According to an interview reported by LBC, the Transport Secretary is planning to increase the penalty for dangerous cyclists who kill through their recklessness. So why the change in the law? 

In 2017, a cyclist was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for killing a pedestrian.  Even though he had no front brakes on his bike, the police were unable to prosecute the cyclist for the more serious offence of 'death by dangerous driving' as that offence is aimed at drivers not cyclists.    

If the new proposals place cyclists on an even footing with drivers, then driving dangerously and cycling dangerously would likely carry similar sentences. 

What effect is this likely to have? 

The Highway Code is changing shortly to emphasise that the more vulnerable the road user, the greater the responsibility on others to look out for them.  But the Highway Code has been around since 1931, and sadly there are still too many people who ignore the principles behind it.  

Sometimes it takes a high profile event to act as a deterrent for reckless and dangerous behaviour; and a well publicised increase in the sentencing for dangerous cycling may be what is needed in order to reduce fatalities and serious injuries caused by irresponsible cyclists. Of course, it is only a minority of dangerous cyclists that give the rest of us riders a poor reputation, but if this new law helps to improve their behaviour on the road, all cyclists should benefit and be perceived in a better light.

I am a specialist serious injury solicitor. As both a keen cyclist as well as an Advanced Driver, I see the road rules from many different perspectives.  I also work closely with Roadpeace, the national charity that supports crash victims and their families. If you have been injured in a cycling incident and would like legal advice, or if would like to be put in touch with a local representative of Roadpeace, please get in touch