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A letter from Jesse Norman, MP

Dear Sir / Madam

I am writing to you following the tragic death of Mrs Kim Briggs to ask for your help in highlighting the importance of cyclists adhering to the rules set out in The Highway Code and elsewhere.

Mrs Briggs died after a cyclist collided with her. The cyclist was riding a bicycle with a “fixed” rear wheel and without a front brake, making his bike illegal on the road.

The Highway Code clearly sets out rules for cyclists including on equipment, clothing and use of lanes and crossings. It states that every pedal cycle must have efficient brakes and meet the applicable legal requirements. The relevant sections are Rules for cyclists (59 to 82) and Annex 1: “You and your bicycle”.

These should be read alongside the more detailed information set out in the Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983 which make clear that in virtually all cases bikes must have independent front and rear braking systems, and that any bike with a “fixed” rear wheel must be equipped with a front brake. Failure to comply with these rules can result in verbal warnings, fixed penalty notices or formal prosecution.

I would encourage local authorities to highlight the rules for cyclists in the Highway Code to people who cycle in your local area, local companies which employ large numbers of cyclists and to other local employers who have large numbers of employees who cycle to work. The Highway Code is readily available digitally on GOV.UK, as an e-book, iPhone app and interactive CD-ROM.

Of course, all road users are personally responsible for making sure that their knowledge of The Highway Code is up to date and that they use the road network in a safe and responsible manner. Although cycling is generally a safe activity, there are a number of collisions between cyclists and motorists each year and these can result in serious injury or death of the cyclist.

The Highway Code contains an section entitled “road users requiring extra care” which aims to educate and remind drivers of the needs of more vulnerable road users such as cyclists: https://www.gov.uk/road-users-requiring-extra-care-204-to-225.

I should highlight that there are slightly different rules on brakes for Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles (EAPCs) when sold for use, or used, on a public road as set out in The Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983. The brakes must comply with paragraph 4.6.8 of British / European / International standard BS EN ISO 4210-2:20148, or any equivalent European standard, and be maintained in efficient working order. For information, an EAPC must be fitted with pedals that are capable of propelling it, the maximum continuous rated power of the electric motor must not exceed 250 Watts, and the electrical assistance must cut-off when the vehicle reaches 15.5 mph. An information sheet on these vehicles is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482015/electrically-assisted-pedal-cycles.pdf

Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and I am determined to keep them that way for all road users. We will be looking at ways to highlight the key information in The Highway Code and have just published a quick reference guide for cyclists (https://twitter.com/THINKgovuk/status/901109909768609792) highlighting the requirements for a roadworthy bike.

I would appreciate your support in working together in emphasizing this important road safety message.

JESSE NORMAN, MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State


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