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Leeds MP questions legal failings following cyclist death

Thu, 21 Dec 2017, 7:01pm
The final Commons debate of the year highlighted the failures of the justice system to road crash victims By SamJonesThursday, 21 December 2017Leeds MP questions legal failings following cyclist deathIn the final House of Commons debate of the year, Leeds North East MP, Fabian Hamilton, called for Government action following the heart-breaking case of cyclist Ian Winterburn and the multiple failures of the justice system in its aftermath.
  • Fabian Hamilton MP highlights the plight of road traffic victims in final Commons debate of 2017
  • More funding and priority needed for roads policing says Cycling UK

Hamilton described how Garforth Academy teacher, Ian Winterburn, 58, was hit by a car which turned across his path as he cycled along the A6120 Ring Road in Halton, Leeds just over a year ago on December 12 last year. He died of his injuries 10 days later.

The driver, a 51-year-old woman from Leeds, only received a four month suspended prison sentence, a £200 fine, 200 hours of community service and a two year driving ban. She had served a previous 14 month suspension for a drink driving offence.

During the course of the half hour debate, Hamilton for the first time in the public eye highlighted how the Winterburn family were failed by first West Yorkshire Police, then the coroners and finally by the justice system.

He raised five pertinent questions:

  • Why did it take the police over an hour to attend the scene?
  • Why is there only one collisions investigation unit for the whole of West Yorkshire?
  • Why did it take three hours to notify Mr Winterburn’s family?
  • Why did it take the coroner so long to issue a death certificate? and
  • Why was the sentencing decision moved from a Crown Court hearing to a two-hour hearing in the Magistrates Court?

Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, believes this case exemplifies the need for better funding and priority for roads policing across the UK, as well as increased resources across the whole legal system.

Using Police Workforce tables Cycling UK has calculated, outside of the Metropolitan Police area, that road policing levels have dropped by 48% from 2005 - 2016. The drop is significantly higher than the 12% drop to overall police numbers during the same period.

At the same time, road casualties have increased as convictions for traffic offences have fallen. Recent governmental casualty figures from September show a 4 per cent increase of road deaths for all road users in 2016; at 1,792, this is the highest annual toll since 2011. This followed figures released in November by the Ministry of Justice which have shown successful convictions for road traffic offences have declined from 611,093 to 516,658 from 2007 to 2016.

Roger Geffen MBE, Cycling UK’s Policy Director reacting to the debate said:

“The tragic case of Ian Winterburn’s death exemplifies how spectacularly the legal system can fail to deliver justice at every step of the way, from the police response immediately after the crash, right through to sentencing.

“This case clearly shows why the law on careless and dangerous driving needs clarifying, and why roads policing and the whole legal system need better resources. This is vital not only to ensure justice is done in the aftermath following tragedies like this, but to prevent them happening in the first place.”

“The questions that Fabian Hamilton asked on behalf of the Winterburn family are asked by thousands of road crash victims every year. It is time for the Government to provide answers.”

The Ministry of Justice announced a full review of all road traffic offence and penalties in May 2014, but so far has only conducted a partial review of the most serious driving offences. 

Contact information 

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
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Cycling UK gives seal of approval to Welsh police forces’ Operation Snap

Wed, 20 Dec 2017, 12:00am
In Wales helmet cam footage will be easy to submit to Welsh police forces By SamJonesWednesday, 20 December 2017Cycling UK gives seal of approval to Welsh police forces’ Operation SnapAll four police forces operating in Wales have come together to agree a common approach for the submission of video evidence in a UK first and move applauded by Cycling UK.

On Wednesday 20 December Operation Snap was launched. This means if a member of the public records illegal behaviour on Welsh roads the police will take action. It does not matter what the offence might be, whether it is driving dangerously or carelessly, contravening solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving or ignoring traffic lights; if video footage or images are submitted the relevant police force will investigate.

In an age when dash cams in cars and helmet and bar cams are becoming increasingly popular, such news might not seem especially groundbreaking. However, this joint initiative run by the four forces operating in Wales (North Wales Police, Dyfed-Powys Police, Gwent Police and South Wales Police) is actually one of the few examples of a police force creating the resource to accept digital evidence from the public.

