Cycling advocates have accused the Government of ‘tinkering around the edges’ with a proposal to introduce a death by dangerous cycling offence.
The Department for Transport yesterday launched a consultation to look at the possibility of introducing a new offence for cyclists that would be the equivalent to causing death by careless driving.
‘In recent weeks we have announced a range of measures designed to protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians,’ said cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman.
‘These include new measures to combat close passing, training for driving instructors, better collision investigation and £100m in new investment through the Safer Roads Fund.
‘Now we are taking further steps. These include a consultation on new cycling offences, further work on national guidance on cycling and walking infrastructure, and improvements to the Highway Code.
‘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.’
However, the campaign group Cycling UK said this simply masks the Government’s failure to tackle a wider road safety review.
‘Adding one or two new offences specific to cyclists would be merely tinkering around the edges,’ said the group’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore.
‘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,’
The number of cases involving collisions between cyclists and pedestrians remains relatively low, Cycling UK points out.
In 2016, 448 pedestrians were killed on our roads, but only three of those cases involved bicycles. In the last ten years 99.4% of all pedestrian deaths involved a motor vehicle.
‘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,’ added Mr Dollimore.