone through their dangerous cycling. 

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LondonCalling replied to mctrials23 | 1 month ago
1 like

For cyclists to he treated as drivers, the charge of "careless cycling" should he brought in. I'd like to see them pass that!!

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OnYerBike replied to LondonCalling | 1 month ago
1 like

LondonCalling wrote:

For cyclists to he treated as drivers, the charge of "careless cycling" should he brought in. I'd like to see them pass that!!

Careless cycling has been in the RTA since inception: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/52/section/29/enacted

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Jakrayan replied to mctrials23 | 1 month ago
3 likes

Assuming it does get passed, in a decade or so there will still be howls of outrage from Daily Heil readers that no-one has actually been charged with the offence in the 10 years since its introduction. 

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brooksby | 1 month ago
8 likes

A group of campaigners, made up of families of pedestrians killed by cyclists wrote:

"To be clear, each of us supports the idea to get more people cycling in the UK and we all recognise the benefits," the letter reportedly stated. "This is about closing a legal loophole and not an anti-cycling endeavour in any way.

Horlicks! surprise

 

 

Avatar
brooksby | 1 month ago
8 likes

I presume that this is because Labour and the Tories are trying to get the same (very) older demographic to vote for them, so they have to say similar things.

(Like how the Tories clearly want the over-90 vote, hence all that rubbish about national service over the weekend).

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eburtthebike | 1 month ago
7 likes

Good to see that labour have got their priorities right.  I've previously posted that they couldn't be as incompetent as the tories, but now I'm not so sure.

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Clem Fandango replied to eburtthebike | 1 month ago
9 likes

Worried about optics during the election campaign no doubt. Knocking it back would kick off the usual right whinge anti cyclist war on motorists BS.

Still, can't wait for the dangerous pedestrianing laws next time a zombie looking at their phone steps out & ends up killing a cyclist (nobody mention Auriol Grey)

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