CYCLING figures in Bradford and road safety campaigners have hit out at new plans by the Government to change a law around dangerous cycling.

The Department for Transport has announced it is starting a consultation to look at whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for dangerous cyclists.

The move follows the high-profile court case of Charlie Alliston earlier this year who was cleared of manslaughter and found guilty of causing bodily harm by ‘wanton or furious driving’ after he hit and killed a pedestrian while riding a bicycle in London.

However, one of Bradford’s leading cycling advocates and road safety charity Brake have criticised the Government’s decision to open a consultation into this issue.

Dave Robison, chair of Bradford Cycling Campaign, branded the idea a “diversion”.

He said: “It’s a bit of a diversion from what we need to be focusing on.

“No one is arguing cyclists should be allowed to ride at pedestrians at speed, we are saying if we want to reduce injuries and deaths in and around roads we need to look at the causes and how to avoid them.

“Cycling is not proportionally a cause of many injuries of deaths to pedestrians, it’s a couple a year whereas cars is hundreds.

“You have more chance of being killed by a bee sting than a cyclist.

“What we really need is a full overhaul of road safety laws, I feel this is a bit of a cynical manoeuvre.”

Joshua Harris, director of campaigns at Brake, added: “Whilst the intentions behind the Government’s announcement are sound, they are trying to fix a fundamentally flawed legal framework.

“A full review of road safety law is required and frankly long overdue. All too often families are denied justice, with drivers who kill let off with pitifully lenient sentences, and the public endangered through dangerous drivers evading driving bans.

“The Government must review all road safety law to protect the public and deliver justice for the families of those devastated by road death.”

However, Brake has welcomed an announcement from the Government that it will look at updating the Highway Code to try and counter the dangerous problem of ‘close passing’ by motorists of cyclists on the roads.

Mr Harris said: “Cycling is one of the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally-friendly forms of transport available and yet cyclists’ vulnerability put many off getting on a bike.

“We welcome the move by the Government to address the danger of ‘close passing’ but encourage them to go further to improve cycle safety.

“This year’s Road Safety Week theme is ‘Bike Smart’ and from November 19 to 25 we will be encouraging everyone to shout about the safety of those on two wheels.

“We hope the Government listens and acts to improve cyclist safety.”

Mr Robison added: "A quite successful close passing operation was trialled in Yorkshire recently.

"If it is in the Highway Code that's a good thing, and I'd welcome any encouragement to leave a bit more space and making cyclists feel safer."