Wanton or furious

It's cycle to work day today (#CycleToWorkDay) and cycling in the UK is booming, not least because of the exceptional performance of Geraint Thomas in this years Tour De France and Froome and Wiggins in previous years.

However, cycling is dangerous and you're vulnerable, especially as the roads seem to be getting more and more congested. A cyclist versus an LGV, and we ultimately know who is going to come off worse. A cycle helmet may not help you in those situations but if you topple off your bike at the traffic lights or because of a pot hole (we all know how many of those are around!!!) then a helmet could save your life.

The majority of cyclists are law abiding, courteous and respectful of other road users including pedestrians. However, there are some that are unfortunately not and previously the UK law only enabled them to be charged with "wanton or furious driving" and nothing more. This is a law from Victorian times and was more applicable to drivers of horse-drawn carriages!

This came to light last year when a cyclist, who was riding a fixed gear bicycle with no front brakes and who had killed a pedestrian in 2016 was jailed for 18 months, the maximum the cyclist could have been jailed for would have been 2 years. A vehicle driver on the other hand could have been jailed for 14 years for causing death by dangerous driving. Surely, something needs to be done with the law to ensure dangerous cyclists are more culpable.

The UK government certainly seems to think that the law needs to be changed and this week the Department for Transport announced that they have launched a 12-week consultation period to consider whether new offences including 'death by dangerous cycling' and 'death by careless cycling' should be introduced.

I'm a cyclist, I wear a helmet and I enjoy riding around but I agree that something needs to be done to make the roads safer for all, whether this is by legislation and new laws, education or by changing the designs of the roads to segregate road users, we will have to wait and see.

Find out more from the Department for Transport


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