traffic law

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. 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.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
January 2014
Cherry Allan's picture

Common driving offences

Tackling common, bad driving offences effectively would help create a safer and more attractive environment for cycling and walking....
Driver at wheel of car
Headline Messages: 

Tackling common bad driving offences effectively would help create a safer and more attractive environment for cycling and walking. In particular, the drink/drive limit should be lowered and hands-free mobile phones banned.

'Common Driving Offences' is one of a series of CTC briefings covering various aspects of traffic law and enforcement. Others consider bad driving in the context of the legal framework in general and specific aspects of it including sentencing, prosecution, the courts, the vital role of the traffic police, and driver training, testing and licencing (forthcoming).

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

Exceeding the speed limit

  • Speeding fines are currently too low to have any significant impact on driver behaviour.
  • Extreme speed (e.g. 20mph+ over the limit) should be treated as dangerous driving in the first instance.
  • There should be no margin over the speed limit at which a driver avoids penalty.

Drink/drug driving

  • The drink drive blood alcohol limit should be lowered from 80mg/100ml to not more than 50mg/100ml, in line with most European countries. Novice drivers should not be allowed to drink at all before driving.
  • We support the use of targeted checkpoints, but also believe that the police should be given more freedom to carry out random breath testing.
  • Alcohol interlocks should be fitted in offenders’ vehicles. If successful, the measure should be extended.
  • The definitions and standards for drug-related driving offences should relate solely to whether a drug impairs the ability to drive; it should not relate to whether it is legal to use it - i.e. over-the-counter and prescription drugs should be included.

Mobile phones

  • Use of hands-free mobile phones whilst driving should be banned.
  • More research needs to be done on the impact of other in-car distractions (e.g. SatNavs, radios, in-car computers etc). Drivers who put others in danger because they have been distracted by such devices need to be appropriately penalised.

Driving without entitlement

  • Any driver convicted of a bad driving offence whilst unlicensed or disqualified should receive a custodial sentence for the crime.
Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
November 2013
Cherry Allan's picture

Cycling under the influence

Riding whilst under the influence of drink or drugs is an offence...
Cycle and car
Headline Messages: 

This briefing explains the law on cycling under the influence of drink or drugs. It should be read in conjunction with our policies on cyclists' behaviour and the law.

CTC View (formal statement of CTC's policy): 

Please refer to CTC's briefing on cyclists' behaviour and the law for our policies on cycling offences.

Download full campaigns briefing: 
Publication Date: 
November 2013
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  • Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
  • President: Jon Snow
  • Chief Executive: Carol McKinley (Acting)
  • 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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