CTC Road Justice News

Our Lawless Roads

Thu, 11 May 2017, 10:01am
'Our Lawless Roads' is the detailed report the national road victims' charity RoadPeace published yesterday which calls for a reversal in the cuts to traffic police numbers. With falling prosecutions, increased numbers of drivers failing to stop after collisions, and deliberately aggressive driving on the increase, Cycling UK believes we need visible roads policing to ensure offenders fear the consequences if they're caught. Duncan Dollimore looks into Our Lawless Roads. 4984060658_1e2fea3c8a_z.jpg Crunching the statistics

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“Road safety agenda for next Government set by Parliamentary report” says Cycling UK

Tue, 2 May 2017, 9:12am
Cycling UK today (Tuesday, 02 May) welcomes the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group report ‘Cycling and the Justice System’ which identifies the loophole which every year allows over 8,500 drivers with 12 points or more on their licences to continue driving and calls for it to be closed. samjones_distracted-driving-posed_2016.jpg

The report contains 14 recommendations for action, predominantly for Government or the police, necessary to reduce danger on our roads for cyclists and other road users, and improve the response of the justice system. 

Cycling UK Press Office
Email: publicity@cyclinguk.org
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

  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 APPCG’s  ‘Cycling and the Justice System’ is available for download at: https://allpartycycling.org/inquiries/justice/   
  3. Ministry of Justice figures show that the number of people disqualified from driving fell from 155,484 to 58,715 in 2015. At the same time, the number of people convicted of dangerous driving fell by 30%; careless driving by 36% and drink driving by 48%. From Ministry of Justice (2015) Criminal Justice Statistics, cited in RoadPeace (2016) Driving Bans in Court.  
  4. There are multiple reasons why drivers may be able to drive with 12 or more points on their licence, including: a) having successfully appealed for leniency in the courts, b) awaiting summons to court, c) through administrative error on the part of the police or courts. 
  5. Section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 provides that drivers who accrue 12 or more penalty points on their licence within a three year period must be disqualified for a minimum period of 6 months (totting up disqualification). The court can however decide not to disqualify, or disqualify for a shorter period, in cases where disqualification would cause exceptional hardship. 
  6. Cyclist Lee Martin was killed in a collision caused by driver Christopher Gard who was texting as he drove in August 2015 on the A31 near Bentley. Gard was jailed for 9 years at Winchester Crown Court in September 2016 and disqualified from driving for 14 and a half years. http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2016-09-05/texting-driver-jailed-after-causing-cyclists-death/  
  7. For a detailed analysis of the APPCG’s report see Cycling UK website from 8am 02 May or contact Cycling UK press office: https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/duncandollimore/appcg-blog  

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Parliamentary group reports on cycling and the justice system

Tue, 2 May 2017, 9:07am
The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's report on cycling and the justice system was published today, with fourteen recommendations to reduce danger and ensure justice. It won't change things overnight, but Duncan Dollimore explains why Cycling UK welcomes the report, and how the recommendations can be used within Road Justice campaigning. 4984060658_1e2fea3c8a_z.jpg

In January, I wrote a blog welcoming the inquiry into cycling and the justice system being undertaken by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG). Over 200 individuals and organisations including Cycling UK had submitted written evidence to the APPCG, who then heard oral evidence from 22 witnesses over the following two months.

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Common driving offences

Fri, 28 Apr 2017, 9:51am
Tackling common, bad driving offences effectively would help create a safer and more attractive environment for cycling and walking. (This briefing covers: speeding, drink/drug driving, mobile phone use, driving without entitlement). driver-training-testing_.jpg Headline Messages: 

Penalising bad driving offences effectively would help create a safer and more attractive environment for cycling and walking. In particular, the drink/drive limit should be lowered in England and Wales, and hands-free mobile phones banned.

Note: 'Common Driving Offences' is one of a series of Cycling UK briefings covering various aspects of traffic law and enforcement. Others consider bad driving in the context of the legal framework in general and specific aspects of it including sentencing, prosecution, the courts, the vital role of the traffic police, and driver training, testing and licencing (forthcoming).