Essentially, Operation Snap gives members of the public the power to report offences they’ve witnessed and allows forces to take action against those who put other road users at risk. It was originally devised and piloted by the GoSafe unit in North Wales Police, however following input from the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, GoSafe along with South Wales Police have now made several process improvements which means the operation runs throughout Wales, and with the backing of the Crown Prosecution Service.

South Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable, Jeremy Vaughan, said: “Operation Snap enables people to submit footage of motoring offences to all Welsh police forces, allowing us take action, change attitudes and deal with those who compromise safety on our roads.”

He continued: “[It] provides us with the ability target those who drive dangerously, and discourage those who may take risks while driving.  The result being a reduction in the number of fatal or serious collisions that occur on our roads.”

For Cycling UK, it is not just the ability for members of the public to submit digital evidence which is important, but also the first joint initiative which sees four forces adopting a common standard.

Operation Snap is exactly the sort of pro-active policing Cycling UK wants to see happening not just in Wales but across the UK.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's Head of Advocacy and Campaigns

“Operation Snap is a brilliant initiative and the first time police forces have come together to agree a common approach, exactly the sort of pro-active policing Cycling UK wants to see happening not just in Wales but across the UK,” commented Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns and Advocacy Duncan Dollimore, who added, “We only hope that other forces follow suit so that dash or helmet cam evidence is treated the same wherever you are in the UK.”

The benefits of Operation Snap come at a difficult time for forces as cuts have led to reduced policing numbers, particularly for road traffic duties.

Inspector Steve Davies, who delivered Operation Snap on behalf of South Wales Police, recognised this saying, “Police officers cannot be everywhere as much as they try, but with Operation Snap the police could be anywhere. The aim of this initiative is to change driver behaviour and their mind-set behind the wheel. We want drivers to ask themselves two questions.  Firstly am I being recorded and secondly, do I really want to take that chance.”

Using Police Workforce tables Cycling UK has calculated, outside of the Metropolitan Police area, that road policing levels have dropped by 48% from 2005 - 2016. The drop is significantly higher than the 12% drop to overall police numbers during the same period.

At the same time, road casualties are up as convictions for traffic offences have fallen. Recent governmental casualty figures from September show a 4% increase of road deaths for all road users in 2016; at 1,792, this is the highest annual toll since 2011. This followed figures released in November by the Ministry of Justice which have shown successful convictions for road traffic offences have declined from 611,093 to 516,658 from 2007 to 2016.

Cycling UK’s Duncan Dollimore doesn’t believe this is a coincidence, saying: “Public cuts mean road policing numbers have plummeted in recent years by nearly 50%. At the same time, convictions for road offences have dropped and worryingly casualties increased among all road users. There’s a clear connection and Government needs to put a halt to its salami slicing of police budgets and make national roads policing a priority.”

Until greater funding is available, Dollimore points out there are still actions forces can take, like Operation Snap: “Forces must be smarter in how they use their limited resources, and take advantage of the benefits technology and citizen reporting can bring. Frustratingly, police forces across the UK have historically adopted their own approach to camera and video evidence provided by the public, with inevitable inconsistency.”

To submit footage to any of the four Welsh Police Forces, visit https://gosafesnap.wales/  or https://gosafesnap.cymru helmet cameras Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_1"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_2"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_3"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_4"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_5"); });

“New Highway Code review on right path for safer cycling” says Cycling UK

Tue, 19 Dec 2017, 2:22pm
New proposals to amend the Highway Code could make close passing a thing of the past By SamJonesTuesday, 19 December 2017“New Highway Code review on right path for safer cycling” says Cycling UKCycling UK calls on the Government to improve guidance on overtaking of cyclists and “car-dooring”
  • Cycling UK says wider and holistic Highway Code review needed
  • New Highway Code consultation looks at 'car-dooring' and safe overtaking of cyclists

Cycling UK today (Tuesday, 19 December) called on the Department for Transport to make cycling safer as proposed amendments to the Highway Code look at the overtaking of cyclists by drivers and 'car-dooring'. The charity also pointed out a “holistic, not piecemeal, review of the entire Highway Code” is needed.

With cars becoming increasingly automated, the Government has recognised the need for updates to the Highway Code to keep up with the advances in technology. The last full scale review of the Highway Code occurred in 2007.

Their latest consultation: “Remote control parking and motorway assist: proposals for amending regulations and the Highway Code” will therefore look at the changes needed to allow parking of cars via a remote device.

