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Death by dangerous cycling: New law backed by the house of commons

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A new offence of causing death or serious injury by dangerous cycling is set to be introduced in the UK.

When introduced, the offence will penalise cyclists who are deemed responsible for harming pedestrians and other road users. Like the similar existing offence of causing death by dangerous driving, the penalties for causing death by dangerous cycling will be extremely serious.

While we hope this information is useful, please note that it should not be taken as legal advice. If you are concerned about the introduction of death by dangerous cycling as a criminal offence, then please get in touch and our team can advise you.

What is the new death by dangerous cycling law?

A consultation, which was published by the Department for Transport (DfT) in 2018 and concluded in 2024, considered the case for new cycling offences to be introduced.

The offences would see cyclists who cause death or serious harm be subject to penalties which are broadly equivalent to those which are already in place for drivers who cause serious harm. After a review of the consultation, independent legal experts noted that there was a ‘persuasive case for legislative change to the law’.

The government have now agreed to a change in the law. The changes will form part of an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament.

Three new offences will be created:

  • Causing death by dangerous cycling
  • Causing serious injury by dangerous cycling
  • Causing death by careless or inconsiderate cycling

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who put forward the amendment stated: "The amendment, I believe, will achieve equal accountability, just as drivers are held accountable for dangerous driving that results in death, cyclists I think should face similar consequences for reckless behaviour that leads to fatalities."

What constitutes ‘dangerous’ cycling?

Under the existing Road Traffic Act 1988, someone is deemed to be cycling dangerously if:

  1. the way they ride falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist, and
  2. (b) it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.

The exact requirements that would need to be satisfied for the new offence have yet to be finalised. It is likely that they will be similar to those which apply in death by dangerous driving cases.

Examples of dangerous cycling can include:

  • Riding whilst distracted for a considerable amount of time (eg using a mobile phone)
  • An obviously highly dangerous manoeuvre
  • Racing on the public highway
  • Brakes not working properly
  • Riding recklessly for a prolonged and persistent amount of time

(this is not an exhaustive list)

What is the maximum penalty for death by dangerous cycling?

The maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous cycling will be 14 years in prison. This matches the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous driving.

When will this new law be passed?

The legislation changes have been supported by Conservative MPs and will now need the approval of the House of Lords. It is important to note that the upcoming general election (4th July) is likely to put a hold on things, so it is not yet clear exactly when approval will be granted.

What defences to death by dangerous cycling are there?

There are several potential defences to dangerous cycling. For example:

  • You were not the rider
  • Your cycling was not dangerous
  • Someone else caused the collision but left the scene eg a car or even another cyclist. If another vehicle caused the collision it is important you contact the police
  • There was a collision caused by a defect to the bike that you were not aware of or could not be reasonably be expected to be aware of
  • Duress of circumstance (this can be a complex area of law and proper legal advice should be sought)

The above is not an exhaustive list of defences.

You can potentially challenge the prosecution’s version of what happened. For instance, dash cam or other camera evidence can be misleading regarding speed and distance and witnesses may give contradictory versions of what happened.

What should you do if you are accused of causing death by dangerous cycling?

As discussed, when the offence of causing death by dangerous cycling is introduced, the potential punishments can be severe. If you face such an accusation, it is critical that you have expert legal advice on your side.

Our specialist criminal defence solicitors have over 45 years of experience in handling a diverse range of cases, including serious motoring offences such as causing death by dangerous driving. When causing death by dangerous cycling is introduced, we will be well placed to provide you with the support and guidance you need to secure a positive outcome for your case. This could mean having charges dropped, or securing a lower sentence if conviction is unavoidable.

We are highly skilled at dealing with all forms of evidence that are relied on in criminal law cases, including digital evidence and witness testimony. This means that we have all of the necessary tools to build a strong defence case, as well as the ability to identify any flaws in the case against you.

We have been accredited by the Law Society for Criminal Litigation. This, as well as our extensive experience, means that we are able to demonstrate a strong track record of previous success. Over the years, we have also been able to establish strong relationships with many of the country’s leading criminal defence barristers.

If you face an accusation of causing death by dangerous cycling, our team will be able to provide you with the support you need.

Related matters

We provide support and guidance on various related matters, including:

Related cases

Fees and funding

We understand the importance of being clear and transparent when it comes to legal fees.

Legal aid may be available for your case, depending on whether it passes a means test and whether the grant of public funding is justified.

Where you do not qualify for legal aid, the alternative will be to fund the case on a private basis.

