Drivers have 1 in 10 chance of going to jail for killing a cyclist

Drivers have 1 in 10 chance of going to jail for killing a cyclist

Drivers have 1 in 10 chance of going to jail for killing a cyclist

Drivers have 1 in 10 chance of going to jail for killing a cyclist

The London Evening Standard reported this week that drivers in London have a one in 10 chance of going to jail if they are involved in the death of a cyclist.

1 in 10 drivers jailed for causing a cyclists' death, many more not prosecuted

1 in 10 drivers jailed for causing a cyclists’ death, many more not prosecuted

The newspaper analysed police data on the 40 cyclists killed in the capital between 2010 and 2012 and found that only 4 of the drivers involved had been sent to prison.

More worryingly, only 15 of the cases were even prosecuted, the remaining cases were either discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or there was no charge brought.

Lenient sentencing

Sentencing for bad driving offences is currently far too lenient, both for fatal and non-fatal incidents and is in desperate need of review to make sure the danger of bad driving is eliminated. The current maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving is 14 years imprisonment, but this is seldom imposed. Multiple aggravating factors need to be present in order for judges to impose the maximum sentence. In 2013, Nicholas Lovell, the driver that killed Bristol couple Ross and Clare Simons, received the maximum sentence – discounted for a guilty plea – however, he had previous convictions for driving whilst disqualified and dangerous driving, he was disqualified from driving at the time of the incident and he fled the scene of the crash.

MASS CYCLE DIE-IN in london, front of Tfl Offices

Review of sentencing guidelines

The Government announced last year that it will conduct a review of sentencing guidelinesfor driving offences that cause death and serious injury, but, disappointingly, it has already twice postponed the start date and will only begin the consultation in spring 2015. What’s more, the proposed review only covers offences that cause death and serious injury but not the offences of dangerous and careless driving. CTC will maintain pressure on the Sentencing Council to broaden the review so that it also covers these offences.

The revised guidelines should include sentences that discourage bad driving, with a focus on prolonged driving bans and re-education for those who do not need to be locked up for public protection and custodial sentences for those who deliberately drive dangerously or who drive whilst disqualified.

A relatively short custodial sentence may be appropriate for drivers who have caused considerable harm but where this genuinely appears to have arisen from a momentary lapse by a normally careful and competent driver. This sentence could be suspended if an early guilty plea is made, but should be coupled with a substantial driving ban. Hardship pleas to avoid driving bans should not be accepted. Less serious offences are best penalised by non-custodial sentences such as driving bans, fines and community orders.

Although a shockingly small number of people go to jail for causing the death of a cyclist, a huge number of people are never even prosecuted for the offence.

Rhia Weston, CTC’s Road Safety Campaigner 

Low prosecution rates

Although a shockingly small number of people go to jail for causing the death of a cyclist, a huge number of people are never even prosecuted for the offence. This and the fact that prosecution rates for driving that caused death dropped 77% across England and Wales in the decade to 2012, send out the message that the justice system doesn’t consider bad driving that kills worthy of a prosecution.

In addition, prosecutions for causing death by dangerous driving (max. sentence = 14 years) have plummeted since the offence of causing death by careless driving (max. sentence = 5 years) was introduced in 2008. This makes it very hard for the courts to hand out rational sentences. We should be even angrier about this than the fact that a minority of people are being jailed.

The CPS frequently discontinue cases due to lack of evidence, therefore, gathering sufficient evidence during a police road crash investigation is vital for ensuring the viability of a prosecution. The police and CPS often charge drivers with weak offences (e.g. careless driving instead of dangerous driving) due to multiple factors, including misinterpretation of charging and prosecution guidelines, and the awareness that juries are reluctant to convict drivers if they face jail.

Clarity in charging and prosecution guidelines and better training for those applying them are therefore crucial to ensuring offending drivers are charged and charged appropriately.CTC’s Road Justice campaign, sponsored by Slater and Gordon Lawyers, is calling for better roads policing to improve evidence gathering and better charging and prosecution decisions. The campaign will publish a report in March 2014 focusing on charging and prosecution practice and how it can be improved.

Please sign the Road Justice petition demanding better roads policing.

Ban large lorries from the capital at peak times, Boardman tells Boris in response to cyclist deaths

Ban large lorries from the capital at peak times, Boardman tells Boris in response to cyclist deaths

British Cycling’s Policy Adviser Chris Boardman has written to the Mayor of London to ask him to put into action his promise to look at removing the most dangerous lorries from the capital’s roads during the busiest times.

British Cycling’s Policy Adviser Chris Boardman has written to the Mayor of London to ask him to put into action his promise to look at removing the most dangerous lorries from the capital’s roads during the busiest times.

British Cycling’s Policy Adviser Chris Boardman has written to the Mayor of London to ask him to put into action his promise to look at removing the most dangerous lorries from the capital’s roads during the busiest times.

