Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

Conservative Party forced to apologise over 'dangerous cycling' tweet

Joe Robinson
13 Aug 2018

Tweet that suggests party would crack down on dangerous cycling to protect vulnerable road users comes under intense criticism

The Conservative Party has been forced to apologise for a tweet in which it claimed it would be 'cracking down on dangerous cycling' in order to protect the 'most vulnerable' road users. 

Put out on the party's official Twitter account yesterday, the tweet was followed by a press release from the Department for Transport which revealed new measures including better advice on how to overtake cyclists and new laws to 'crackdown dangerous cycling' including a new offence of 'causing death by dangerous cycling'. 

The Conservative Party decided to use the latter as its point of focus via its tweet, which has since deleted and apologised for following an outcry of complaints, including the likes of Chris Boardman and even Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston.

Olympic champion and leading voice for cycling in Britain, Chris Boardman replied to the tweet firstly asking whether the tweet was from a parody account before stating 'with [a] dead mother, crushed to death by a car' making him 'feel genuinely sick'.

Boardman also commented that all those who were as frustrated as he was about the tweet should contact Transport Minister Jesse Norman with their complaints.

Boardman, who is now cycling and walking commissioner for Greater Manchester, was even then joined by Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston who struck out at her own party for 'demonising cyclists'.

Norman subsequently replied to Boardman apologising for the tweet, which had then been deleted, stating it did not reflect the 'very careful work the Government has done to improve road safety for all users, including cyclists.'

This ill-informed tweet forms part of the Conservative Party's decision to launch a 12-week consultation into dangerous road users.

While it does include more informative advice on how to overtake cyclists on the road it also includes the introduction of a new 'death by dangerous cycling' offence, which the Conservative's decided to lead on via its tweet.

The Transport Department's own figures show that of the 448 pedestrians killed on Britain’s roads in 2016 only three of those deaths involved bicycles and that 99.4 per cent of all pedestrian deaths have involved a motor vehicle.

However, 'Death by dangerous cycling' was placed in the public spotlight recently following the case of fixed wheel cyclist Charlie Alliston who collided with and tragically killed Kim Briggs in February 2016. 

Alliston was cleared of manslaughter yet received an 18-month sentence for 'wanton and furious driving'. 

This tragic circumstance caused a drive within certain arms of the press to tackle 'dangerous cycling', something that Prime Minister Theresa May committed the government to in 2017.

Read more about: