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Reckless Cyclists To Face Up To 14 Years Behind Bars Under Proposed UK Law

  • The UK Government is introducing new laws to ensure cyclists who kill or seriously injure others face the same penalties as drivers and motorcyclists.
  • The amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill aims to address gaps in current legislation, which only allows for prosecution under outdated laws.
  • The move has been supported by high-profile cases and public campaigns, but it has also sparked debate on the legislation’s fairness and focus.

Proposed changes to UK law will see cyclists who cause death or injury by reckless riding charged with the same severity as car drivers and motorcycle riders. The amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill could see cyclists found guilty facing up to 14 years of jail time.

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Presently, UK cyclists are prosecuted under an antiquated and outdated law known as “wanton and furious riding.” This law was originally drawn up in Victorian times and intended to cover horses and carriages – not bicycles.

Read: Enraged Tesla Cybertruck Driver Flips Out At Cyclists After Pedal Recall Joke

Under this law, an officer cannot pull over a cyclist for dangerous riding in itself, as an offense is only committed in the case of an injury. They can, however, prosecute cyclists who break any imposed speed limits.

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Despite the relatively low number of pedestrian casualties reported from cycling accidents  — just two percent of reported pedestrian casualties are from cycles; the other 98 percent are from cars — there has been intense scrutiny over incidents where cyclists have escaped prosecution after fatal accidents.

In 2022, a bicycle rider in London’s Regent Park escaped punishment after killing a pedestrian after the incident was recorded as an “accidental cycling collision death,” reports Cycling Weekly.

Another cyclist was sentenced to 18 months in a young offender’s institution when an accident in 2017 saw a pedestrian succumb to their injuries after a collision. It’s reported that these incidents prompted a rethink of laws when the Department of Transport consulted legal experts to consider new cycling offenses.

 Reckless Cyclists To Face Up To 14 Years Behind Bars Under Proposed UK Law

The law’s proposer, Conservative MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, has been accused of taking an anti-cyclist approach. Addressing these concerns in the House of Commons, he said: “This is not, as is often accused by people who say anything about it, anti-cycling. Quite the opposite, it’s about making sure this takes place in a safe and reasonable manner.”

“Just as drivers are held accountable for dangerous driving that results in death, cyclists, I think, should face similar consequences for reckless behaviors that lead to fatalities.”

The MP’s proposal was supported by Transport Secretary Mark Harper. “Just like car drivers who flout the law, we are backing this legislation introducing new offenses around dangerous cycling. These new measures will help protect law-abiding cyclists, pedestrians, and other road users whilst ensuring justice is done,” said Harper.

The new amendment to the law would not only bring dangerous cycling into view, but it would also necessitate that riders ensure their vehicles are properly maintained. This involves ensuring that brakes and tires are up to spec and would cover pedal cycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, and e-unicycles.

 Reckless Cyclists To Face Up To 14 Years Behind Bars Under Proposed UK Law

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