Dangerous cycling bill won't tackle road deaths caused bad driving

photo Drivers using mobiles phones are a common sign in London, posing a grave threat to cyclists and pedestrians


 

 

The Dangerous Cycling bill being promoted by Andrea Leadsom MP fails to tackle the real causes of death and injury on the London's streets: bad driving.

LCC says criminal law should be reformed so motorists who cause death or serious injury and are culpable are removed from the roads for a suitable period with jail or by losing their licence.

STEP 1: Tough sentences for road users who kill and are culpable

There are already sufficient laws to deal with the tiny number of killer cyclists (less than one per year), whereas the thousands of motorists that kill and injure are often treated with incredible leniency, often not even losing their licences.

By contrast, the small number of cyclists who have killed in recent years, and been shown to be culpable, were jailed (see the examples below).

Lenient sentencing for motorists causes:

  • more injustice being inflicted on injured victims and bereaved families
  • less of a deterrent for drivers to behave responsibly
  • more danger for vulnerable road users

STEP 2: Stricter liability for all road users

LCC also calling for stricter liability, so all road users are made responsible in civil law for those more vulnerable than themselves.

Stricter liability is standard across most of Western Europe, and would mean motorists' insurers would be liable to pay damages to a pedestrian or cyclist for their injuries, unless they could show the injured party was at fault.

Under the same law, cyclists would also be liable for damages if they struck a pedestrian without being able to show it was the victim's fault

STEP 3: Publication of sentencing information

LCC is also calling for the publication of the legal outcomes of road collisions that have resulted in serious injury or death.

Nowadays, the authorities carefully collect information about the numbers of crashes, but they don't publish details of which drivers are prosecuted, nor does anyone systematically analyse sentencing.

There examples of sentencing that follow are taken from the Stop SMIDSY website, run by CTC, the national cyclists' organisation.

Lenient sentences for motorists involved in deaths

 

There have been many recent cases where drivers have received lenient sentences despite killing:

Crime Lorry driver Tony Smith killed 89-year-old cyclist Vera Chaplin in Essex
Sentence 100-hour community sentence/1 year ban
more details

Crime Car driver David Kilgallon killed 85-year-old cyclist Barbara Taylor
Sentence 100-hour community sentence/1 year ban
more details

Crime Lorry driver Joao Lopes killed 30-year-old cyclist Eilidh Cairns
Sentence £200 fine (despite defective eyesight)
more details

Prison sentences for cyclists involved in deaths

Crime Cyclist Darren Hall killed 84-year-old pedestrian Ronald Turner
Sentence 7 months prison (wanton reckless cycling)
read details

 

Crime Cyclist Robert Lambert killed 82-year-old Dora Thompson
Sentence 1-year prison (actual bodily harm)
read details

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