Safe Drivers and Vehicles

Cherry Allan's picture

Cyclists' behaviour and the law

Cyclists should behave responsibly and legally, but the law should recognise that they do little harm and should not have to choose between keeping safe and obeying rules...
Cyclists
Headline Messages: 
  • Cyclists should behave responsibly and within the law. They pose little risk to others, however.
  • Cyclists are often faced with the difficult choice of either acting legally or keeping safe. Children, for example, may feel safer cycling on the pavement alongside a busy, hostile road, but are in breach of the law if it hasn’t been converted to shared use. It is important that the law and those applying it take this into account. The planners and designers of the road network need to be mindful of this too.
  • Whilst CTC encourages 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 it a try. It would not solve any problems and the running costs would be prohibitive.
Key facts: 
  • In collisions involving cyclists in Great Britain, the police are around twice as likely to assign no ‘contributory factor(s)’ to them than to the driver/rider of the other vehicle;
  • In 2013 (GB), in collisions involving a cycle where the police assigned a contributory factor to a road user, they decided that just over 1% (187) of the cyclists ‘Disobeyed automatic traffic signal’ and around 2% (309) contributed by ‘Not displaying lights at night or in poor visibility’;
  • With around 23 million people aged 5+ owning a bicycle in England, a licensing and compulsory training system for cyclists/cycles would be complex and very costly – not much less so than the current system for licensed drivers (almost 32 million) and private cars (over 24 million);
  • Mile for mile in urban areas from 2009-13 (GB), motor vehicles were more likely than a cycle to seriously injure a pedestrian, and over twice as likely to kill them;
  • The pavement or verge is not where most pedestrians are hit by a cycle: over the last 5 years in Britain, one out of the 14 incidents in which a pedestrian was killed in collision with a cycle happened on the pavement or verge. 
  • In London (1998-2007), just 4% of reported pedestrian injuries due to red-light-jumping involved cyclists - the other 96% were hit by red-light-jumping motor vehicles. Even on the city’s pavements, just 2% of reported pedestrian collisions involved cyclists, the other 98% involved motor vehicles.
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 pavements (footway). However, the police should exercise discretion in the use of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) 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 (FPNs).
  • 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 and occasional cyclists.
  • CTC does not actively support Critical Mass, but recognises the motivation of those involved.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
December 2014
Cherry Allan's picture

Cycle awareness campaigns for drivers

Sustained campaigns to improve road users' behaviour can be beneficial, if well-designed and targeted. To be effective, they need to convey positive, memorable and truthful messages...
What Matters Most campaign poster
Headline Messages: 
  • Sustained campaigns to improve road users’ behaviour can be beneficial, as long as they are well-designed and targeted. The Government has, for example, tackled drink-driving effectively over the years through an awareness campaign backed up by law enforcement.
  • To be effective, driver awareness campaigns need to convey positive, memorable and truthful messages, and avoid giving the misleading impression that problem behaviour from cyclists causes anything like as much harm as problem behaviour from drivers.
Key facts: 
  • There were 1,640 drink-drive fatalities in 1979. Since 2010, the figures have been around 85% (more than 6 times) lower. Strong public awareness campaigns contributed to this success.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 
  • Driver awareness campaigns relating to cycle safety should either convey positive messages about considerate and respectful road sharing by both groups, or, if aimed at addressing problem behaviours, they should deliver simple memorable messages to one group or the other, based on understanding why those behaviours occur.
  • Campaigns purporting to be even-handed by urging both drivers and cyclists not to engage in problem behaviours, create a false equivalence between the offences of the two groups. They are also poorly targeted in terms of actually influencing behaviour.
  • Tackling offending behaviour by cyclists is best done by engaging positively with the cycling community to mobilise peer pressure, e.g. through the cycling press or cycle trainers, rather than by ‘pandering to the gallery’ using simplistic negative stereotypes in public awareness campaigns.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
November 2014
SamJones's picture

CTC pressure for Road Justice begins to show success

On 17 December, CTC's Road Justice campaigner Rhia Weston joined CTC Vice-President Lord Berkeley for a surprisingly positive meeting with Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims.
Westminster

Following pressure from CTC's Road Justice campaign, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling MP announced in July 2014 that the Government would conduct a comprehensive review of sentencing for driving offences and penalties. Since then, cycle campaigners and victims have waited for announcement of an official consultation. After yesterday’s meeting with the Policing Minister, CTC can reveal that we are that bit closer.

