British Cycling’s campaigns manager Martin Key, alongside colleagues from the CTC and Road Peace, met with the head of the Sentencing Council Michelle Crotty to discuss a review of sentences for bad driving
British Cycling has been calling for a full review of sentencing guidelines for bad driving offences for almost two years. The Department for Transport’s announced in August that they would be reviewing these guidelines as part of their response to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling report, published in April 2013.
There have been a number of cases over the last few years when cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on the roads and the consequent sentences has been extremely lenient.
Former British Cycling employee and keen cyclist Rob Jefferies was killed in 2011 while out on a training ride near his home in Dorset. He was hit from behind in broad daylight by a 17-year-old driver, who had held his licence for six months and already had a speeding conviction.
The driver received a 12-month community order, 200 hours of community service, an 18-month driving ban and was ordered to pay £85 costs.
Also in 2012, 20-year-old cyclist Tom Ridgway was hit from behind and killed by taxi driver Ichhapel Bhamra. Bhamra was charged with ‘driving without due care and attention’ and was fined just £35 and given three penalty points on his licence.
British Cycling’s campaigns manager Martin Key said: "It was good to meet with Michelle Crotty and discuss this problem which has been an issue for some time now. Too often cyclists are being killed on the road by negligent drivers and the punishment does not fit the crime.
"We want drivers to be taking proper responsibility for how they behave on the roads and tougher punishments would certainly make drivers think about their actions on the road. We specifically would like to see greater use of long driving bans to ensure bad drivers are kept off the road."
The Sentencing Council will be reviewing its guidance for all driving offences as soon as the Ministry of Justice has updated relevant legislation.
British Cycling will work with the Sentencing Council to ensure that tougher sentences, including alternatives to prison such as long driving bans, are considered in the updated guidance.
British Cycling is a supporter of the CTC’s Road Justice campaign.