Changes to the Cyclists’ Defence Fund

Standing up for cycling and cyclists: Head of Campaigns Duncan Dollimore explains how bringing the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) in-house will help grow CDF’s work and protect cyclists’ rights.

The Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) was set up in 2001 by the Cyclists' Touring Club (as Cycling UK were then known) to raise awareness of the law relating to cycling, and where necessary fund legal action where the rights of cyclists or opportunities to cycle are significantly affected.     

Another way of putting this is that CDF exists to protect cyclists’ rights, and despite some alterations this year to the structure and administration of CDF, its fundamental purpose and remit isn’t changing.

CDF and Cycling UK’s work aligned

In recent years, the task of considering which work and legal cases CDF might become involved with has largely sat with me, wearing hats both as Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns and CDF’s administrator. I’ve been supported in that role by Roger Geffen, as Cycling UK’s Policy Director and a long-standing Trustee of CDF. Moving forward, Roger and I will still be assessing work streams and cases of interest, supported by Cycling UK’s Campaign’s Manager Keir Gallagher, but with CDF brought in-house and administered by Cycling UK rather than as an independent charity.

The reality is that Cycling UK’s advocacy work and CDF’s own mission are so aligned that it makes sense to absorb CDF into Cycling UK to remove duplication and extra bureaucracy, and bolster CDF's work with help from Cycling UK’s communications, campaigning and fundraising teams. Crucially, however, the work and general direction of CDF will continue, with all CDF funds set aside to be used in accordance with the founding aims and charitable objects of CDF, namely to:

a) Preserve and protect the health and safety of the public by encouraging and facilitating safe cycling.

b) Advance the education of the public in the relationship between cycling and the law.

c) Further the sound development administration and knowledge of the law relating to cycling.

d) Promote, assist, undertake and commission research into the law, practice, and administration of justice in connection with cycling and to disseminate the useful results of such research.

Fighting fund

A designated legal fund has also been established, set aside as a 'fighting fund' for legal action and cases, which will be maintained either by specific fundraising for the fund, or by using funds donated to Cycling UK in support of our overall campaigning work. The campaigning and advocacy activities in line with CDF’s charitable objects above will be reported on in the Cycling UK impact reports, with spending reported in the annual accounts.

We’re going to carry on using the brand name Cyclists' Defence Fund, when referencing the potential for or threat of legal action through the fighting fund and in fundraising activities, but the CDF website is being closed with a new CDF specific web page established on Cycling UK’s website.

Future cases

Finally, I should say that this is a fantastic new chapter for CDF. As Cycling UK’s advocacy work has expanded, and with substantial communications, fundraising and other resources in-house, we can now better direct those resources to make more effective use of CDF funds, replenish them, and pursue the aims that CDF was set up for.

With that in mind, if you become aware of a case or situation where the rights of cyclists or the opportunity to cycle are being significantly affected, please let us know at, particularly if it’s of wider significance to cycling or cyclists generally, rather than just one person.