In his open letter, written in response to the six cyclist deaths on the capital’s road in the last two weeks, Boardman reminded the Mayor that he made a promise eight months ago to study the experiences of cities such as Paris and Dublin where lorries over a certain size are restricted from entering certain parts of the city during peak hours.

“Let’s not waste this opportunity to do something now. The longer we delay, the more lives will be lost.”

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman’s letter to the Mayor states: “When I rode alongside you to help you launch your vision for cycling in March this year, you made a verbal promise to look at the successful experiences of Paris and many other cities in restricting the movements of heavy vehicles during peak hours.

“London has an opportunity to emulate and surpass Paris and to lead the way for the other ambitious cycling cities across Britain. Let’s not waste this opportunity to do something now. The longer we delay, the more lives will be lost.”

There have now been six cycling fatalities on the capital’s roads in two weeks and a total of 14 so far in 2013. HGVs were involved in nine of the fatal crashes – that’s 64% of the fatalities – despite making up less than 5% of traffic. In Paris, last year there were zero cyclist fatalities.

The full text of Chris Boardman’s letter to the Mayor is available here.

10 Great Sights Of Britain

10 Great Sights Of Britain

Great Britain is a beguiling and enchanting combination of four nations: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. From awe-inspiring mountains and lakes to castles, architecture and prehistoric monuments, a tour of Britain will involve more photo-opportunities and memories than you ever thought possible.

Starting in London, England’s capital, there’s Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Britain’s royalty since 1837. The State Rooms are used to host official functions, and are also opened for guided tours so that visitors can marvel at the opulent chandeliers and decorated ceilings, see some of the world-famous works of art and get a feel for the glamour of royal life.

York is a Viking town in the north of England, with a rich heritage that infuses its quaint cobbled streets, ancient city walls and majestic Minster. York Minster is stunning – one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world, and if you’re feeling energetic, you can climb the central tower and get a certificate to say you’ve done it. Clifford’s Tower is another monument with history, the remains of York Castle, which was built by William the Conqueror to subdue the northern rebels. Going back even further in time, the famous Yorvik Museum recreates an authentic Viking city, smells and all.

Towards the centre of England, in Warwickshire, is Stratford-upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare. An un-missable stop for anyone with more than a passing interest in literature, the whole town is steeped in culture and history. You can visit Shakespeare’s birthplace and immerse yourself in his life story, watch performances of his plays and visit the exhibition. Other Shakespeare related places to investigate include Hall’s Croft (where Shakespeare’s daughter was born), Anne Hathaway’s cottage and Mary Arden’s Farm, where his mother was born.

South western England is home to some of the most mystical parts of the British Isles. Stonehenge, near Salisbury in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, is the famous prehistoric monument that historians have been trying to decode for centuries, and one of the most famous places in the world. Stonehenge is thought to have been built in three phases and is estimated to have taken around 30 million hours to build. That’s not all for this mysterious part of the country, just 25 miles north of Stonehenge is the Avebury complex, another prehistoric earthwork.

In nearby Glastonbury, arguably more famous for the music festival, is Glastonbury Tor which rises enigmatically above the meadows. Glastonbury village is steeped in stories of witchcraft and fairy tales – the Tor is said to be home of Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Underworld, and the fairy folk! Owned and cared for by the National Trust, it’s free to visit.

Over the sea to Northern Ireland, and the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim is a curious reminder of how the country was formed. The Giant’s Causeway consists of 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, formed from volcanic activity millions of years ago. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you can drive along the Causeway Coastal Route and experience one of the world’s great road journeys.

Find your way to Belfast and seek out Titanic Belfast, a six-floor exhibition dedicated to the doomed ship. Located next to the site where the Titanic was built, it’s justifiably Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction, with a giant atrium surrounded by four hull shaped wings, housing nine galleries that tell the story of the Titanic from its conception in Belfast in the early 1900s to its famous maiden voyage and tragic end.

If outstanding beauty and sea-monsters go hand in hand for you, Loch Ness has it all. Quite apart from the legends surrounding Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, Loch Ness is also famous for its scenery, hill walks and the Great Glen with signposted walks suitable for everyone. Add a bit of history to your travels and visit Urquhart Castle, whose tower house offers some amazing views of the Loch and the Great Glen.

Also in Scotland is Edinburgh Castle, the view of which dominates over the beautiful city of Edinburgh from a great height. See the Great Hall, completed in 1511 for James IV, where Scotland’s gentry honoured their king, and the Palace where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI. You can also see the oldest crown jewels in the British Isles at this stop on your tour of Britain.

Wales is also home to some must-see landmarks, including Mount Snowdon and the Snowdonia National Park. You can explore Stone Age burial chambers, Roman forts, castles and more, and the area is famous with geologists, who investigated some of the world’s oldest rocks there in the 19th century. Make your way to the top of Mount Snowdon for some views to die for, or you could take the train along the Snowdon Mountain Railway, Britain’s highest rack railway, and save your legs.

Featured images:

Written by Katharina Kraetzer, a travel addict from Cambridge. She loves to visit the Cotswolds and the Scottish Highlands.