As part of the consultation, it will look to alter the rules currently affecting the overtaking of cyclists (Rule 160) and 'car-dooring' (Rule 239), two areas which Cycling UK has argued need updating.

Rule 160 advises that drivers should:

  • be aware of other road users, especially cycles and motorcycles who may be filtering through the traffic. These are more difficult to see than larger vehicles and their riders are particularly vulnerable. Give them plenty of room, especially if you are driving a long vehicle or towing a trailer

Cycling UK believes the phrasing “Give them plenty of room” is too open for interpretation, and wants greater clarity and guidance on the gap drivers should leave when overtaking cyclists.

Close passes, sometimes referred to as 'near misses', account for a third of threatening encounters cyclists have with motor vehicles according to research by Dr Rachel Aldred’s Near Miss project. They present a significant barrier for people new to cycling, or who cycle at a more sedate pace (< 8mph). The project found close passes are particularly a problem for women, who on average cycle more slowly than men, and experienced a 50 per cent higher rate of close passes.

Rule 239 states:

  • you MUST ensure you do not hit anyone when you open your door. Check for cyclists or other traffic

Cycling UK would like to see guidance introduced for drivers and other vehicle occupants to use the “wrong” hand to open the door before getting out of the vehicle, forcing them turn and look properly before doing so (the so-called “Dutch reach”). Between 2011 and 2015, there were 3,108 reported collisions where “vehicle door opened or closed negligently” was recorded as a contributing factor in incidents attended by the police.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns and Advocacy said:

“Whether it was the intention or not, the new Highway Code review is on the right path for safer cycling. It gives government the opportunity to address two of the greatest dangers to vulnerable road users: close passing and car-dooring.

“However, to make the roads safer for everyone, it is clear the scale of this consultation is too limited.

“What’s needed as we move towards increased motor vehicle automation is a holistic, not piecemeal, review of the entire Highway Code, something which could and should have dovetailed with the long promised review of all road traffic offences and penalties that we were promised in May 2014 by then Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling MP." 

ENDS

Contact information 

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315 / 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org

Notes to editors 
  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. The Department for Transport's consultation is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/remote-control-parking-and-m... 
  3. 'Car dooring' is a criminal offence under Regulation 105 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1986/1078/regulation/105/made  and Section 42 Road Traffic Act 1988 http://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/the-law-for-cyclists-hit-by-vehicle-doors. However this offence is only punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and no penalty points can be imposed on the offender’s licence.  
  4. For further information on the Dutch Reach and Cycling UK’s position see: https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/samjones/dutch-reach
  5. There were 3108 reported collisions where ‘vehicle door opened or closed negligently’ was a contributing factor in incidents attended by the police between 2011 and 2015. The breakdown below were released following a FOI from Cycling UK to the Department for Transport requesting a breakdown of the “Contributory factors for reported road accidents (RAS50)” see RAS50007 specifically https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras50-contributory-factors            
     

2011-2015 Vehicle door opened negligently: Casualties (GB)

 

NUMBER OF CASUALTIES

% of all road users

Road user type

Severity

 

Severity

 

 

Fatal

Serious

Slight

Total

Fatal

Serious

Slight

Total

Pedestrian

0

10

139

149

0.0

2.6

5.1

4.8

Pedal cyclist

5

278

1726

2009

62.5

71.1

63.7

64.6

Motor cyclist

0

34

280

314

0.0

8.7

10.3

10.1

All*

8

391

2709

3108

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

* includes drivers etc.

