Should dangerous cycling be a crime?Fri, 05/01/2018
A recent poll shows 73% of drivers think cyclists should face same laws as drivers, with many also thinking that cyclists should have to pass a test and pay road tax to be legally allowed to use their bikes on public roads.
James Salmon, The Mail Online, report:
Almost two-thirds of motorists believe the offence of dangerous driving should be extended to cyclists.
A poll of more than 10,000 drivers conducted for the Daily Mail reveals widespread concerns that cyclists are treated too leniently.
Some 73 per cent of drivers said cyclists should be subject to similar legal requirements as motorists. And of these just under nine in ten called for new laws to prosecute cyclists for a two-wheeled equivalent of dangerous driving.
A change in legislation is already being considered by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling after a woman died last year when she was knocked down by a rider whose bike had no front brake. The cyclist was acquitted of manslaughter but convicted of wanton and furious driving, an offence falling under an Act from 1861.
More than eight in ten drivers who called for tougher legislation for cyclists backed the introduction of compulsory insurance, while almost three-quarters (73 per cent) said they should be required to wear fluorescent clothing.
Around seven in ten said they should be legally required to pass a road proficiency test, and wear a helmet. More than half (56 per cent) said cyclists should have a roadworthy bike certificate – the equivalent of an MOT – while 52 per cent want cyclists to have to pay road tax.
Almost six in ten drivers said the cycle lanes designed to alleviate congestion and increase safety for cyclists have failed to improve traffic flow, or made the situation worse.
The poll of more than 10,400 drivers was conducted by campaign group FairFuelUK.
Its founder Howard Cox said: ‘What infuriates the highest taxed motorists in the world is what they see as the lack of fairness apportioned to all road users.
‘They believe cyclists should be making some financial contribution to roads and increasing cycle lanes they currently benefit from.
‘They also want to see the compulsory use of helmets, cyclists to be road insured, wear fluorescent clothing, pass a road proficiency test and more prosecutions for the increasing episodes of dangerous cycling.’
The poll also revealed that almost nine in ten drivers (88 per cent) believe that traffic has got worse over the last five years.
Almost seven in ten cited the simple fact that there are more cars on the roads.
But more than half (52 per cent) blamed years of underinvestment in the roads, while four in ten attributed the increase in congestion to more potholes.
More than four in ten (43 per cent) blamed bad driving – such as motorists who hog the middle lane on motorways.
Traffic has hit record levels, fuelled in part by the surge in delivery vans caused by the internet shopping boom. The Government has said it is investing a record £23million in improving roads, including on tackling congestion.
Roger Geffen, policy director at Cycling UK, said: ‘Cycling UK strongly supports responsible behaviour by all road users and is very concerned about drastic cuts to roads policing in recent years.
‘However, if we want grandparents and grandchildren alike to be able to cycle safely and normally for day-to-day journeys, it makes no sense to impose unnecessary new rules and costs on would-be cyclists, particularly children.
‘The top priority must be to create safe, cycle-friendly streets and junctions, while strengthening the enforcement of our existing traffic rules, rather than adding new ones.’
The use of helmets should arguably be compulsory, and perhaps cyclists should be road insured too should they be the cause of a road traffic collision. Wearing fluorescent clothing and passing a road proficiency test are also ways to ensure the safety of those using public roads.