Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yet More on the Dangerous and Reckless Cycling (Offences) Bill

Road.cc reports that 'road safety' minister Mike Penning has unofficially given a nod towards the ill-conceived Dangerous and Reckless Cycling (Offences) Bill, but then the Dept of Transport has publicly backtracked from this endorsement, reportedly saying "his remarks were made in the context of a private conversation". The lawyer acting for the Bennett family, whose daugher was killed by a cyclist, apparently said that Mike Penning "met us afterwards in the lobby and said to the effect of: we agree with your arguments, and we're in the process of updating a lot of road traffic laws to bring them up to date. We would look at trying to tag this on to another bill if possible." To be honest, I wouldn't read too much into this report. It sounds like a politician being sympathetic but non-committal to me.

An update of road traffic law is not before time, but with the backdrop of the Government's "war on the motorist" agenda, I don't have much confidence that the intention will be to make motorists more responsible for their actions. In 2009, no pedestrians were killed by cyclists whereas 426 died in collisions with motor vehicles. Likely only 25% of those deaths are likely to be prosecuted with 'causing death' charges, and many of those prosecutions will fail due to the law being stacked in the motorists' favour.

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