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A potential change in the law for cyclists

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Cyclist convictions double under Victorian legislation

When thinking of a road traffic accident, it may be automatically assumed that the parties involved are vehicles. However, as cycling is on the increase, it is becoming more apparent that road traffic accidents increasingly involve cyclists.

In recent weeks there have been calls for a government review of whether the offence of death by dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists. This stance appears to have been broadly welcomed by personal injury lawyers and the call for review comes after the sentencing of Charlie Alliston, a cyclist, who was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after he killed a pedestrian whilst cycling in London in February 2016. If the review introduces new offences for cyclists, under either criminal or civil law, cyclists may be expected to demonstrate a higher level of duty of care to the other road users and the pedestrians around them.

The second phase of the two part review is more broadly set to consider general road safety issues. It is due to do this by consulting with road safety organisations as well as the general public. It is important that the public have their say in the matter as most people’s journeys are made by road. The consultation aims to address issues surrounding the rules of the road. The review is not intended to deter cyclists, but rather make the general public aware that as road users, cyclists owe a duty to the other cyclists, drivers and pedestrians around them to keep the roads safe.

It is positive that in recent years, there has been in increase in cyclists, however, there is a duty on the law to keep up with the changes in our society and ensure that our rules keep the general public out of harm’s way. 

By Sarah Bailey, personal injury team