Thursday, 30 August 2012

British Cycling's: EDM, "Victims of Road Accidents"

 In response to British-Cycling's call for members to write to their MPs here's my response


Rt Hon. Nick Clegg
House of Commons

Re: Early Day Motion in support of British Cycling and Cycling Weekly’s Campaign for a review of the criminal justice system and how it should be changed to better protect road users

August 2012

Dear Nick Clegg,

I am writing to you as a constituent and concerned member of public, asking you to sign the Early Day Motion 407 “Victims of Road Accidents”, which is being supported by British Cycling.

As a cyclist and driver it is clear to me that the current justice system, the police and the coronial service often fall short in delivering results which value the life and rights of people to travel and cycle safely on our roads.

There are countless examples of cyclists that have been killed or injured due to gross negligence of drivers, whom have then gone on to either escape any criminal proceedings, or have been imposed paltry fines and sentences which do not reflect the seriousness of their actions.

Take for example, the death of Rev. Malleson who was riding home in Newcastle when a car attempted to overtake him at a narrow, traffic-calming pinch point. This was without doubt an inappropriate and dangerous place to overtake a cyclist. The driver’s car hit the central refuge and he lost control, which resulted in a collision that cost Rev. Malleson his life. This never made it to court. Instead the police and coroner deemed it an “accident” caused by the road layout and parked cars. How can it be acceptable to hit a cyclist from behind and not deem this to be the driver’s fault?

Other examples include a man who earlier this year killed a former British Cycling employee, and was given a paltry community sentence of just 200 hours, a fine and 18 months driving disqualification.

In the past few months, British cyclists have enjoyed tremendous success at the London Olympic Games and the Tour de France. Many more people are being inspired to take up cycling both recreationally and for travelling to work. However, many people are too afraid to use our roads, and believe cycling is a pursuit only for the athletic or brave. This is an extremely poor reflection on a country that is currently in the spotlight of world of cycling. It is imperative that we create a safe and welcoming environment if we are to build the cycling legacy this country deserves. That's why signing this EDM is really important right now. The justice system needs to be reviewed to ensure it is properly taking account of the consequences upon victims and their families when something goes wrong and is creating the right culture of care and responsibility on the roads. In addition police and coronial investigations should be standardised and reviewed across the country.

British Cycling are calling on the Lord Chancellor to undertake a full review of the process in conjunction with his colleagues at the Home Office and Department for Transport and this EDM is in support of that call. There's more information here:  (  on the British Cycling Website.

The EDM was tabled by Julian Huppert MP before the summer recess and has already received 16 signatures across all the main political parties.  It says:

“That this House notes that many victims of road accidents do not feel that the criminal justice system adequately protects or supports them in the aftermath of their case; further notes that it is important that those who have suffered traumatic incidents are given effective and sympathetic support as they attempt to rebuild their lives; welcomes the work of British Cycling and other groups, including CTC, Sustrans, London Cycling Campaign, The Times, Cycling Weekly, RoadPeace and Brake to raise the profile of the issue; and calls on the Ministry of Justice to review carefully the evidence they have submitted and undertake a comprehensive review of each part of the criminal justice system, from crash investigation standards through to sentencing guidelines, to ensure that it is fairer for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users who are hurt or seriously injured on the country's roads.”

As you can see, many organisations are in support of the review, as well as MPs.  I hope you will consider my request and sign the Early Day Motion.

Your support of this issue would mean a lot to me as your constituent.  I would appreciate a response to know how you’ve considered my request. 

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