Thursday 12 January 2017 07.00 GMT
What stops more people from cycling? The answer is clear: too many people feel unsafe using Britain’s roads.
Almost two-thirds of people agree with the statement, “It is too dangerous for me to cycle on the roads.” Yet roads are too often all that people have available to them.
The answer to this is also clear: better infrastructure for people on bikes. Although there is some investment in new bike paths in London and a few other towns and cities, progress is slow.
Therefore making the existing roads safe is crucial if the much-vaunted “cycling revolution” – promised under the previous government – is ever to crank into gear.
So how do we make existing roads safer while we wait for the infrastructure to come? Well, one suggestion might be to reduce the conflicts with other road users that make cycling feel risky.
One topic that has been repeatedly raised with the all-party parliamentary cycling group in previous inquiries is whether the legal system provides adequate protection for people on bikes. Cyclists are more likely to be injured in collisions with other road users, and yet this vulnerability is, it is claimed, not reflected in the protection afforded by the legal system.
As a cross-party group of MPs, we’ve decided to launch a new inquiry into the function of the justice system for cycling. Over the next two months we’ll take oral evidence from cyclists, victims and their families, and experts to investigate how the justice system is working for those on bikes.
We’ll be asking specific questions about how aspects of the legal system could be improved, such as whether the Highway Code provides good enough guidance on how to behave around cyclists.
We’ll also be seeking to find out whether the police are effective in detecting crimes on the roads and whether prosecutors and the courts are using all the means available to them to prevent illegal behaviour from recurring.
We know, for instance, that up to a third of drivers who receive 12 licence points, or sometimes even more, escape any form of disqualification by pleading “exceptional hardship” in court.
In the meantime, we want to hear from people on bikes whose lives have been touched by the legal system to tell us what their experiences have been – whether good or bad.
Please send any thoughts to us by the 16 January or respond below.