THE recent letter “Seeing the darker side of cycling” is yet again another example of people getting angry or frustrated without ascertaining a little wider knowledge.
“. . . it would have been his fault, yet as I understand it, the law says it was my fault as I am a motorist..”
This is untrue. Under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations cyclists are legally obliged to have lighting after dark.
This would have been noted by the police if a collision had occurred. No fault to the motorist.
Even if the cyclist had been lit up like a Christmas tree there is little chance of conviction of a motorist – hence why CTC and British Cycling are campaigning for a major change in the justice system. Even then – this still would not impact on the letter writer.
Cyclists using mobile phones? Technically not illegal. I wouldn’t encourage it though.
Lastly: “A motorist may have had a fine and points, etc. What penalty do cyclists get? Nothing, I assume.”
Sadly assumptions are not as good as facts, though the latter are relatively easy to find. Broadly speaking fines for motorists have remained the same (may be down to police resources).
Hampshire Police put up disclosure documents on their websites and this is how I discovered the above.
Cyclists are mentioned,too. “Nothing?” No.
In the six-and-a-half years up to 2012 3,770 were fined for various offences. This is across the whole of Hampshire.
That’s around 580 a year out of what the authorities know are around 40,000 cyclists in the county.
In broad terms it works out that around one per cent of all riders have been caught doing something illegal, and dealt with accordingly by the police.