Tory peer calls for another update to the Highway Code in order to tackle irresponsible bicycle and e-scooter riders.
Conservative peer, Baroness McIntosh of Pickering has urged that cyclists and e-scooter riders should be banned from using mobile phones while on the road. Questioning why the recent change to the Highway Code toughened the rules for motorists but not other road users.
To illustrate her point, Lady McIntosh said she had recently been walking to the Houses of Parliament and as she was crossing the road, she became aware of a cyclist travelling towards her whilst using their mobile phone, saying, “one hand bicycling, one hand on the mobile phone, on the wrong side of the road”. I wasn’t clear whether he was going to stop or not.”
While there is no specific offence for a cyclist that uses a phone, Transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton pointed out that cyclists can be prosecuted for careless or dangerous cycling and face a fine of up to £2,500. She said: “It is not a specific offence to cycle and use a mobile phone or headphones, but cyclists and e-bike riders can be prosecuted by the police for careless and dangerous cycling with maximum fines of £1,000 and £2,500 respectively.”
Lady McIntosh said some cyclists and riders of e-scooters and e-bikes were using mobile phones “inappropriately” and challenged the Department for Transport on why the issue had been overlooked. Stating that e-scooters were “even more of a concern” with some people left feeling “absolutely terrorised” by those using them “irresponsibly”.
Lady McIntosh urged the government to “create criminal offences relating to dangerous, careless and inconsiderate cycling for those users of pedal bikes, electronically assisted bikes and e-scooters”. In her closing remarks to the debate, Baroness McIntosh said: “I look forward to seeing how automated vehicles will respond to reckless and furious cyclists, e-bicyclists and e-scooters, but we live to fight another day.”
Baroness McIntosh has twice previously tabled private member’s bills calling for an offence of dangerous cycling to be introduced, neither of which were successful, however, she said yesterday that she plans to introduce a third one – and has also tabled several questions in the House of Lords relating to people cycling on the pavement or riding their bikes through red traffic lights.