April 11th, 2011

Death by dangerous cycling

In a rather curious move, the government is looking to introduce a new offence of causing death by dangerous cycling, despite there appearing to be little, if indeed, any statistical support for the need for such a new offence to be created.     

The last official road death statistics (compiled in 2009) recorded no deaths to pedestrians as a result of collisions with cyclists.  Between 1998 and 2007 there were never more than 5 pedestrian deaths per year as a result of collision with cyclists, although it is important to emphasise that the official statistics simply deal with the number of deaths resulting from collisions with cyclists and not the number of deaths where the cyclist was at fault.  In how many of these cases was the pedestrian at fault?  Were they prosecuted?  The statistics demonstrate that deaths to pedestrians as a result of collisions with cyclists are very rare indeed.  There also seems a dearth of evidence that there is actually a problem with the criminal law as it stands (s.35 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861) that needs addressing.

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