Safe Drivers and Vehicles

RhiaWeston's picture

The AA launches ‘Think Bike’ awareness campaign

The AA has launched a driver awareness campaign aimed at creating mutual respect on the roads.
The AA is urging drivers to look out for cyclists when manoeuvring

'Think once, think twice, think bikes’: this is what the AA’s new awareness campaign is urging its members to do before they make manoeuvres in their vehicles that could be hazardous to cyclists and motorcyclists.


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Cherry Allan's picture

Traffic law and enforcement: Overview

Laws against bad driving and their enforcement should aim to protect all road users, including cyclists, from intimidation and injury.
Driver at wheel
Headline Messages: 
  • Laws against bad driving and their enforcement should aim to protect all road users from intimidation and injury.
  • However, the under-resourcing of roads policing, inadequate police investigations, weak charging decisions and poorly conducted court and inquest hearings can all result in derisory sentences, or in failures to prosecute or convict at all. This causes enormous distress to injured and bereaved road crash victims, whilst perpetuating society’s complacent attitudes to safety on our roads.
  • Fundamental reform is needed so that the legal system prevents bad driving effectively, and allows people to cycle without fear of injury through someone else’s wrongdoing.
CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

‘Dangerous’ v ‘careless’ driving

  • Bad driving that causes obviously foreseeable danger should be classed as a ‘dangerous’ driving offence. It should not, as often happens, be dismissed merely as ‘careless’ driving.
  • Prosecution guidelines need to reflect this in the first instance, but changes to the law itself may also be needed.

Driving bans

  • Long driving bans should be more widely used to penalise drivers who have caused serious danger, but not recklessly or intentionally.
  • Where drivers have caused serious danger recklessly or intentionally, or have a history of breaching bans, long custodial sentences are more appropriate.

The police

  • The police should investigate all road crashes thoroughly and systematically, and pass all charging decisions to the prosecution services where there has been an injury.

Prosecutors and charging

  • Prosecution guidelines should ensure that driving that gives rise to obviously foreseeable danger is treated as dangerous and not dismissed as merely careless.
  • Manslaughter or assault charges should be more widely used where there is evidence that danger was caused recklessly or intentionally.      

Courts and sentencing

  • Courts should make greater use of driving bans and not routinely accept ‘hardship’ pleas from drivers facing bans.


  • Coroners should ask witnesses relevant questions and/or permit relevant questions to be asked during inquest hearings.
  • Coroners should take their duty to write ‘Preventing Further Deaths’ reports seriously to highlight actions needed to prevent future road fatalities.

Resources and training

  • The police, prosecution services and courts all need to be adequately resourced to deliver justice to a high standard.
  • Better training should be provided for traffic police, investigation officers, family liaison officers, prosecutors, coroners, judges, magistrates in relation to the handling of road traffic offences and incidents – particularly where cyclists or other vulnerable road users are involved.

Transparency and data collection

  • The Department for Transport, Home Office and Ministry of Justice (and the relevant bodies in Scotland) should set up a national road crash investigation agency, similar to those used for rail and aviation.
  • These departments should collaborate to develop systems to collect, monitor and disseminate local and national level data on the justice system’s responses to bad driving offences.

Victim blaming and victim support

  • All those involved at any stage in dealing with road traffic offences should guard against a propensity to blame the victim automatically.
  • Road collision victims and their families should receive support to the same standards as the victims of other crimes with similarly severe consequences. They should be kept well-informed of the progress of their case and consulted on key decisions.

Public attitudes

  • To help ensure that any legal reforms are likely to be accepted by juries, public awareness campaigns should reinforce the concept that bad driving is socially unacceptable; and public attitudes should be surveyed to monitor the effect of these campaigns.
  • A stronger link between road safety awareness and enforcement campaigns would support the wider effort to influence public attitudes on the need for safe road user behaviour.


  • The word ‘accident’ should not be used to describe road collisions – ‘collision’ or ‘crash’ should be used instead.


  • If a cyclist or pedestrian suffers personal injury or damage in a collision with a motor vehicle, they should be entitled to full compensation from the driver’s insurance unless the driver (or in practice their lawyers/insurers) can show that the injury was entirely caused by the cyclist or pedestrian behaving in a way that fell well below the standard that could be expected of them, taking account of their age, abilities and the circumstances of the collision.
  • Passing any proportion of the legal costs of pursuing compensation to the innocent victim of a road crash is unfair and wrong. The objective of damages in these cases should be to provide full compensation for injured people both for their injuries and financial losses. They are also a way of holding the person who caused the injury to account.
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Publication Date: 
February 2014
RhiaWeston's picture

Road Justice petition handed to national policing lead for cycling

Road Justice campaigners and road crash victims handed over a petition calling for better roads policing this week to the national policing lead for cycling at the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

The petition, which has been signed by more than 12,000 people, is calling for the police to implement recommendations for better roads policing, which are outlined in a report produced for CTC’s Road Justice campaign.

