A “death by dangerous cycling” law should be created in the UK, the transport secretary has said.
Grant Shapps is vowing to close a legal loophole that means cyclists who kill pedestrians can only be jailed for two years.
Under his plans, cyclists who kill other road users would be treated the same as motorists.
Writing in Mail+, Mr Shapps said the law is needed “to impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care”.
He added: “A selfish minority of cyclists appear to believe that they are somehow immune to red lights.
“We need to crack down on this disregard for road safety. Relatives of victims have waited too long for this straightforward measure.”
Mr Shapps has proposed that the new law would be added to the Transport Bill, which is due to be put before parliament in the autumn.
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It comes four years after the government ran a consultation on proposals for new offences of causing death or serious injury while cycling.
Cycling levels ‘surging’ in England
In other developments, new figures suggest cycling levels are surging in England as cash-strapped consumers cut back on driving.
During the five months to the end of July, there was a 47% rise of cycling on weekdays when compared with the same period a year earlier – and a 27% jump during weekends.
As fuel prices peaked last month, cycling levels even exceeded the summer of 2020, when quieter roads during the coronavirus pandemic encouraged more Britons to get on bikes.
Cycling UK is urging local authorities and employers to do more to help people drive less and cycle more – especially for short everyday journeys.
Road safety remains a concern
The organisation’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, says many Britons don’t think the country’s roads are safe enough to cycle on.
But given how 71% of journeys made in the UK are under five miles, an uptick in cycling can help the environment – with benefits to health, wealth and wellbeing too.
Recent research from GoCompare suggests the average Briton would save £106.60 per month by cycling, all while reducing their carbon output by 5kg per day.
Scarlet Wilderink, an actress, says switching to cycling has boosted her bank balance – telling Sky News that she saves up to £15 a day by not taking the train.
But some employers who have tried to encourage their staff to bike into work say safety remains a big concern.
Tom Bowtell, chief executive of the British Coatings Federation, said: “I put all the infrastructure in – bike racks, showers and everything – but nobody else was taking advantage of it. I think that’s because of the fear of not feeling competent.”
He told Sky News that it’s crucial to educate the public about safe cycling routes, and make the most out of segregated bike lanes.