  1. Cyclist Robert Hamilton was killed in January 2014, when driver Joanne Jackson opened the driver’s door of her car in front of Robert as he was cycling along Linaker Street in Southport. Jackson was prosecuted for a car-dooring offence and fined £305.
  2. Cyclist Sam Harding was killed https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/car-door-dangers  in August 2012, when driver Kenan Aydogdu opened his car door in front of Harding on London's Holloway Road. Given that this was not a 'driving offence', and the maximum penalty for car dooring was only £1000, the Crown Prosecution Service brought a 'manslaughter' prosecution against him, but he was acquitted despite his windows being coated with dark plastic film, reducing visibility in and out of the car to 17% of their normal level. He was fined £200 for the car-dooring offence.
  3. Cyclist Sam Boulton was killed on 27 July 2016 outside of Leicester Train station, when passenger of a private hire vehicle, Ms Chapple opened her door, knocking Sam off his bicycle and into the path of an oncoming Citroen van. Sam sustained fatal injuries and tragically died later that day, his 26th birthday. Ms Chapple, pleaded guilty to the crime of car dooring on 03 March 2017, and was handed a £150 fine, broken down as £80 for the offence, a £40 victim surcharge and £30 court costs. https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/2017-03-03/car-dooring-offence-must-taken-seriously The driver, Farook Yusuf Bhikhu, had parked illegally on a double yellow line, and was convicted of the offence of ‘car-dooring’ in Loughborough Magistrates Court on 05 June. He was handed a £955 fine, broken down as £300 for the offence, a £30 victim surcharge and £625 court costs, to be paid in £20 weekly instalments. Bhikhu is currently appealing this.
  4. A “car-dooring” incident is available online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7aUG02uHo0 This was supplied to Cycling UK by Olukayode Ibrahim, from an incident on 04/09/2017, 78 - 80 Tower Bridge Road, London.   
  5. Cycling UK’s #TooCloseForComfort campaign specifically addressed concerns about close passes by supplying every police force in the UK with tools to educate drivers about near misses: https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaign/toocloseforcomfort​
  6. The Government’s announcement of a full review of road traffic offences and penalties made in May 2014 is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/justice-for-victims-of-banned-drivers
Dutch Reach Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_1"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_2"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_3"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_4"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_5"); });

Will the laws for driverless cars protect cyclists?

Tue, 21 Nov 2017, 1:42pm
Cycling UK believes there are gaps in the laws for driverless cars which could endanger cyclists. Flickr CC Automobile Italia By Chris PeckTuesday, 21 November 2017Will the laws for driverless cars protect cyclists?A bill to enable the use of autonomous vehicles is currently being led through Parliament, and with it comes considerable debate on the ethics, risks and benefits of autonomous vehicles. Cycling UK believes the bill has gaps which endanger cyclists, and has responded, setting out our position in a note to Parliament. Chris Peck goes into the detail.

Cycling UK’s main concern, as outlined in our submission to Parliament, is that if autonomous vehicles were to cause an injury or death to a cyclist, there is no means proposed to prosecute criminally any responsible party, whether that is the developers of the dangerous software, or someone who has hacked the system.

With over 220,000 road traffic injuries and deaths per year, nearly all thanks to human error, gallons of ink have been spilled arguing that the sooner we can hand over control to a safe, autonomous system, the better.

However, the day on which the last human driver relinquishes control of a tonne of high powered metal is likely to be decades away, despite the Transport Minister’s optimism, disputed by other experts, that driverless cars could be on our roads by 2021. Instead, we face years of continued carnage on the roads, and the interim period may even get worse, as drivers become less and less attentive, handing over more and more control to immature technology that may be unable to cope with critical emergency situations.

Risks to cyclists and pedestrians

Autonomous vehicles will initially be best placed to deal with the roads that are already the safest: motorways and dual carriageways...they are least equipped to deal with those that are riskiest - the urban streets used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Chris Peck, Cycling UK Consultant

Autonomous vehicles will initially be best placed to deal with the roads that are already the safest: motorways and dual carriageways, where they will encounter limited vehicle types, and those vehicles tend to behave consistently. They are least equipped to deal with those that are riskiest - the urban streets used by pedestrians and cyclists. The risk is that partial automation will lower the barriers to car use, making people ever more reliant on cars as their primary transport. By simplifying the driving task right up until the point at which drivers have to resume control in the most challenging locations, there is the risk their skills may be blunted by not having to concentrate.

In a summary of the psychological literature on the phenomenon, one commentator writes: “As software takes over more steering and braking chores, the person behind the wheel won’t have enough to do and will tune out. Making matters worse, the driver will likely have received little or no training in the use and risks of automation. Some routine accidents may be avoided, but we’re going to end up with even more bad drivers on the road.” (Carr, N. 2014, The Glass Cage, p. 91)

Autonomous vehicles will also capture huge amounts of data, but it’s not clear whether it will be possible for that data to be used to ensure safety of pedestrians and cyclists. For instance, if an autonomous vehicle overtook a cyclist too closely, causing them to be destabilised and crash, will police be able to easily retrieve data from the vehicle itself, or from witness vehicles? This is already a problem with the event data recorders in our current fleet.