To find out more about the way we handle fees (both legal aid public funding and private fees) for causing death by dangerous cycling, please use the links provided below:

Contact our criminal defence lawyers today

If you are due to attend the police station, require any urgent specialist advice, or immediate representation for causing death by dangerous cycling, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers in London, Birmingham, and Manchester by telephone on:

Or email: solicitors@jdspicer.co.uk

Alternatively, you can fill out our quick online enquiry form, and we will get back to you quickly.

24/7 legal representation for causing death by dangerous cycling

Please get in touch for a free consultation with one of our expert criminal defence solicitors, as well as immediate representation and advice for causing death by dangerous cycling.

We are available to represent clients all over England and Wales at any time, so please contact our Emergency Number at 07836 577 556.

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If you believe your case is likely to have serious consequences for you now, or in the future and you have the means to pay for this service

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How can we help?

Common questions

We always work with the most experienced and best leading UK barristers, KCs (Kings Counsel). We cover all criminal cases 24/7 at the police station and court. Offices in London, Birmingham, and Manchester cover cases across England and Wales. We can offer Legal Aid and affordable Private fee agreements. We can see you the same day, including virtually. Our Senior Partners supervise all of our cases.

How quickly do you respond?

We respond quickly even during out of hours. We do not get our work by paying for online adverts but based on the fact that few criminal law firms can match our 45 years of experience. Most of our cases are still from word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied clients. We are called daily by dissatisfied clients from firms with less experience than us. We respond very quickly to new enquiries. We know what clients seek and so we update clients rapidly.

Can you get cases dropped?

Yes, read about the recent cases we've helped our clients with here.

We always keep you updated and give straightforward advice. We will get cases dropped early where the case is weak or should not be prosecuted. We will be upfront with you about where you can benefit from a good result with an early guilty plea, such as a discount on your sentence. As we work on cases across all levels with clients from all walks of life, we are excellent at giving clear, spot-on advice. As an established firm, we can allocate a whole team to your case often at short notice to secure evidence to minimise the damage to you. 

Have you won any awards?


"JD Spicer Zeb demonstrated a clear commitment to client service through their work with vulnerable and diverse individuals in what can be severely traumatic circumstances".

Do you offer free consultations?

Where it is possible, we aim to provide an initial consultation to you. If we can speak to you, we can if required inform you about  –

  • Whether we can take the case on and our relevant experience.
  • Public and private funding benefits.
  • Assistance in applying for legal aid where we are likely to accept instructions.
  • An outline of options in police interview only. We will not advise you on which option to adopt.
  • Providing our free written guide explaining the police station process.
  • The gravity of routine and day-to-day offences you face.
  • Consequences of not attending the court or police station.
  • Consequences of interfering with any witnesses.
  • Retaining any evidence in support of your case.
  • If possible an outline of the elements of the offence that the police or CPS must prove.
  • This consultation will normally be by telephone or email and will only be for as long as we deem necessary to establish if we can act for you. If we cannot usefully give you any advice in this manner then we will not continue with the consultation. We will not discuss the case in depth for you to be able to decide on your plea or any significant aspect of the case, as this cannot be undertaken informally.
  • Referring you, if possible, to other firms for matters out of our specialism or if we cannot help.

Consultations do not apply to the following cases –

  • If we do not intend to take the case on.
  • Road Traffic cases, drink driving, drug driving, driving bans, speeding, no insurance, mobile phone use, points etc.
  • In all cases where we do not have the capacity to take your case or the availability of suitably qualified staff to provide an initial free consultation. This is applicable in all cases but especially where a more senior lawyer is required because of your personal needs or the complexity of the case.
  • Harassment/stalking/ coercive behaviour/malicious communications or road traffic cases and most sensitive cases. These cases are often too complicated to assess in short consultations.
  • The locations concerned may be too distant to represent you adequately or it may not be cost-effective for you or us.
  • The case is too complicated to assess or raises various charges or facts, complexity, or history to be considered informally or in a short consultation.
  • In most Legal aid transfers where legal aid is granted to another firm except in very grave cases, we may assess the case and merits for a transfer.
  • If your relationship has broken down with your existing solicitor or several solicitors.
  • If you have been released under investigation and have already had a police station attendance. 
  • If you hold legal aid with another firm and seek a second opinion.
  • If you are calling on behalf of the client as a friend or family member unless you have full authority and full facts.
  • To businesses.
  • Advising whether you were given good advice by your other solicitor.
  • Whether to decide to plead guilty or not guilty.
  • Whether you have an arguable defence in law or factually complicated defences.
  • Any advice you have had after your first court appearance.
  • Any advice on appeal on conviction or sentence.
  • If we feel we are unable to communicate with you.
  • If we are likely to be conflicted or breach our professional rules.