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Government launch consultation to look at new dangerous cycling laws

Posted on in Cycles News , Political News

Cyclists who kill pedestrians could face charges of "death by dangerous cycling" or "death by careless cycling", under government proposals.

The Department for Transport has launched a 12-week consultation looking at whether new offences should be introduced for dangerous cyclists.

Matt Briggs, whose wife was killed by a cyclist, welcomed the proposed changes "This public consultation is an important step towards updating the arcane laws that are currently being used to prosecute cycling offences."

bike pathThe cyclist was cleared of manslaughter, but found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving" - a Victorian-era law intended for drivers of horse-drawn carriages which carries a maximum sentence of two years.

Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years' imprisonment. Death by careless driving has a maximum sentence of five years.

Department for Transport figures for 2016 show that 448 pedestrians were killed on Britain's roads, but only three cases involved bicycles, whilst according to Cycling UK 99.4% of deaths on the road in the last ten years involved a motor vehicle.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's head of campaigns believes these new laws are "merely tinkering around the edges" and a full review is needed.

"We need a full review - something promised by the government in 2014 - because the way the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users hasn't been fit for purpose for years."

"If the government is serious about addressing behaviour that puts others at risk on our roads, they should grasp the opportunity to do the job properly, rather than attempt to patch up an area of legislation that's simply not working" said Dollimore.

The latest announcement also includes the introduction of national guidance for cycling and walking infrastructure and updating parts of the Highway Code to combat close passing of bicycles.

Cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman said: "All these measures are designed to support the continued growth of cycling and walking, with all the benefits they bring to our communities, economy, environment and society."

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