Cycle Campaign News June 2014
From the Editor
Road safety campaigners aren't the only people who think that the justice system is failing both to deter bad driving and to protect the public. It was clear from CTC's sentencing debate on 13th June that there are legal professionals who think very much the same (see headlines below).
Please support our Road Justice campaign by urging the Justice Minister to use the forthcoming review of offences and penalties to stop bad drivers from being treated so leniently - see 'Act now'.
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CTC’s Road Justice campaign believes that, unless the courts stop handing down derisory penalties for bad driving, sentencing will never become the effective deterrent and means to protect the public that it ought to be. (Photo: Simeon Maskrey QC at the debate).
The forthcoming review of sentencing guidelines is of critical importance, so CTC recently organised a live-streamed debate on the subject in London for officials from the Sentencing Council, members of Queens Counsel, judges, magistrates, lawyers, law professors, campaigners and victims.
Chaired by The Times 'Cities Fit for Cycling' journalist Kaya Burgess, panellists and members of the audience covered a range of subjects, including driving bans, custodial penalties, inconsistent sentencing and deficiencies in the law itself.
The event sparked a call for supporters to email the Justice Minister urging him to put more emphasis on driving bans as a punishment, and to stop ‘dangerous’ driving being dismissed merely as ‘careless’.
The debate also saw the launch of two Road Justice campaign reports, 'Charging and Prosecution' and 'The Courts and Sentencing', both available online.
- More on the debate, plus information on how to contribute to the sentencing guidelines review, together with videos giving the reactions and thoughts of some of the attendees.
- Do judges wilfully misinterpret sentencing guidelines? This was one of the questions that Rhia Weston, CTC's Road Justice campaigner, took away from the debate and considers in her latest blog.
CTC's national Space for Cycling campaign continues apace with nearly 250 councillors stating their support. However, with the local elections in England's larger cities now over, it's time to start spreading the campaign to urban and rural areas, calling for high standards of cycle-friendly planning and design, and the funding needed to achieve this.
Check out our interactive map to see if your councillor has signed up.
We also held a Space for Cycling and Road Justice training session for 25 campaigners in Birmingham earlier this month.
CTC, in conjunction with Cyclenation groups across the country, will continue to contact councillors over the summer, and also seek commitment from MPs ahead of the party conferences in the autumn. We are looking for as many MP and councillor allies in each party as possible to make sure that their respective manifestos for the General Election incorporate Space for Cycling goals.
We have also been contacted by a number of councils who are keen to sign up collectively to Space for Cycling. We are now defining what this could mean to ensure that signing up is an achievable yet meaningful commitment to make a real difference to cycling locally. More information to follow.
Meanwhile, we have held a first campaigners' training session in Birmingham, giving local volunteer activists the knowledge and skills to take forward both CTC's Space for Cycling and Road Justice campaigns at ground level. More training days are planned for Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow and Bristol in September and October (dates tbc).
The events we've organised so far have been well received, so do come along. Some of the feedback so far:
- "Good to see & hear like-minded riders & to know that at least some areas are making progress. So often one feels a lone voice in the wilderness!"
- "An excellent, well-organised day which provided a valuable opportunity to share good practice. It offered clear perspectives on the need to work together to achieve effective activities and good organisational capacity."
- "The conference was, for me, enlightening and a fantastic opportunity to meet other campaigners. The information readily available was helpful. I came away motivated and enthused."
Congratulations to London Cycling Campaign (LCC) groups who did an excellent job of ensuring that 43% of newly-elected London borough councillors are supporters of LCC's Space for Cycling campaign. LCC's post-poll tally also shows that Space for Cycling supporters include the majority of councillors in 14 boroughs and 100% of the governing party in 7 councils.
Over the coming months, LCC says that it will continue to lobby the newly-formed councils and local politicians to ensure their commitments to the electorate are fulfilled.
Paul Tuohy, CTC’s new Chief Executive starting this July, is no stranger to life at the top of a charitable organisation. Currently CEO of Mentor, which works in schools to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, Paul has led charities since 2004, largely as a change management specialist focusing on building brands, fundraising and income generation.
Paul, who is also a passionate cyclist, says, “Cycling has not just been a part of my life, it’s changed my life. To ride to work now as the CEO of The national cycling charity is a tremendous responsibility and dream come true." He has also made it clear that strengthening CTC's campaigning capacity to champion everyday cycling is a key priority.
Also interested in joining CTC's staff? We currently have vacancies for a Campaigns and Communications Co-ordinator (deadline 9 July) and a Marketing Officer (deadline 4 July).