The Road Justice campaign - sponsored by Slater & Gordon Lawyers - aims to get the criminal justice system to take a tougher approach to bad driving in order to make the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Chris Peck's picture

CTC urges MPs to demand action and funding to ‘Get Britain Cycling’

CTC, the national cycling charity, has urged MPs to demand leadership, commitment to quality cycling conditions, and funding of at least £10 per person annually, to ‘Get Britain Cycling’ when giving evidence at today’s Commons Transport Select Committee inquiry on cycle safety.
Gordon Seabright, Chris Boardman and Roger Geffen

The inquiry was called following a horrific spate of 6 cyclists’ deaths in London within 13 days last November.

After submitting written evidence (see below), CTC was called by the committee to present oral evidence alongside British Cycling's spokeman Chris Boardman and AA President Edmund King.


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Roger Geffen's picture

Now send us your 'irresponsible' walking-down-the-street adverts!

Although the ASA has provisionally withdrawn its ruling against Cycling Scotland's TV advert, the fight isn't over yet. Please send us videos showing how a ban on helmet-free cycling in TV ads would be like refusing to show people on the streets at night without reflective clothing.
How many TV adverts breach Highway Code rule 3?

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful adverts you have sent us, containing lots of examples of deeply 'irresponsible' cycling (e.g. without helmets) - notably the famous Hovis adverts of the 1970s! Thank you too for your equally impressive collection of (quite genuinely) irresponsible car ads.

Chris Peck's picture

London bans lorries without safety equipment

The Mayor of London and London Councils have agreed jointly to ban large vehicles from London's roads if they fail to meet high standards for cycle safety equipment. CTC welcomes this step forward, but says there are better longer-term solutions for cycle safety that should be investigated too.
All lorries will be forced to have sideguards and extra mirrors

The move was announced today by the Mayor of London and London Councils - the representative body for the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London.

By working together, the ban can be effectively enforced on every street in London.

This could come into effect as early as September. 


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Chris Peck's picture

Which car ads show breaches of the Highway Code?

The ASA ruling that outlaws cyclists not wearing helmets and riding outside 'secondary position' is a very hazy interpretation of the Highway Code and cycle training expertise. If you've got examples of car ads that show Highway Code infringements by drivers, let us know and we'll collect them here.
A car ad involving driving around with flares was accepted by the ASA

We've already collected many examples of adverts that show cycling to be normal and aspirational, yet would fall foul of the ASA's latest ruling.

To help further Cycling Scotland's appeal, we'd also like to point to the many adverts for cars that show flagrant breaches of the Highway Code.

So let's get started

Chris Peck's picture

Which ads are now banned? Your examples wanted

The ASA's bizarre ruling (under appeal by Cycling Scotland) that all cyclists must now be helmeted and cyclists must adopt dangerous road positioning has caused anger amongst the cycling community. If you've got examples of ads that would now be banned, please send them here.
Unhelmeted hipsters riding all over a promenade. Tsk tsk.

The ASA's ruling is being appealed by Cycling Scotland. To help support that appeal, we'd like examples of advertising - print and broadcast - that show cycling as a normal activity, and which would therefore (theoretically) not be allowed.

To start you off, here is CTC's own cinema advert, 'Cycle Hero', made a few years ago to communicate the issue of climate change and suggest cycling as an alternative.

Roger Geffen's picture

Advertising watchdog’s helmet ruling threatens the promotion of normal cycling

CTC, the national cycling charity, has voiced concern over a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which could prevent future adverts from showing cyclists without helmets on TV.
The image that proved controversial to the ASA

In response to complaints against a TV advert produced by Cycling Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, the ASA ruled that all future television advertising featuring cyclists must only show cyclists wearing helmets. 

The ASA also ruled that the cyclist's position on the road in the advert was unsafe. CTC believes this is at odds with UK-wide national standards for cycle training, which CTC was instrumental in developing, and which are now backed by the UK and Scottish Governments.

Roger Geffen's picture

CTC calls on councils to fund cycle facilities through road maintenance programmes

22 January 2014
As the Government proposes a £50m fund for maintaining pedestrian and cycling routes, CTC calls for councils to maximise the synergies between their cycling programmes and their planned road maintenance budgets.
New York track built through maintenance work. Photo D Passmore (CC licence)

CTC has welcomed Government proposals to earmark £50m annually for maintaining walking and cycling facilities, out of the £976m distributed annually to councils for local road maintenance.

However, CTC believes even more cycle-friendly improvements could be made very cost-effectively if councils considered ways to deliver new or improved cycle provision whenever they are planning to resurface a road.


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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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