Cycle advocate speaks at House of Commons

Cycle advocate speaks at House of Commons

cyclecomonsKatja Leyendecker spoke to MPs at the House of Commons as a witness to the Transport Select committee.

Katja Leyendecker, chair of the group, says “It’s been both a nerve-racking and exhilarating experience. I think I got my point across, that the real debate is about better cities, and we have to start taking cycling seriously as a cornerstone of a liveable and resilient city. We must end its silent absence and build cycleways. And I seem to have found a convert and ally in one MP too, who said it was good that I kept the session on track.”

House_of_Commons

Here’s what Katja said.

“I think the question might be a completely different one and not so much about safety at all. I think it is about the future of our cities and how we want to run our cities. We were talking – beforehands – about education and enforcement and I think we have done that. We have done that in London and we have done that outside London. And it is actually the engineering bit that is missing. It has been done in bit and pieces, but not in a continuous, and certainly not in a holistic, look at the City or at the city of Newcastle for example.

“Of course, we as humans react in a certain kind of way and there are a lot of subliminal messages that you get as a drivers, as a cyclist, as someone who is walking in London or Newcastle or anywhere else. They way it’s been tackled elsewhere is to take that human behaviour into account, and therefore have something which you could almost call forgiving design. So that behaviour that might be that cyclists wobbling about that’s what cyclists do when they start and therefore you’d need a certain kind of lane width or path width. There is actually a lot of Rosa Parks, I would say, stuff going on that cyclists do. We talked before about cyclists going through red lights. There is certain countries, the cycle-friendly ones, who have started to design those things in. Where you have got a permanent green left, or on the continent it would be a right arrow, for cyclists. Where people have observed cyclists and have then found why cyclists do these things and actually allowed for it in the road design – which might be cycle lanes, cycleways, but it also has to be our junctions, they way our traffic lights are phased and all the wider picture around that. But the very started point is the human being and we are making mistakes. Every one of us. It’s just when one person makes a mistake sitting in a car or even a lorry that mistake costs so much more.”

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Oral evidence transcript
http://newcycling.org/news/20131203/chair-gives-evidence-select-committee

British Cycling wins bid to host 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London

British Cycling wins bid to host 2016 UCI Track World Championships in London

20120217-London-TWC-670x250The decision, made by the UCI management committee in Florence, Italy, means many of Britain’s track cyclists will have the chance to compete at a venue where they enjoyed amazing success winning nine Olympic medals in 2012. The 2016 Track Cycling World Championships will take place between 24and 28 February.

Forming part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series which aims to bring 70 world class events to this country by 2019, the Track Championships will also be a great opportunity for the public to show their support for Great Britain’s cyclists in the final stage of the Olympic qualification process for Rio 2016.

For the National Lottery funded British Cycling athletes the event will be the final milestone on the countdown to the Rio Olympics, providing an inspirational send off for the British riders as well as a morale boosting opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd.

The process to bring the UCI Track Cycling World Championships to London began in 2012 in the run up to the Olympic Games and has involved a partnership between British Cycling, UK Sport, London Legacy Development Corporation, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, London & Partners and the Mayor of London.

“The events we’ve delivered over the last decade in the UK have rightly been regarded as world class but the delivery of a World Championships in this iconic venue will be the biggest task we’ve taken on to date.”

British Cycling Chief Executive Ian Drake

Speaking at the time of the announcement, British Cycling’s Chief Executive, Ian Drake, said:

“Winning the bid to host the final Track Cycling World Championships of the next Olympic cycle is important strategically for us, it’s good for the current generation of athletes, but it’s also an important tool for inspiring the next generation who will follow in their footsteps.

“The events we’ve delivered over the last decade in the UK have rightly been regarded as world class but the delivery of a World Championships in this iconic venue will be the biggest task we’ve taken on to date.”

Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, said:

“This is another great coup for British sport and a real legacy from London 2012. The capital’s velodrome is a stunning, world-leading venue and I am sure the 2016 Track World Championships will have capacity crowds supporting our best cyclists ahead of the Rio Games. UK Sport’s Gold Event Series is helping to cement this country’s reputation as a leading destination to host the biggest events in world sport.”

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said:

“This is absolutely fantastic news for London, marking the arrival of yet another thrilling world class sporting fixture to our city. These prestigious championships will be centred around our stunning Olympic velodrome, a remarkable venue that saw such awe-inspiring performances from British cyclists last summer. Interest in cycling is rocketing in this city and I’ve no doubt London’s 2016 Track World Championships help will propel this even further.”

The World Championships in 2016 will take place in the velodrome at Lee Valley Velo Park, currently undergoing transformation in preparation for its handover from the London Legacy Development Corporation to Lee Valley Regional Park Authority who will be responsible for the long term management of the facility for the people of London. The Track World Championships forms part of a much wider calendar of sport in the capital that build on the legacy of the 2012 Games throughout the next Olympic cycle.

If you have been inspired to get on a bike…