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Monday, April 11, 2011

National debate in Briton on bike laws reflects on similar needs in the USA

After the death of a pedestrian by a speeding cyclist in England legislators there are proposing harsher penalties for bicyclists under a 1861 statute. This has brought up the level of debate on broader and more sensible laws that would act to provide stronger penalties for those involved in accidents involving bicyclists and automobiles.

Currently, only around 25% of road deaths in Great Briton are prosecuted using causing death by careless or dangerous, or causing death while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We have recorded dozens of cases where the deaths of vulnerable users, including many cyclists, are simply never prosecuted."

Jorren Knibbe, a barrister who writes a blog on cycling law, argued that while Leadsom's bill would "fill a gap in the law" but it would be wrong for cyclists and motorists to receive similar punishments for the offense.

He said: "The number of pedestrian casualties brought about by cyclists each year is tiny, whereas the risk posed by cars is, statistically, much greater. So greater deterrents are needed for motorists, because it's much more important for everyone's safety that motorists are made to think twice before driving dangerously or carelessly.

"More generally, it's a shame that the rare time which parliament spends talking about cycling should be taken up with this bill, when no one in recent memory has put forward any kind of positive cycling legislation. As Leadsom admitted, 'in the vast majority' of accidents involving cyclists the cyclist is the victim. It would surely be a better use of parliament's limited time to legislate for that vast majority of cases instead."

This review of laws could be of great help in the USA where the great majority of accidents with bicyclists are ignored or prosecuted as minor offenses in our courts. More on this debate is HERE.

1 comment:

  1. "Sorry I didn't see you." must not work for cyclists. It is still working well for motorists in Murphreesboro.