MP Ruth Cadbury has said that cyclists are being ‘failed’ by the justice system.
The co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) – which recently investigated women in cycling – was speaking at a Westminster enquiry.
Today the APPG listened to representatives including Cycling UK, RoadPeace, personal injury lawyer Martin Porter QC as well as Julie Dinsdale, wife of Keith Bontrager, who lost her leg in a crash in 2015.
The group plan five hearings in total and are looking to address compensation claims, driver sentences and the current system of proving fault after a crash.
“Too often the justice system fails to punish the driver adequately.”
Cadbury is leading the inquiry. She says the aim is to “tighten up the investigation and prosecution of drivers who have injured or killed cyclists” – adding: “We know there are examples where cyclists have not received the justice that they deserved. London has seen a huge investment in cycling over the last 15 years and the numbers of a cyclists are at an all time high and thankfully fatalities are falling, but when cyclists are involved in crashes and have life changing injuries, too often the justice system fails to punish the driver adequately.”
Dinsdale was a competitive athlete before she lost her leg in 2015. Following the resulting hearing – where the driver of a Tesco lorry received 5 points on his license and a £625 fine – she commented: “Despite cycling now being one of the country’s most loved sports, especially following the success of the British cycling team at successive Olympics, and the growing popularity of cycling as a means of transport in London, cyclists remain second class citizens on the roads in the UK. This is reflected by the behaviour of drivers and the Courts.”
The investigation will look at the British liability system, which differs from many European countries where the driver of a larger vehicle is always presumed liable. Recommendations will go to the Department for Transport and feed into their consultation into road safety.