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SamJones's picture

Cyclists Defence Fund backs cyclist as they go through the courts

As 2014 comes to an end, CTC’s Road Justice campaign and the Cyclists’ Defence Fund (CDF) continue the ongoing fight to achieve justice for all road users.
Cyclist outside The Royal Courts of Justice

At 9.30am yesterday (Wednesday 17 December) Kristian Gregory turned up at Bromley Crown Court, London to plead "not guilty” to an alleged offence for which he had been issued with a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) in July 2014. He will now face a court appearance on 05 February 2015.  His defence is being supported by the Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF).

RhiaWeston's picture

MPs and bereaved families discuss criminal driving

MPs and relatives of road crash victims came together yesterday to discuss the justice system’s handling of criminal driving and the desperate improvements needed in order to ensure victims get access to justice.

CTC attended the discussion which was organised and chaired by Greg Mulholland, MP for Leeds North West (Lib Dem). The discussion centred around standards of collision investigations, charging decisions, sentencing levels and the treatment of victims - all issues which CTC has been campaigning on via its Road Justice campaign

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Julie Rand's picture

Help stiffen Robert Goodwill's support for safer lorries

European ministers will meet Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the European Commission to decide when or whether to introduce safer lorry designs.
Proposed lorry design

Thanks to lobbying by cycling groups, MEPs recently voted overwhelmingly for round-fronted lorry designs that could significantly improve pedestrian and cyclist safety. However the French and Swedish Governments (apparently lobbied by Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks respectively) have blocked the plans, seeking an eight-year delay before these new designs are even permitted, let alone required, for new EU lorries.

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RhiaWeston's picture

Construction company raises cycle safety standards

CTC’s Road Safety Campaigner, Rhia Weston, reports on her day at a quarry site operated by CEMEX, a global provider of building and construction materials, learning about the steps the company is taking to improve cycle safety.
CEMEX truck with added cycle safety devices

It was a CEMEX vehicle that was involved in the death of Cynthia Barlow’s daughter, Alex McVitty, in 2004 in London. Since this incident, Cynthia has campaigned relentlessly to make construction and haulage vehicles safer. She bought shares in CEMEX so that she could speak about her experience at the company’s AGM. Cynthia’s story motivated CEMEX to vow to raise the company's safety standards.

Anonymous's picture

CTC mourns passing of John Radford

Friend, fellow cyclist and future CTC Councillor Martyn Bolt says a few words on the passing of fellow Councillor John Radford.
John Radford

It is with great sadness that I mark the passing of one of the stalwarts in northern cycling, CTC Councillor John Radford (70). John was knocked from his bike by a car in July 2013, and never recovered from his injuries, requiring constant care for the rest of his life.

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SamJones's picture

Still no date for Dangerous Driving sentencing review

Government response to Westminster Hall debate on Wednesday evening still refuses to announce when we can expect the Dangerous Driving sentencing review
Westminster at dusk

On Tuesday afternoon Reading West MP Alok Sharma initiated a Westminster Hall debate on the sentencing of Dangerous Driving Offences.

SamJones's picture

Should the Prime Minister Get Britain Cycling?

CTC's campaigns and communications co-ordinator Sam Jones discusses whether the latest Governmental response on cycling is further evidence of cycling's need for strong political leadership
David Cameron with racing bike

The publication of today’s House of Commons Transport Committee (HCTC) Cycling Safety: Government Response marked another disappointing day for cycling in Westminster and Whitehall.

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