Legal system “denies justice” to victims of road crime

A ‘shocking’ number of drivers are avoiding jail and keeping their driving licences despite being involved in fatal collisions with cyclists, Cycling UK has claimed.

Freedom of Information requests made by the charity of all 43 police forces operating in England and Wales revealed six out of seven drivers do not receive immediate prison sentences and less than a third lose their licences.

Overall 209 cyclists’ deaths were reported from 2007 to 2017, according to the ten forces which responded to the request.

Just 86 drivers were charged with a ‘causing death’ offence, either by careless or dangerous driving, of whom 66 were successfully convicted, 31 of whom received a custodial sentence.

The charity has said it is concerned that the legal system continues to ‘deny justice’ to victims of road crime.

Cycling UK’s head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said: “Back in May 2014, the Government saw sense and announced its intention to hold a wide scale review of road traffic offences.

“Four years on and with thousands of lives lost on our roads, little has been done.

“That’s short sighted and is a shocking failure to act that ignores the greatest dangers on our roads.”

Since the Government announced its wider review of road traffic offences in 2014, Cycling UK has estimated that 465 cyclists have died as a result of collisions with motor vehicles in England and Wales.

Cycling UK has reviewed 19 cases reported in the media of incidents where cyclists, pedestrians and a motorcycle passengers were involved in fatal collisions with motor vehicles, where the driver claimed not to see the victim.

The report considers how the law deals with these situations, and the charity has said it has found an ‘alarming discrepancy’ between people being charged and convicted for ‘careless’ and ‘dangerous’ driving offences.

Dollimore added: “The Government is shirking its responsibility to all road users, which is why Cycling UK is renewing our call for a wider review of road traffic offences, looking specifically at the charges relating to what is classified as ‘dangerous’ and ‘careless’ behaviour.

“Cycling UK accepts a prison sentence isn’t always the answer and we want to see far greater use of driving disqualification.

“Drivers who pose a risk have no place on our roads, and the law should be strengthened to ensure their removal.

“Whether you’re walking, cycling or driving, we all deserve traffic laws that deliver justice and it’s about time the Government ensured that they did.”

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