Key facts: 
  • Speeding: From 2011-15 (GB), around a quarter of road deaths and 15% of KSIs (killed or seriously injured) occurred in collisions where the police believed that 'exceeding the speed limit' or 'travelling too fast for conditions' was a contributory factor. In 2015, 84% cars exceeded the speed limit on 20 mph roads (47% by 5 mph or more), while 52% of cars exceeded the speed limit on 30 mph roads, even though 89% of people believe that drivers should obey limits.
  • Drink/Drug driving: In 2014 (GB), 14% of all road fatalities (240 people) happened in incidents where a driver was over the limit. In December 2014, Scotland cut its drink-drive limit to 50mg alcohol per 100ml blood, bringing it in line with most EU countries except for England, Wales and Malta where the limit is still 80mg/100ml. In 2015 (GB), the police thought that a driver/rider being ‘impaired by drugs (illicit or medicinal)’ was a contributory factor in incidents in which 67 people were killed, and 350 seriously injured.
  • Mobiles/other distractions: In 2015 (GB), the police thought: that mobile phone use at the wheel contributed to collisions in which 22 people died and 99 were seriously injured; and that ‘distraction in vehicle’ contributed to collisions in which 66 people died and 504 were seriously injured. Drivers are four times more likely to crash when using a mobile phone. Over two thirds of the population feel that the law on using a mobile phone whilst driving is not properly enforced.
  • Entitlement: The Motor Insurers’ Bureau settles around 25,000 claims a year made by innocent victims of uninsured/untraced drivers, including c.120 fatal cases. The risk of crash involvement for un-licenced drivers could range between 2.7 to 8.9 times greater than that for all drivers.
Cycling UK View (formal statement of Cycling UK's policy): 

Exceeding the speed limit

  • Speeding fines are currently too low to have any significant impact on driver behaviour.
  • Extreme speed (e.g. 20 mph+ over the limit) should be treated as dangerous driving in the first instance.
  • There should be no margin over the speed limit at which a driver avoids penalty.
  • When determining the severity of any speeding offence and the penalties for it, the presence (or likely presence) of vulnerable road users should be considered as aggravating factors. 

Drink/drug driving

  • The drink-drive blood alcohol limit should be lowered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from 80mg/100ml to not more than 50mg/100ml, in line with most European countries and Scotland. Novice drivers should not be allowed to drink at all before driving.
  • We support the use of targeted checkpoints, but also believe that the police should be given more freedom to carry out random breath testing.
  • Alcohol interlocks should be fitted in offenders’ vehicles. If successful, the measure should be extended. 
  • The definitions and standards for drug-related driving offences should relate solely to whether a drug impairs the ability to drive; it should not relate to whether it is legal to use it - i.e. over-the-counter and prescription drugs should be included.

Mobile phones and other in-car distractions

  • Use of hands-free mobile phones whilst driving should be banned.
  • More research needs to be done on the impact of other in-car distractions (e.g. SatNavs, radios, in-car computers etc.). Drivers who put others in danger because they have been distracted by such devices need to be appropriately penalised.

Driving without entitlement

  • Any driver convicted of a bad driving offence whilst unlicensed or disqualified, and those who persistently break driving bans or go on driving despite not being entitled to do so for some reason, should receive a custodial sentence for the crime.  
Download full campaigns briefing:  Common driving offences Publication Date:  March 2017

The Michael Mason case - why, what happened, and where now?

Thu, 13 Apr 2017, 1:24pm
A private prosecution ended in the driver's acquittal, but why did Cycling UK's Cyclists' Defence Fund bring the case, what was the evidence, and where do we go with Road Justice campaigning from here? It's a long read, but Duncan Dollimore answers those questions here. 4984060658_1e2fea3c8a_z.jpg A three year journey from Regent Street to the Old Bailey

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We've done it! Too Close For Comfort meets target in first 48hrs

Fri, 10 Mar 2017, 7:33pm
Cycling UK ‘Too Close For Comfort’ Kickstarter campaign smashes its fundraising target in less than 48 hours. kickstarter_-_close_pass_mat_1_5.png

Cycling UK today (Friday, 10 March) celebrated, as with the help of the UK’s cyclists, they met and exceeded its intended target of £12,000 for their fundraising campaign ‘Too Close for Comfort’ in less than 48 hours. 

Cycling UK Press Office
Email: publicity@cyclinguk.org
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

  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. Full details of Cycling UK’s #TooCloseForComfort Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cyclinguk/toocloseforcomfort-the-close-pass-cycle-mat 
  3. Cycling UK called the ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ campaign on its launch “the best cyclist road safety initiative ever”: https://www.cyclinguk.org/press-release/2016-09-16/cycling-uk-hails-west-midlands-police-%E2%80%9Cbest-cyclist-road-safety-initiative- 
  4. For further information on the West Midlands Traffic Police ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ campaign visit: http://bhamcyclerevolution.org.uk/userfiles/file/BCR%20'GiveSpace'%20Flyer_Web2.pdf
  5. The Road Danger Reduction Forum gave its first award to West Midlands Police for its ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ campaign in recognition of this “exciting new approach by police services towards danger to cyclists.” https://rdrf.org.uk/2016/11/22/a-new-dawn-in-policing-to-prevent-danger-to-cyclists-the-rdrf-award-to-west-midlands-traffic-police/ 
  6. According to findings from Dr Rachel Aldred’s Near Miss Project, close passes account for a third of threatening encounters cyclists have with motor vehicles. 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. http://www.nearmiss.bike/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Nearmissreport-final-web-2.pdf 
  7. Road traffic police numbers have dropped by 37 per cent over the 10 years of 2004 – 2014. Over the same period overall policing numbers fell by 3.5 per cent: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-workforce-england-and-wales-30-september-2014-data-tables
  8. Cycling UK's fundraising video was produced and directed by Luke Stanley, www.offthewhale.co.uk 

