Cyclists' behaviour and the law

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Cyclists
Cyclists
Headline Messages: 
  • Cyclists should behave responsibly and within the law. However, cyclists pose little risk to others.
  • Cyclists should not have to choose between acting legally and keeping safe (e.g. children prohibited from cycling on the footway even alongside busy roads). The law and those applying it should take this into account, as should the planning and design of the road network.
  • Whilst we encourage cyclists to undertake cycle training and to have insurance cover, making training or licences compulsory for cyclists is unworkable and would deter people from cycling occasionally or giving cycling a try. It would not solve any problems and the running costs would be prohibitive.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Cyclists, like all road users, should behave responsibly and within the law.
  • The enforcement of road traffic rules, and penalties for breaching them, should be proportionate to the potential danger imposed on other people, especially vulnerable road users. This principle also applies to off-road rights of way.
  • Road traffic rules should not put cyclists in situations where they feel they must choose between acting legally and protecting their own safety. Those responsible for making and enforcing the rules must take into account the reasons behind cyclists’ offending behaviour.
  • CTC does not condone unlawful cycling on pavement (footway). However, the police should exercise discretion in the use of fixed penalty notices for pavement cycling and discriminate between those whose behaviour is dangerous and antisocial and those who are acting out of concern for their own safety without presenting any threat to others.
  • The police and others charged with applying the law should be able to send offending cyclists on training programmes as an alternative to prosecution or fixed penalty notices.
  • Highway authorities should tackle any hazardous road conditions or poor design that may explain illegal behaviour by cyclists in certain locations.
  • A system of compulsory licensing and cycle training is unworkable and unjustifiable, not least because children have the same legal rights to cycle as adults and expecting them to hold licences is impractical. While the running costs would be high (i.e. similar to schemes that apply to motor vehicles and drivers), the benefits would be negligible, and the bureaucracy involved likely to seriously deter newcomers or occasional cyclists.
  • CTC does not actively support Critical Mass, but recognises the motivation of those involved.
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Publication Date: 
January 2014
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  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Paul Tuohy
  • Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC): A company limited by guarantee, registered in England no.25185. Registered as a charity in England and Wales No 1147607 and in Scotland No SC042541

 

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