There are other problems: the dream of autonomous vehicles could take over transport policy, displacing other modes. The fear is that schemes to promote public transport, walking and cycling will lose priority as people place all their eggs in the autonomous vehicle basket - as happened in the 1950s when transport policy priorities shifted towards the private motor car. We’ve already seen hundreds of millions spent on research for autonomous vehicles, and charging points for electric vehicles, and it is likely that this will only grow over time.

Assisted vs Autonomous

In the Bill currently before Parliament, the Government propose definitions of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), as distinct from Autonomous Vehicles (AV). ADAS vehicles are already on the roads: they use systems such as automatic emergency braking, advanced cruise control and systems to maintain lane discipline. These vehicles require the driver to remain in control of the vehicle at all time. For AVs, by contrast, the vehicle’s systems have - at least for some of the time - complete control of vehicle’s operation.

This dichotomy of ADAS/AV is a simplified version of the definitions which were set out a few years ago by the Society of Automotive Engineers, which explained six levels of automation, ranging from Level 0, where vehicles have no automated technology, to Level 5, which can travel anywhere by itself. Within these levels lies very significant differences in the likely safety impacts from these different types of vehicles - particularly for vulnerable road users.

Will it be safer?

It may well be the case that a fully autonomous, all level five fleet with no human drivers will be safer, and that with it could have other benefits. It could free up land currently used for car parking, make most road signs and traffic signals and other infrastructure redundant, while enabling much more appropriate speed limits and access restrictions to be imposed with fewer concerns about enforcement challenges. It’s possible that an autonomous future could mean a fully flexible public transport system responding to demand and using vehicle capacity much more efficiently than at present.

However, that dream is a long way off, and may well never happen. In the meantime, a fleet of mixed autonomous and human controlled vehicles will continue to have real problems. Automated systems, for instance, will have instant reflexes, but corresponding human drivers will still be slow to respond, particularly if - supported by assisted driving systems - they aren’t paying much attention to the driving task.

Gaps in the bill

The aim of the bill is to prepare ground for a system of insurance to ensure cover in case of crashes when the autonomous mode is being used. Currently it would be impossible to insure these vehicles, and thereby give assurance to drivers that they would not be personally liable in the case of failings of the system.

Unfortunately the bill creates some ambiguous areas, particularly around when and where technology can be used safely. Cycling UK wants to ensure that the first use of these devices is on controlled roads (ie, motorways), where the possible risks to cyclists and pedestrians are minimised. As the technology fully matures, sharing urban streets may become possible, but there will be need for robust standards to ensure that the deployed technologies will be safe, and adequate penalties for companies or individuals that don’t meet those standards.

We also want to make sure that there are adequate criminal penalties available to target those who hack into systems, or for drivers who don’t follow the manufacturers restrictions, but still manage to use the autonomous system in places where it is illegal. So far the Government has only suggested that such behaviour will be dealt with under changes to the Construction and Use Regulations 1986, contraventions of which currently only command fines of up to £5000.

There has been some discussion of these issues as the Bill has progressed through its Committee Stage, but Cycling UK will continue to press for regulations that will ensure that there are adequate safeguards in place before widespread use of autonomous vehicles is permitted.

Chris Peck is a consultant for Cycling UK Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_1"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_2"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_3"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_4"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_5"); });

