A 10,000-strong survey of motorists has found that the majority want cyclists to be prosecuted for dangerous cycling, should have compulsory insurance and must be forced to wear hi-vis while cycling. The survey was conducted by FairFuel UK on behalf of the Daily Mail, and the results were published in the newspaper today. (The piece does not state that the poll was conducted professionally, and it’s likely that it was conducted among FairFuel members only – it’s probably this online survey.)
Just under nine in ten of respondents said cyclists should be prosecuted for dangerous cycling; more than 80 per cent wanted cyclists to be compelled to take out insurance, and, according to the Daily Mail, 73 per cent wanted cyclists to be made to wear fluorescent clothing by law. (There was no question in the poll above regarding hi-vis.)
Cycling UK policy director Roger Geffen said: “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.”
He added: “Cyclists can already be prosecuted for dangerous or careless cycling. However, the other proposals in the FairFuel UK survey would be very costly to implement, would provide few if any benefits and would seriously undermine efforts to attract new people to take up cycling, including children and their parents."
Although a prosecution for causing death by dangerous or careless cycling is not currently possible, the government is considering these possibilities in the aftermath of the Charlie Alliston case.
Geffen said: “Cycling UK has no objection to the introduction of these offences if carried out as part of the comprehensive review of road traffic offences and penalties, as initially promised by the government in 2014.
“However, to introduce these changes in isolation would be a wholly inappropriate misuse of parliamentary time, as it would only be used once in about five years, while ignoring the massive hurt inflicted by the legal system on thousands of seriously injured or bereaved victims of both pedestrian and cyclist injuries every year.”
Rather than tighter regulation for cyclists, Cycling UK is calling for:
- A review of the legal distinction between ‘dangerous’ and ‘careless’ driving;
- Greater use of driving bans in cases where drivers have caused obvious danger though being obviously ‘dangerous’ people, who need to be held in custody for public protection;
- Tightening the loophole by which thousands of convicted drivers evade driving bans each year by claiming this would cause “exceptional hardship”;
- Tougher penalties for offences of causing death or serious injury by ‘car-dooring’
The results of the FairFuel UK survey are in stark contrast to Sustrans’ Bike Life poll which showed high levels of public support among UK city dwellers for significantly increased investment in cycling infrastructure.
The government has previously considered the possibilities of compulsory licensing, registration and insurance for cyclists, and has concluded that none of these options would deliver benefits that would justify the significant costs involved.
FairFuelUK is managed by motoring journalist Quentin Willson and founder Howard Cox, who originally launched an online petition opposed to fuel taxes and which attracted more than 1 million signatures.
Cox told the Daily Mail: "Our supporters] 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."
40 percent of the survey’s respondents blamed road congestion not on the increase on the number of cars but on potholes.