6th February 2017

With cycling currently more popular than ever, more than two million people in the UK cycle at least once a week. Nowhere is that more evident than around the lanes and cycle paths of Devon, with many people enjoying this slower method of transport to enjoy the rural and coastal landscapes that our beautiful county has to offer.

While we are able to enjoy cycling on the off-road Tarka Trail, as well as on the many quiet country lanes, I am regularly contacted by cyclists with concerns about the condition of the roads, the way they are treated by some car drivers, and the fact that in the event of an accident it is not always easy to take action against drivers, even in situations where they are at fault.

Lately there have been discussions over the way in which accidents between cyclists and car drivers are dealt with, with calls for a change to civil liability, which would mean that in the event of such a collision the car driver would automatically be deemed liable. While I agree that it is important that cycling on our roads is made safer, I do not agree that the principle of civil liability should be altered. It is important that it is based on the establishment of fault, and that it remains necessary to prove that a defendant’s actions caused the accident and were either negligent or intentional.

I understand that Ministers agree that such a system would not benefit road safety, and that it could, in fact, remove the incentive for road users to act responsibly, which is likely to have an undesirable effect.

While I appreciate that many people will be disappointed by this decision, it is important to recognise that a great deal is being done to improve the safety of cyclists; by increasing the amount of off-road cycling paths, introducing more cycling lanes, and improving the condition of our roads.

Government investment in cycling has tripled since 2010, with the Department for Transport spending £300 million on cycling funding, and a further £500 million for infrastructure in local communities, which will include benefits for cyclists.

Ministers are also looking to local authorities as partners to deliver on cycle infrastructure in local communities across England. There is long-term funding available to both local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), which could be used on cycling through the Integrated Transport block, Highways Maintenance block, and the new ‘access’ fund; and billions of local transport funding available through the Local Growth Fund.

I believe that these measures demonstrate the Government’s commitment to cycling in this country, and I look forward to seeing the number of cyclists increasing further as the sport becomes even safer.


Surgery Dates

Geoffrey holds regular surgeries. To book an appointment please click here or call 01822 612925.
Saturday 14th April
Bideford, Torrington
Saturday 21st April
Holsworthy, Tavistock