CycleDigest June 2013
From the Editor
Encouraging more people to enjoy the benefits of cycling is wrapped up in road safety; and road safety in turn depends to a large extent on how strongly the legal system defends cyclists from bad driving - hence the launch of CTC's new Road Justice campaign and website (see headline below).
As mentioned in the last CycleDigest, the e-petition urging the Government to implement the recommendations of the 'Get Britain Cycling' report has done well - and news has just come in that it will soon be the subject of a debate in Parliament.
Don't stop getting people to sign it, though! It needs to make the biggest impression possible on politicians, most immediately the Chancellor, who'll be setting out his proposals for public spending in the Comprehensive Spending Review on 26 June. Cycling is, after all, an excellent investment - as our topical briefing on cycling and the economy explains.
By the way, if you haven't done so already, you can subscribe directly to the CycleDigest - and do pass the link on to anyone else you think might be interested.
Justice and safety on the roads means that the police, the prosecution services and the judiciary must deal with bad driving more effectively – and CTC’s recently launched Road Justice campaign, supported by Slater & Gordon Lawyers, aims to tackle just that.
Of course, cycling isn’t a particularly hazardous activity but, in the unlikely event of a collision, CTC wants all victims to be treated fairly and well by the justice system.
Since 2009, we have collected over 4,000 reports of bad driving and an analysis of them has told Road Justice exactly where the legal system’s response to road crashes is letting victims down. As a result, the campaign is calling for:
- High quality and thorough police investigations of all road traffic collisions;
- Better charging and prosecution decisions made by the police and the prosecution services;
- Sentences that reflect the severity of the offence and discourage bad driving, including greater use of substantial driving bans.
CTC will now present a compilation of case studies, plus legal arguments based on them, to the police, prosecution services and courts, and work with them to help achieve the campaign’s goals.
On the Road Justice website, you can access resources and advice; watch videos of victims explaining how the legal system failed them; report bad driving; and get involved with the campaign.
Just days before Road Justice was launched, the family of cyclist Audrey Fyfe welcomed the decision by the Crown Counsel in Edinburgh to refer the lenient sentence handed down to the driver who killed her, Gary McCourt, for appeal. This followed a CTC campaign that called on supporters to write to the Lord Advocate in protest. Over 6,000 people responded.
For killing Mrs Fyfe by so-called ‘careless’ driving in 2011, 49-year-old McCourt received only a five year driving ban and 300 hours of community service. It transpired that his bad driving had killed another cyclist, 22-year-old George Dalgity, in 1985. (Mrs Fyfe is pictured right, with her daughter Aileen).
The Crown Office only takes up 12 appeals at most per year and not all of them are successful, so the fact that this case will be appealed is a major step in its own right.
Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG), has asked the Backbench Business Committee for a debate on the Group's 'Get Britain Cycling' report. In response, the Committee says that it’s “supportive” of the application. The debate is likely to take place in the next few weeks.