Cycling UK secures Parliamentary debate on Road Justice
It's been more than three months since the Department for Transport launched its cycling offences review back on 12 August, when the Government sought responses on proposals to extend the current laws of causing death by ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ driving to cyclists.
From the start, Cycling UK’s position has been clear – our road traffic laws are failing to deliver justice or promote road safety, and a wider review of that framework is urgently needed to protect lives and deter dangerous behaviour on our roads. Extending a flawed set of laws from driving to cycling won’t make our roads safer, and while we’re not opposed to a wider review also looking at cycling offences, this limited consultation lets down the families of the 1800 pedestrians who have died since a wider review was promised back in 2014. That review has not been delivered.
When they launched their consultation, the Government announced it was ‘cracking down on dangerous cycling’, despite cyclists, alongside bus drivers, registering the fewest number of ‘contributory factors’ following collisions, and motor vehicles being responsible for 99.4% of pedestrian deaths. For us, this has never been about cyclists verses other road users, but about making our roads safer for everyone. Road safety charities Brake and RoadPeace agree and have campaigned alongside us to send a unified message to the Department for Transport.
Whether we look at our laws as cyclists, as pedestrians or as motorists, it’s clear that the current framework isn’t delivering just or safe outcomes: the definitions of ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ driving leads to vast inconsistences in outcomes, with far too many derisory sentences handed to those who kill when driving. Over 10,000 drivers currently hold a driver’s licence despite accruing 12 or more penalty points, and our hit-and-run laws continue to offer a maximum sentence only 6 months, even where a driver knew or could have foreseen that a serious injury or fatality occurred.
That’s why our message has been consistent and clear throughout: we need the wider review of road traffic offences promised in 2014, to address these deep flaws which seriously affect the safety of our roads for everyone, but particularly vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. To get more people cycling and walking as part of their daily life, it’s vital that our road traffic laws send a clear message to drivers that dangerous behaviour on our roads is not acceptable.
An incredible 13,000 of you supported us by writing to your MP and to the Department of Transport. We know your voices are having an impact - many MPs have written to us to indicate their support, and we have now secured a debate on Road Justice and the Legal Framework in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, 20 November, which will be co-led by Ruth Cadbury MP and John Lamont MP, members of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group.
This Parliamentary debate, which falls in Road Safety Week, will help hold the Government to account for its lack of serious action on road justice
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns, Cycling UK
While the consultation period for the cycling offences review has come to a close, Cycling UK will continue to work with our allies to keep the pressure on Government, to secure the review needed to make our roads safer for everyone, whether we walk, cycle, drive, or do all three.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, said: “This Parliamentary debate, which falls in Road Safety Week, will help hold the Government to account for its lack of serious action on road justice. It's testament to the hard work of Cycling UK and our members and supporters that MPs are growing increasingly supportive of a wider review of road traffic offences and have called for this debate, and we look forward to seeing this vitally important issue discussed by MPs from all political parties in Parliament.”
Many of you have already written to your MP to urge them to attend and MPs from across the house have since requested briefings for the debate and indicated that they will stand up for road justice on Tuesday. Make sure your MP does the same.