Plans unveiled to hand larger sentences to unsafe riders
Back-bencher MP Andrea Leadsom proposed harsher punishments for dangerous cycling in Parliament yesterday (Tuesday March 22nd).
The bill was proposed during a ten-minute rule motion in the House of Commons.
The CTC blasted the bill as a ‘distraction’, pointing out that fatal collisions involving cyclists are rare compared with deaths involving motor vehicles.
During 2009, no pedestrians were killed by cyclists, while 426 pedestrians were killed by motor vehicles.
The organisation also criticised the disparity in sentencing between cyclists and motorists, stating that courts tend to hand small fines or community sentences to drivers who kill.
“Our Stop SMIDSY website shows numerous cases of drivers receiving derisory sentences for killing or maiming cyclists, or being let off altogether,” said Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy director.
“Only last week, lorry driver Tony Smith received a 100 hour community sentence and a one-year driving ban for killing Vera Chaplin, a 89 year-old cyclist in Essex last summer. Last month, driver David Kilgallon received the same sentence for killing 85 year-old Barbara Taylor, while she was cycling in Blackpool. “We would certainly agree that road traffic law needs strengthening. But the overwhelming priority is to ensure that the authorities use the law to deal with the sources of danger on our roads, and that is overwhelmingly about tackling bad drivers.”
Leadsom, the MP proposing the bill, is the local MP of Michael and Diana Bennett. Their daughter Rhiannon Bennett was hit by a cyclist in 2007 and died from head injuries six days later. The cyclist, Jason Howard, was fined £2,200.
As reported by the BBC, Leadsom said: "Imagine if a motorist had mounted the pavement and killed a schoolgirl as she chatted to her friends.
"The motorist would have felt the full force of the law and there would have been a national outcry if such a person had walked away with a fine."