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Cyclists are not subject to speed limits – Parliamentary question


Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 13 February (WA 169), whether cyclists are subject to 20 miles per hour speed limits; and, if so, what penalties are available for cyclists who break the limit.

AttleeEarl Attlee (Whip, House of Lords; Conservative)

Cyclists are not subject to the general prohibition on exceeding the maximum speed limit on the road.

Citation: HL Deb, 7 March 2013, c413W

2 replies on “Cyclists are not subject to speed limits – Parliamentary question”

Whilst it is indeed the case that in law the same passages of text do not apply the cyclists, this does not however remove common responsibility from a cyclist, or for that matter, exempt them from having committed a criminal offence.

Whilst the act of speeding itself is not of question, the speed limit imposed on a road section often reflects the road condition and risk to life.

With this in mind, a cyclist can be convicted of “wanton and furious driving” when causing bodily harm. Such risk is increased were the risk assessed speed limit is exceeded. This crime carries upto 2 years in prison.

Also of note is that you should not confuse the existing passage of law neglecting to include cyclists within their passage. Through local acts, it is indeed possible for a cyclists to break the speed limit. The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 allows for speed limits to be imposed that include cyclists.

Though at this time, these regulations have not been used in a way that grants such restrictions… yet.

That’s interesting to know. Some of this I was already aware of through the article on BikeHub about cycling and the law.

Does bodily harm have to occur for a prosecution of “wanton and furious driving”? There is mention on BikeHub of a cyclist in Cambridge being prosecuted for “wanton and furious driving” for cycling at 25mph in a 30 zone but with no mention of a collision.

I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the speed limit imposed in some Royal Parks (Richmond Park in London perhaps?) does apply to bicycles.

On speed limits in general, the Highway Code is very clear on this and says “The speed limit is the absolute maximum and it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions.” Very true.

Personally, I average about 11mph (moving speed)!

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