Support the Cyclists’ Defence Fund
Looking forward with Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns
Cycling UK issues judicial review proceedings over “unlawful” decision to keep rat-run open
We have now issued judicial review proceedings in court and are waiting for BCP’s response. We need to highlight how Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council (BCP) has behaved, and their disregard for the crucial statutory guidance they are supposed to follow when making transport decisions, because we need other councils to think twice before following suit.
Local resident Paul Bradley, who regularly cycles through Keyhole Bridge with his young son on the back of his bike, said:
“With Keyhole Bridge closed, our community and our streets felt like a safer place, and children were able to cycle or walk to school. The decision to keep it open was ridiculous when people living in the area were so overwhelmingly against it, and all the evidence supported public opinion. I’m glad it’s now being challenged, it’s just a shame it has to go this far to give people what they want and need.”
Rest assured this isn’t just about one underpass in a park in Poole. It’s yet another tale of a council failing to consult properly, ignoring the evidence, and ignoring government guidance. It feels like the message we hoped to send about the Shoreham case hasn’t been heard in Poole, or as widely as we’d hoped, and we need to press re-send.
What is the Cyclist's Defence Fund?
The Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) was initially established in response to the case of Darren Coombes, a nine-year-old cyclist who suffered brain damage from a collision with a motorist. Cycling UK (then known as the Cyclists’ Touring Club or CTC) became concerned after the driver’s insurers responded to Darren’s claim for damages by seeking to reduce Darren’s compensation, claiming contributory negligence because Darren was not wearing a helmet. Although the insurer’s claim was ultimately defeated, CDF was formed in the aftermath to defend cyclists in similar precedent-setting cases.
More recently, the CDF has been supporting Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea (BetterStreets4KC) as they issued a judicial review challenging the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. One element of which pointed out that its refusal to reinstate the lane was irrational. Incredibly the council had ignored the available evidence - the limited data it had collected indicated that the cycle lane had, in fact, been beneficial. The case continues in January.
Along with Tom Bosanquet, one of Cycling UK’s members, with financial support and advice for his legacy case when he was being wrongly prosecuted for inconsiderate cycling for delaying traffic for a matter of seconds.
Cycling UK believes the police should never have referred the case to the Crown Prosecution Service, so we’re pleased it’s now been dropped
Deja vu on Dartmoor
Our next big challenge, and the reason we need your donations now, could see us heading back to Dartmoor. Some 24 years ago a protest was staged on the National Park against beastly byelaws restricting cycling. Now we’re looking at these byelaws on Dartmoor again, because last year Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) consulted again on them.
We believe that the criminalisation of cycling across large parts of Dartmoor conflicts with the statutory purposes of National Parks. DNPA is about to publish its final proposals for byelaw amendments, but if the restrictions aren’t relaxed, that’s another challenge to consider – and another protest!
Help us fight for justice
We may have won the battle in Shoreham, but this was never about one case, or one council, or even one country. We need your donations to ensure we are ready to fight for cyclists’ rights all across the UK. Just imagine if all children could cycle to school on a separated cycle lane, without having to worry about the traffic. This is who we are fighting for.
The Cyclists’ Defence Fund is appealing for donations
If you are involved in, or aware of, a legal case relating to cycling, whether civil or criminal, which you believe potentially poses a significant risk of injustice or may set a dangerous legal precedent, please contact us.
While we cannot guarantee to support cases, we will always review cases to assess whether any support is possible and whether we believe our help could help improve the safety of all cyclists or enable more people to cycle.