Road safety and cycling: Overview

Tue, 14 Nov 2017, 4:01pm
'More' as well as 'safer' cycling can and should go hand-in-hand Tuesday, 14 November 2017Road safety and cycling: OverviewHeadline Message 
  • Cycling is essentially a safe activity, causing little risk either to cyclists themselves or to other road users. Moreover, there is good evidence that cyclists gain from ‘safety in numbers’, with cycling becoming safer as cycle use increases.
  • However, fear of road traffic is a major deterrent, despite the health, environmental and other benefits of cycling.
  • Actual cycle safety in the UK lags behind many of our continental neighbours, because of poorly designed roads and junctions, traffic volumes and speeds, irresponsible driving, and a legal system that fails to respond adequately to road danger.
  • National and local government should therefore aim for more as well as safer cycling. These two aims can and should go hand-in-hand.
Policy Key Facts 
  • The life years gained due to the health and fitness benefits of cycling in Britain outweigh the life-years lost through injuries by a factor of around 20:1.
  • From 2012-2016, one cyclist was killed on Britain’s roads for every 30 million miles travelled by cycle - the equivalent to well over 1,000 times around the world.
  • Figures for the last three years suggest that, per billion miles travelled, pedestrians were more likely than cyclists to be killed.
  • However, around 59% of non-cyclists in Britain feel that it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads.
  • Overall, the UK has a good road safety record - but for cycle safety in particular, it is one of the poorer performing countries in Europe.
  • From 2006, for every one billion miles cycled, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) increased at least until 2012 (in 2006, there were 868 cyclist KSI per billion miles, and 1,070 in 2012). Most of the following years witnessed a drop, but the 2016 figure (1,011 KSI per billion miles) is still higher than that for 2006. In contrast, the KSI rates for people in motor vehicles were all higher in 2006 than they were ten years on.
Cycling UK View 
  • Road safety strategies, nationally and locally, should recognise that:
    • Cycling is a safe activity, posing little risk either to cyclists themselves or to other road users
    • The health benefits of cycling far outweigh the risks involved 
    • Combined with good provision, cycling gets safer the more cyclists there are: the ‘safety in numbers’ effect 
    • The aim of cycle safety policies and initiatives should be to encourage more as well as safer cycling, in order to maximise its health, environmental and other benefits, and to improve overall safety for all road users
  • Encouraging more as well as safer cycling involves tackling factors that deter cycle use. These include high traffic volumes and speeds; irresponsible driver behaviour; the unfriendly design of many roads and junctions; and lorries. 
  • The provision of cycle training to the national standard can also help people to cycle more, to ride more safely, and to feel safer and more confident while doing so. It can also help parents feel more confident about allowing their children to cycle. 
  • Increases in cyclist casualties may still mean cycle safety is improving if cycle use is increasing more steeply than cyclist casualties. Therefore targets and indicators for the effectiveness of road safety strategies should adopt ‘rate-based’ measures for improvements in cycle safety, e.g. cycle casualties (or fatal and serious injuries) per million km cycled, or per million trips. Simple casualty reduction targets should be avoided. 
  • ‘Perception-based’ indicators, which show whether public perceptions of cycle safety in a given area are getting better, can be used alongside ‘rate-based’ indicators, or as an interim substitute for the latter if necessary. 
  • Care should be taken to avoid cycle safety awareness campaigns that ‘dangerise’ cycling. These deter people from cycling or allowing their children to cycle and are counter-productive because they erode the ‘safety in numbers’ effect, as well as undermining the activity’s wider health and other benefits.
Download the full detailed campaign briefing  Cycling and road safety: Overviewroad safetySafe Drivers and Vehicles 'More' as well as 'safer' cycling can and should go hand-in-hand.

