CONSERVATIVES have been forced to apologise for claiming the “most vulnerable road users” need protection from “dangerous cycling” after Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman expressed outrage.
Mr Boardman, whose mother was killed by a pick-up truck while cycling in 2016, said he felt “genuinely sick” after seeing the message on the party’s official Twitter account.
“I genuinely thought this was a bad joke [and] had to check it was a real account,” he added.
Minister for Cycling Jesse Norman apologised after the message, which has now been taken down, provoked angry responses from cyclists.
He has recently announced plans for new road safety laws, including offences of causing death by dangerous or careless cycling that would see riders who kill pedestrians treated in a similar way to drivers.
The legislation was proposed after mother-of-two Kim Briggs was knocked over and killed by a bicycle courier in 2016. The cyclist was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after being found guilty of causing bodily harm by “wanton and furious driving.”
The Victorian legislation, drafted to deal with reckless handling of horses, was used because there was no cycling equivalent to dangerous driving.
The Department for Transport recently announced measures to protect vulnerable road users, such as funding to give driving instructors training to ensure that cyclists' safety is prioritised, better investigation of crashes and a £100 million investment in improving dangerous roads.
The measures also include the introduction of national guidance for cycling and walking infrastructure and an update of parts of the Highway Code to combat close passing of bicycles.
In 2016, 448 pedestrians were killed on Britain’s roads, with only three cases involving bicycles.
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