When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Cyclists hit out at new bill
CYCLISTS in Oxford have said bringing in a new law of causing death by dangerous cycling would be a waste of time.
They said cases of cyclists killing pedestrians were too rare for a new law and the biggest danger on the road remained motor vehicles.
The Government is considering the new legislation amid fears there are no suitable laws to deal with riders who hit and kill pedestrians on pavements.
It follows the case of 17-year-old Rhiannon Bennett in Buckingham three years ago, who died after hitting her head on the pavement when a cyclist crashed into her.
Jason Howard, 36, was convicted of dangerous cycling and fined £2,200.
Now Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, has presented a bill to the House of Commons.
Cyclists can be fined for dangerous or careless cycling but more serious offences can only be dealt with under a section of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.
It was originally aimed at the “wanton or furious” driving of a horse-drawn carriage.
But James Styring, chairman of city campaign group Cyclox, branded the move a “waste of time”.
He said: “Would the man who killed Rhiannon Bennett have decided not to mow her down had the law existed? Of course not.
“An existing law already covers this.
“The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 is used on those incredibly rare occasions when a cyclist kills a pedestrian.
“I don’t know why it wasn’t used with Rhiannon’s killer.”
“My issue with Andrea Leadsom’s bill is it’s shifting the focus away from the real problem on the road – killer motor vehicles.
“Bikes are light and very rarely kill.
“Cars and trucks are heavy and do kill.
“If I knocked you getting my bike out of a rack in the city centre I might bruise your leg.
“If I knocked you over backing my car out of a parking space in the city centre, I might break your leg.
“The kinetic energy of a bus or a truck means they would do more damage still.”
Steve Davies, from the Oxford branch of cyclists’ organisation CTC, said the measure was over the top.
He said: “This was a one-off case and the cyclist responsible was clearly stupid.
“It is an over-reaction to an isolated incident.
“Vehicles provide a much larger risk.
“Very often cyclists are forced to mount the pavement to take evasive action from bad driving.”
Adam Parnell, 24, who cycles every day to his Oxford bank clerk job from his home in Littlemore, said: “I really can’t see what this will achieve.
“Cyclists are not a danger to pedestrians.
“In fact, cyclists are more at risk than any road or pavement user.
“More should be done to protect cyclists, not the other way around.”
Transport minister Mike Penning said: “My department will consider the merits of the proposed Dangerous and Reckless Cycling Bill in consultation with the Ministry of Justice.”