On the 12th September 2023, Andrea Leadsom MP posed this question to Edward Argar MP who is a Minister of State in the Ministry of Justice:
‘What conversations has my right hon. Friend had across government to make sure that the sentencing for those convicted of dangerous cycling is equalised with the sentencing guidelines for those convicted of dangerous driving?’
Andrea Leadsom had proposed a ten minute rule bill in 2011 which was designed to ensure that deaths and injuries caused by cyclists would attract the same sentences as those caused by motorists, but it did not become law.
The impetus behind the Bill was the tragic case of 17-year-old Rhiannon Bennett who was struck by a cyclist in Buckingham in 2008 and died as a result of her injuries. The cyclist was found guilty of dangerous cycling and fined £2200.
‘The safety of our roads is a key objective for the Government, and protecting all road users is a priority. Like all road users, cyclists have a duty to behave in a safe and responsible manner. While laws are in place for cyclists, they are old and it can be difficult to successfully prosecute offences. That is why Department for Transport colleagues are considering bringing forward legislation to introduce new offences concerning dangerous cycling to tackle those rare instances where victims have been killed or seriously injured by irresponsible cycling behaviour.’
Is a new law needed?
Department for Transport figures suggest that the incidence of pedestrians being killed by cyclists riding on pavements is extremely low with three deaths having been recorded between 1999 and 2009.
While a cyclist cannot receive a custodial sentence under a charge of dangerous cycling, such an option is available in cases where a rider is found guilty of “wanton and furious driving” as under this law the term “driving” can apply to bicycles.
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