Cyclists' behaviour and the law

Tue, 14 Nov 2017, 2:19pm
Cycling UK advocates responsible cycling, but believes that cyclists should never have to choose between keeping safe and obeying the law Tuesday, 14 November 2017Cyclists' behaviour and the lawHeadline Message 
  • Cyclists should behave responsibly and within the law. They pose little risk to others, however.
  • Cyclists are often faced with a difficult choice: either act legally or keep safe. Children, for example, may feel safer cycling on the pavement alongside a busy, hostile road, but commit an offence if it hasn’t been converted to shared use. It is important that the law and those who apply it take this into account. Planners and designers of the road network need to be mindful of this too.
  • Whilst Cycling UK encourages cyclists to take advantage of cycle training and to be insured, making either of these compulsory is not only unworkable, but would not solve any problems. It would probably put people off cycling occasionally or giving it a try, and the costs to the taxpayer would be prohibitive.
Policy Key Facts 
  • In 2016 (GB), 11,783 cycles were involved in incidents in which a police officer assigned one or more ‘contributory factors’ (CFs) to at least one of the parties at the scene. They assigned 138 CFs for ‘disobeying an automatic traffic signal’ to the cycle, i.e. to just over 1% of them - about the same percentage as it was for cars; and 236 CFs for ‘not displaying lights at night or in poor visibility’ to the cycle, i.e. to 2% of them.
  • From 2007-16 (GB): 98.9% of pedestrian fatalities and 95.6% of pedestrian serious injuries that happened in collisions on a footway/verge involved a motor vehicle of some kind; no pedestrians were killed by red light jumping cyclists, while around five a year were killed by red light jumping drivers.
  • With around 25 million children and adults aged five+ owning a bicycle in Great Britain, a licensing and compulsory training system for cyclists/cycles would be complex and very costly – not much less so than the current system for drivers (of which there are almost 38.5 million) and private cars (over 29 million).
  • In the Netherlands and Denmark, where 27% and 17% of trips are cycled respectively, there is no requirement for cyclists to be tested, licenced/registered etc.
  • A variety of regulatory systems for cyclists have been introduced in other countries or in cities elsewhere (e.g. Toronto and Switzerland), but subsequently abolished (e.g. in Toronto and Switzerland); either that, or their main aim isn’t/wasn’t to tackle irresponsible behaviour, but bike theft (e.g. in Japan).
Cycling UK View 
  • Cyclists, like all road users, should behave responsibly and within the law.
  • The enforcement of road traffic rules, and penalties for breaching them, should be proportionate to the potential danger imposed on other people, especially vulnerable road users. This principle also applies to off-road rights of way.
  • Road traffic rules should not put cyclists in situations where they feel they must choose between acting legally and protecting their own safety. Those responsible for making and enforcing the rules must take into account the reasons behind cyclists’ offending behaviour.
  • Cycling UK does not condone unlawful cycling on pavements (footway). However, the police should exercise discretion in the use of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) for pavement cycling and discriminate between those whose behaviour is dangerous and antisocial and those who are acting out of concern for their own safety without presenting any threat to others.
  • The police and others charged with applying the law should be able to send offending cyclists on training programmes as an alternative to prosecution or fixed penalty notices (FPNs).
  • Highway authorities should tackle any hazardous road conditions or poor design that may explain illegal behaviour by cyclists in certain locations.
  • A system of compulsory licensing and cycle training is unworkable and unjustifiable, not least because children have the same legal rights to cycle as adults and expecting them to hold licences is impractical. While the running costs would be high (i.e. similar to schemes that apply to motor vehicles and drivers), the benefits would be negligible, and the bureaucracy involved likely to seriously deter newcomers and occasional cyclists.
  • Cycling UK does not actively support Critical Mass, but recognises the motivation of those involved.
Download the full detailed campaign briefing  Cyclists' behaviour and the lawtraffic lawroad safetyoffencesenforcementSafe Drivers and Vehicles Cyclists should behave responsibly and legally, but the law should recognise that they do little harm and should not have to choose between keeping safe and obeying rules.

Conviction upheld of taxi driver in death of Sam Boulton

Thu, 12 Oct 2017, 2:29pm
Sam Boulton was tragically knocked off his bike and killed on 27 July 2016. Photo: Leicestershire Police By SamJonesThursday, 12 October 2017Conviction upheld of taxi driver in death of Sam BoultonCycling UK says case acts as reminder for all drivers and passengers to take care when opening their car doors. Leicester Crown Court Court:  

Farook Yusuf Bhikhu, the taxi driver convicted of permitting the ‘car dooring’ which led to the death of Leicester teacher Sam Boulton, today (12 October) saw his appeal rejected by the court.

Bhikhu was convicted of the offence of ‘car-dooring’ in Loughborough Magistrates Court on 5 June. He was originally handed a £955 fine, broken down as £300 for the offence, a £30 victim surcharge and £625 court costs, to be paid in £20 weekly instalments.  Following the rejection of his appeal, further costs of £300 were ordered by the magistrate.

A local school teacher, Sam was cycling along London Road in Leicester on 27 July 2016 at around 1.20pm. Bhikhu, having parked outside Leicester train station on a double yellow line, permitted his passenger, Ms Chapple to open her door on the roadside.

This caused a collision with Sam, knocking him off his bicycle and into the path of an oncoming Citroen van. Sam sustained fatal injuries and tragically died later that day, his 26th birthday.

Chapple pleaded guilty at the time of the initial hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court in March earlier this year, and was handed a £150 fine. Bhikhu submitted a plea of not guilty at the same time and his case went to trial, resulting in his conviction, which was upheld today.

‘Car-dooring’ is a criminal offence for which both the person in charge of the vehicle at the time, and the person opening the door are potentially culpable. The offence is punishable with a maximum fine of up to £1,000.

