Consultation into new 'death by dangerous cycling' laws welcomed in Sheffield

Close passing.
Close passing.
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A consultation to look at whether a new law equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for cyclists has been welcomed in Sheffield.

The Department for Transport has commissioned the Cycle Proofing Working Group to look into the possibility of introducing the new law which could see dangerous or careless cyclists who cause a death handed lengthy jail terms.

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The move has been praised by Ian Carey, chair of Cycle Sheffield, an organisation which promotes cycling in the city.

He said: "It is to be welcomed. Some of the laws around this are old and outdated and they should be looked at.

"If someone causes another to lose their life due to being careless or dangerous then they should be punished for this.

"However, I would also say that there are not a lot of incidents of this kind."

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The consultation will also look into updating parts of the Highway Code and to develop national guidance and best practice for cycling and walking infrastructure.

In addition the group will consider measures to counter the dangerous practice of vehicles ‘close passing’ cyclists.

Last year South Yorkshire Police vowed to crackdown on the issue and launched a 'Safe Pass' scheme.

This involves police community support officers cycling around Sheffield and Doncaster recording footage from their bikes with a view to investigating motorists caught driving too closely.

Mr Carey welcomed the review into this issue and said: "Close passing is a common problem.

"It only takes being passed close by a vehicle two or three times and it can be very scary and intimidating. There are people who take up cyclists who can be put off by it very quickly.

"The guidance is at least 1.5m, but we think drivers should also make sure they slow down when passing too."

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Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said: “A full review of road safety law is required and frankly long overdue.

"All too often families are denied justice, with drivers who kill let off with pitifully lenient sentences, and the public endangered through dangerous drivers evading driving bans."