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Roads policing protecting cyclists - with half the budget?

Wed, 8 Mar 2017, 11:22am
The Government has been told that traffic law enforcement needs specialist traffic officers and visible roads policing, but the numbers keep falling alongside the decline in detection of traffic offences. Whilst political will and more resources are needed, does the West Midland's close pass scheme show how, whilst we're waiting, clever enforcement can mean getting more for less? police_officers_on_bikes.jpg Invisible roads policing and evaporating enforcement

Most people will be able to guess my age when I say that I can still remember the days when a cycle ride or car journey would often take you past a traffic officer's patrol car. It was a visible reminder of a roads policing presence and that non-compliance with the rules might have consequences, and potentially for drivers, points on your licence. It made you think about your driving.

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'Car dooring' as an offence must be taken more seriously

Fri, 3 Mar 2017, 2:00pm
Today Friday 3 March, defendants Ms Mandy Chapple (56) and Mr Farook Yusuf Bhikhu (56) were both summoned to Leicester Magistrates Court for the offence of opening a car door, or causing or permitting it to be opened, so as to cause injury, an action which resulted in the death of Leicester schoolteacher Sam Boulton. justice.jpg

Ms Chapple pleaded guilty to the charge and, due to her limited income, was handed a £150 fine, broken down as £80 for the offence, a £40 victim surcharge and £30 court costs. This is to be paid in £50 monthly instalments.

Mr Bhikhu, who was driving the taxi Ms Chapple was travelling in, pleaded not guilty and his case will be heard at Loughborough Magistrates Court on 5 June. 

Cycling UK Press Office
Email: publicity@cyclinguk.org
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

  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. '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-vehicl.... 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.  
  3. Cycling UK recently 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. 
  4. For further information on the Dutch Reach and Cycling UK’s position see: https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/samjones/dutch-reach 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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Increasing mobile phone penalties - but will this be enforced?

Wed, 1 Mar 2017, 11:01am
The penalties for mobile phone use whilst driving have increased, but where's the deterrence without enforcement, what about the wider issues with distracted driving, why did the Government listen on this issue, and what's the lesson for other campaigning? Cycling UK's Senior Road Safety Officer Duncan Dollimore investigates. staged_photo_sam_jones.jpg Double points for distraction

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Three years on and still waiting for justice for Michael Mason

Fri, 24 Feb 2017, 9:24am
Tomorrow (25 February) will be the third anniversary of the tragic collision which led to the death of 70 year old teacher Michael Mason, who was hit from behind as he cycled along London's Regent Street. Three years of waiting and fighting, but in five weeks time his family will finally get to hear the evidence about what happened, as the private prosecution finally comes to trial at the Old Bailey.

"My father’s death still touches every part of our lives and our long drawn out attempts to get some measure of justice remains painful", Michael Mason's daughter, Anna Tatton-Brown, told us. "The ongoing support offered us by the Cyclists’ Defence Fund, and the many people who have donated money, is an ongoing source of support and solace."

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Do you do the Dutch Reach?

Fri, 10 Feb 2017, 4:08pm
We all know the Dutch have it pretty sussed when it comes to cycling, but is copying the way they open their car doors going a step too far in our admiration? Campaigns and Communications Coordinator, Sam Jones says not. flickr_cc_amsterdamized.jpg

I’m going to ask a bit of a personal question: do you do the Dutch Reach? If not, why not? 

If you’re one of the many who does not practice the Dutch Reach, I would hazard a guess and assume it is probably because you have never heard of it – yet. 

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Cycling UK's response to the Ministry of Justice consultation on driving offences and penalties

Thu, 9 Feb 2017, 3:54pm
With over 9000 responses to the Government consultation on driving offences and penalties a clear message has been sent - the system needs an overhaul, and just tinkering with it won't do. Here's what Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's senior road safety officer has told them they should start with - we'll see if, as the Prime Minister promised on day one in office, this is a government that will listen. 3098344728_6393a0b2b0_b.jpg What weight do they give to public opinion?

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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.