This week sees the introduction of various new fines for both motorists and cyclists. For cyclists, on the spot fines for jumping red lights are being introduced and police are in place monitoring traffic junctions, particularly in London, to start warning of and enforcing this. Penningtons has dealt with two cases where cyclists jumping red lights have caused motorists to take evasive action and injure others – so this is an area which needs addressing. Cyclists need to follow the same rules as other traffic on the roads.
An equally tough line is being taken on motorists who encroach on cycle lanes. The encouragement of people cycling day to day has many benefits and is important, however, safety is key. Cyclists need to have their own safe lanes and be able to rely on the fact that motorists will not encroach. Again Penningtons has seen incidents with motorists, particularly motorbikes, ‘nipping’ into cycle lanes and not seeing cyclists, resulting in serious accidents. Motorists must be deterred from going into these lanes so that cyclists can travel safely.
Motorway driving is also under scrutiny and police now have powers to stop on the spot those who ‘tailgate’ and ‘hog’ the middle lane. Both of these activities are prevalent and, whilst most of the time they are simply a nuisance for other drivers to grumble about, in some cases they are the direct causes of accidents – with vehicles trying to get away from or get around such drivers. Instant enforcement of sensible driving can only be a good thing.
The final point of note this week is the increase in penalty fines for driving without insurance – from £200 to £300. Whilst taking this more seriously is a good thing, it must be queried whether the size of the fine is significant enough to deter people considering the higher costs of actually insuring a vehicle. Those who drive without insurance show a reckless disregard for the safety of others. Whilst there are other methods of compensation for those injured or with property damage from an uninsured motorist, the cover is not as extensive and the process is more complicated.
Philippa Luscombe, head of the personal injury team at Penningtons, commented: “We are pleased to see steps being taken to empower the police and other authorities to act promptly and penalise those who put the safety of others at risk. We hope that sufficient publicity of these changes will act as a deterrent and result in an improvement to road safety and a reduction in both the number of accidents and uninsured drivers.”