Plan for new ‘causing death by careless or dangerous cycling’ law welcomed in Doncaster 

A consultation to look at whether  a new law equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists has been welcomed in Doncaster.    

The Department for Transport has commissioned the Cycle Proofing Working Group to look into the possibility of introducing the new law which could see dangerous cyclists who cause a death handed lengthy jail terms. 

Martin Maltby.

Martin Maltby.

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The move has been praised by Martin Maltby, president of Doncaster Wheelers, who organises the annual Doncaster Cycle Festival. 

The Edenthorpe man, who has run Don Valley Cycles shop for 25 years, said he welcomed the move as "the law does seem to be out of date" and added: "Nobody should ride carelessly or dangerously on their bikes at all." 

But he cautioned that  "the small amount of deaths caused by dangerous cycling is only a tiny proportion of deaths of cyclists by vehicles." 

The consultation will also look into updating parts of the Highway Code and to develop national guidance and best practice for cycling and walking infrastructure. 

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The group will also consider measures to counter the dangerous practice of vehicles ‘close passing’ cyclists - a move also welcomed by Mr Maltby.   

He said: "The most common thing that seems to put people off cycling is how dangerous it is to cycle on the roads because of close passes.

"As an experienced cyclist I experience this most times I’m out on a ride, sometimes it is just that the driver does not realise how close and dangerous it is.

"Unfortunately you build up an expectance it will happen. I hear stories all the time from customers in the shop too, sometimes they just pack cycling up and go back to driving their cars."   

He urged drivers to "be patient, read the road ahead and adjust your speed accordingly and give plenty of room", adding: "We are all humans with families to go home to, imagine if it was your child on the bike."

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “Whilst the intentions behind the Government’s announcement are sound, they are trying to fix a fundamentally flawed legal framework.

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"A full review of road safety law is required and frankly long overdue. All too often families are denied justice, with drivers who kill let off with pitifully lenient sentences, and the public endangered through dangerous drivers evading driving bans.

"The Government must review all road safety law to protect the public and deliver justice for the families of those devastated by road death.”