The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking (APPGCW) has launched a new report addressing the issue of road justice.
In 2017 the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group conducted a significant inquiry looking at cycling and the justice system.
With active travel more important than ever on the policy agenda, they felt it prudent to revisit that inquiry and provide this updated report, which is supported by British Cycling and Leigh Day.
Ruth Cadbury MP, co-chair of the APPGCW, said: ‘’I doubt that there is a single Member of Parliament who has not had a tragic incident of road violence in their constituency. Sadly, the nature of those incidents is all too often vastly different from the consequences for those who are responsible.
‘’This report is a key step in our work to redress that balance and ensure that there is true road justice. Doing so is essential if we are to unlock the walking, cycling and wheeling potential, and reap the associated benefits of that.”
The report includes 10 key recommendations and a summary of progress on those from the previous inquiry, and will form the basis of their campaigning on this important issue in Parliament.
One of the key recommendations within the report is that exceptional hardship should be overhauled to be truly reflective of circumstances.
Almost a quarter of those who amass 12 penalty points successfully argue against disqualification on grounds of exceptional hardship.
The resulting consequence is that many drivers who could be serving a ban are still out on the roads, with increased risk to all other road users.
There is also a call for compulsory re-testing for anyone wishing to drive following any period of disqualification.
Whilst re-testing is an established intervention in traffic law (compulsory for those convicted of dangerous driving and graver offences), the latest sentencing guidelines do not include it for causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate driving or attempting to drive with a specified drug above the specified limit.
Selaine Saxby MP, co-chair of the APPGCW, said: ‘’As a cross-party group of Parliamentarians, we work to promote all forms of cycling and walking. We have welcomed ambition from the Government to see half of all journeys in towns and cities walked or cycled by 2030 – yet there is much to be done to see that become reality.
‘’One of the key barriers to wider uptake is fear over the safety of our roads and the perception that dangerous driving has become all too common. This piece of work has been an important undertaking that has highlighted some of the appalling incidents of road violence.”
Other recommendations within the report include; removal of tolerances in speed enforcement, escalating penalties for repeated offences and increased maximum sentence for dangerous driving and fuller use of Police bail powers.
Following the publication of this report, the APPG will be meeting with Ministers, lobbying for a Parliamentary debate, and identifying opportunities to highlight this issue wherever possible.
British Cycling CEO Jon Dutton added: “Through our work with Leigh Day to support British Cycling members involved in incidents on the road, we are all too aware of the hazardous leniency embedded in our current legal system, which enables even the most persistent and reckless offenders to evade justice.
‘’We know that cycling has a vital role to play helping people to lead more active lives, reducing congestion in our towns and cities and connecting communities – but for too long its potential has been hamstrung by the pervasive and malevolent impact of dangerous driving.
“As we look ahead to next year’s General Election, we hope that this report will act as a catalyst for discussion and developing solutions amongst all of the major parties.”