In the lead up to the General Election on 8th June Cardiff Cycle City is to challenge the city’s parliamentary candidates to explain how they will help make the roads safer for cycling. The organisation, which aims to make Cardiff the best city for cycling in the UK, has written to the candidates of the six leading parties asking them to set out their views on how the justice system can be improved to protect cyclists.
Dave Hann, spokesperson for Cardiff Cycle City, said: “The current system is failing cyclists. Breaking the road traffic laws is not seen as a real crime by the justice system, even when it results in the death of an innocent road user. There have been numerous cases of both the police and the CPS failing to investigate or press charges for flagrant breaches of the law. Even when a perpetrator is prosecuted and found guilty the sentence imposed is often derisory in comparison with the injury caused.”
Whilst cycling is in fact a safe activity, the perception that it is dangerous to cycle on the road and in particular the way some drivers fail to give enough space when overtaking, is deterring many people from using their bike as their means of getting around the city. This means our city is not enjoying the huge benefits that getting people out of their cars and onto bikes provides: reducing pollution, cutting congestion, improving air quality and helping to make to make people healthier.
The justice system has an important role to play in getting other road users to give greater respect to cyclists and encouraging more people to cycle.
A recent report by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, Cycling and the Justice System, contains a detailed analysis of the way the justice system is failing cyclists and a number of recommendations for improvements.
Dave Hann went on to say: “There are examples of best practice, such as the close pass initiative promoted by West Midlands Police which educates drivers on the dangers of not giving cyclists enough space when overtaking and takes action against drivers who puts cyclists in danger. We would very much like South Wales Police to follow their example.
We know that lots of local cyclists will be thinking about what the various candidates will be offering for cycling when they go to cast their votes so we want to help them by providing a place where they can find the all candidates views on this key issue.”
The full text of the letter can be found here (PDF) and the responses will be published after the 28th May
Cardiff Cycle City have written to the nominated parliamentary candidates for : UKIP, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Conservatives, Welsh Labour, Welsh LibDems and the Welsh Greens in the four Cardiff constituencies.