Scales of justice and blue sky
Scales of justice and blue sky

Support the Cyclists’ Defence Fund

The Cyclists’ Defence Fund helps fight significant legal cases involving cyclists and cycling, especially those which could set important precedents for the future and could affect the safety of all cyclists. Over time, its remit has expended to cover all aspects of cycling and the law. It is funded through donations

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 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.  Thankfully the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) saw sense in dropping the case and another win for CDF could be celebrated.

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
Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive
Now the fight for justice is being taken off road

Currently, you can only use a mere 22% of England’s rights of way network, or to put it another way only two out of our stunning 16 National Trails. This is wrong – they should be accessible to everyone. When the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Natural England announced a new National Trail, cycling and horse riding was overlooked, so we took the action to challenge the two organisations to revisit their decision. We now await the outcome of our Pre-Action Protocol letter, which sets out the legal grounds and demonstrated all the ways in which the decision was unlawful. We need your donations now to continue the fight.

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.

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.

CTC's Day of Action on Dartmoor. Photo: Cycle Touring and Campaigning, CTC, Oct/Nov 1998.
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!

The Cyclists’ Defence Fund is appealing for donations

The CDF can also provide legal resources and advice to cyclists, although please speak to a lawyer if you are facing or bringing a legal claim. All Cycling UK members receive free initial legal advice related to cycling personal injury claims through our incident line.

Some of the cases in which the CDF has been involved

  • We challenged the City of London’s decision not to introduce a 20mph speed limit, arguing that the City’s decision was based on incorrect information; the City backed down before the case went to trial.
  • We backed Daniel Cadden through his trial for ‘inconsiderate cycling’ and supported the successful appeal of his conviction for the offence. Cadden was prosecuted for holding up traffic after he chose to cycle in the road rather than cross a 50mph road twice to reach an off-carriageway cycle track.
  • We helped prepare a legal challenge to the Department for Transport’s proposed revisions to the Highway Code, which had the potential to leave cyclists open to both civil and criminal prosecutions if they did not use cycle facilities for any reason. The threat of legal action persuaded ministers to clarify in the wording that the use of cycle facilities is not compulsory.
  • We supported the case of Alex Paxton who was given a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) for failing to stop at a red light when he positioned himself ahead of a stop line because the cycle box had been blocked by a car. Alex contested the FPN and the CPS dropped the case.
  • We supported the case of Kristian Gregory who was given an FPN for riding on the pavement when he strayed from a sub-standard cycle path. CDF supported Kristian’s claim that prosecuting him was not in the public interest and that the contradictory signage at the location made it impossible to tell what is legal. The CPS dropped the case.
  • We brought a private prosecution following the death of Michael Mason. The judge accepted that there was a case to answer, and therefore that we were right to bring the case. Even though the driver was subsequently acquitted, bringing the case highlighted and brought attention to various failures in the way the criminal justice system sometimes deals with cases involving cyclists.
  • We challenged West Sussex County Council’s decision to remove a popular cycle lane in the seaside town of Shoreham in November 2020. The council admitted it acted illegally following a judicial review supported by the CDF and was ordered to pay £25k in costs to Cycling UK. 
  • We contributed £2,500 to support Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea’s legal challenge against the borough council in July 2022, following the removal of the Kensington High Street cycle lane. The case is set to go to trial.
  • We supported Tom Bosanquet, one of our 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. The CPS saw sense in dropping the case.
  • The announcement of the a new National Trail that excluded cycling and horse riding has become our latest challenge with a Pre-Action Protocol letter submitted jointly with British Horse Society, which set out the legal grounds and demonstrated all the ways in which the decision was unlawful. Another win as they have now committed to consult with both charities.

Donate to the Cyclists’ Defence Fund

Contact us

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.

Contact us

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.