Cycling UK and Sam’s family, wants to see more public awareness on the dangers of car-dooring which could be significantly reduced through simple techniques such as the Dutch Reach.

Jeff Boulton, father of Sam, said:

“I’m relieved to hear the court uphold the decision from June earlier this year. In July 2016 our family received a lifelong sentence, because Bhikhu parked irresponsibly to save a couple of minutes and took no responsibility for his passenger’s actions.

“Despite Bhikhu’s major role in the events leading to the death of my son, his refusal to see how his action resulted in the death of a wonderful and talented young man, is almost as upsetting as the way the law trivialises car-dooring.”

Cycling UK believes the current offence of ‘car-dooring’ which can have serious and life changing consequences, is trivialised as a minor offence. In light of the tragic death of Sam Boulton, the charity has continued to press the Government to introduce a new offence of causing serious injury or death by car dooring, with tougher penalties.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Advocacy and Campaigns said:

“This tragic case should act as a reminder for all drivers about their responsibility to ensure passengers do not cause injury or death when exiting a vehicle.

“Sam’s needless death also highlights the need for urgent action from the Government to change the law on car-dooring offences. A maximum £1000 fine is inadequate for entirely avoidable behaviour which can kill. This is why Cycling UK and the families of those affected by car dooring have asked Government to introduce a new offence of causing or permitting serious injury or death by car dooring, with tougher penalties.

“Driver education must be improved. In early September, Cycling UK wrote to Transport Minister, Jesse Norman, about the potential to educate UK drivers and their passengers about the “Dutch Reach”, a technique which can help reduce the risk of car-dooring. We are still waiting for his response.”

Notes to editors:
  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Farook Yusuf Bhikhu convicted of the offence of ‘car-dooring’ on 05 June 2017 and was handed a £955 fine, broken down as £300 for the offence, a £30 victim surcharge and £625 court costs. This was to be paid in £20 weekly instalments.  https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/2017-06-05/taxi-driver-convicted-%E2%80%98car-dooring%E2%80%99-incident-caused-cyclist-death
  3. The passenger, Ms Chapple, pleaded guilty to the crime of car dooring on 03 March 2017, and was handed a £150 fine, broken down as £80 for the offence, a £40 victim surcharge and £30 court costs.
  4. 'Car dooring' is a criminal offence under Regulation 105 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1986/1078/regulation/105/made  and Section 42 Road Traffic Act 1988 http://www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk/the-law-for-cyclists-hit-by-vehicle-doors. However this offence is only punishable by a fine of up to £1,000 and no penalty points can be imposed on the offender’s licence.  
  5. There were 3,108 reported collisions where ‘vehicle door opened or closed negligently’ was a contributing factor in incidents attended by the police between 2011 and 2015. The breakdown below were released following a FOI from Cycling UK to the Department for Transport requesting a breakdown of the “Contributory factors for reported road accidents (RAS50)” see RAS50007 specifically https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras50-contributory-factors
  6. Cycling UK has made the case for adequate sentencing for car dooring offences in their response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on the review of road traffic offences and penalties, and in their recent letter to Transport Minister Jesse Norman, https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/2017-09-10/cycling-uk-calls-greater-public-awareness-%E2%80%9Ccar-dooring%E2%80%9D
  7. For further information on the Dutch Reach and Cycling UK’s position see: https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/samjones/dutch-reach
  8. Cyclist Sam Harding was killed https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/car-door-dangers in August 2012, when driver Kenan Aydogdu opened his car door in front of Harding on London's Holloway Road. Given that this was not a 'driving offence', and the maximum penalty for car dooring was only £1000, the Crown Prosecution Service brought a 'manslaughter' prosecution against him, but he was acquitted despite his windows being coated with dark plastic film, reducing visibility in and out of the car to 17% of their normal level. He was fined £200 for the car-dooring offence.
  9. Cyclist Robert Hamilton was killed in January 2014, when driver Joanne Jackson opened the driver’s door of her car in front of Robert as he was cycling along Linaker Street in Southport. Jackson was prosecuted for a car-dooring offence and fined £305.
Contact information For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_1"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_2"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_3"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_4"); }); Sponsored Advert googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display("dfp-ad-sidebar_button_5"); });
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  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cycling UK is a trading name of Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no: 25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales charity no: 1147607 and in Scotland charity no: sco42541. Registered office: Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX.