LESS than half of drivers convicted of killing cyclists in Britain are sent to jail, new figures have revealed.

Information provided by all 45 UK police forces also showed that more than a quarter of those guilty over cyclist deaths did not receive driving bans.

The statistics, taken between 2007 and 2014, have sparked fresh calls for tougher penalties to be imposed on drivers who cause accidents that kill cyclists.

In total, the figures showed that in 54 per cent of cases in which a cyclist was killed by a motorist, the driver was charged. While 73 per cent of them went on to be convicted, 44 per cent were jailed.

Last year the Crown Office lost its appeal after it claimed the sentence handed to Gary McCourt, who caused the death of Audrey Fyfe, 75, in Edinburgh in 2011 was too lenient.

Mr McCourt was banned from driving for five years and ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service, despite having a previous conviction for causing a cyclist's death by reckless driving in 1985. The sentence provoked outrage from Ms Fyfe's family.

Ex-Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, a policy adviser for British Cycling, said: "Our legal system doesn't support fully enough the more vulnerable road user and it doesn't reflect the responsibility people have when they drive a car."

He added: "If you seriously injure someone or behave badly on the roads then I think we should see an awful lot more licences taken away, and I think that would very quickly improve behaviour."