Strong case for death by dangerous cycling law - study

The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that there is a strong case for introducing new laws on causing death by dangerous cycling. Photo credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
The Department for Transport (DfT) has said that there is a strong case for introducing new laws on causing death by dangerous cycling. Photo credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
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There is a strong case for introducing new laws on causing death by dangerous cycling, according to a Government-commissioned study.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said it is "considering the report", which found that the gap between existing offences is "too wide" and cycling should be brought "into line with driving".

The inquiry is part of the DfT's cycling review announced in September 2017 after 44-year-old mother-of-two Kim Briggs was knocked over and killed by a bicycle courier.

Charlie Alliston, then 18, was travelling at 18mph on a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes.

He was sentenced to 18 months in jail after being found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton and furious driving".

The Victorian legislation, originally drafted to deal with reckless handling of horses, was used because there was no cycling equivalent to the offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

The study into the introduction of new laws was carried out by Laura Thomas, a partner at law firm Birketts.

Ms Briggs' widower Matthew responded by calling on the Government to introduce new cycling offences as soon as possible.

He said: "I would now urge the Government to go further and bring forward this legislation and ask that they publish a timetable towards this goal for which there is overwhelming public support.

"I simply do not want yet another family to suffer the consequences of hopelessly inadequate and outdated legislation with the delays and confusion that simply compounded our grief after the tragedy of losing Kim.

"I am therefore asking the Government to follow the recommendation of the report and quickly redress this legal anomaly."

A DfT spokesman said: "We are considering the report and will be responding to it shortly."

Law firm Fieldfisher is pursuing a civil claim against Alliston on behalf of Mr Briggs and his children.

Cycling UK claimed the introduction of new cycling laws without a comprehensive review of road safety legislation would be a missed opportunity.

The charity's head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, said it is "something of a lottery" whether drivers are prosecuted for careless or dangerous driving, leaving thousands of victims and their families "feeling massively let down".

He went on: "Adding one or two new offences specific to cyclists would just be tinkering around the edges."

West Midlands Police released footage last week showing a car driver pass a cyclist with a gap of just 10cm as he sped past at nearly 50mph in a 30mph zone.

In 2015, two pedestrians were killed and 96 were seriously injured when hit by a bicycle.

Meanwhile, more than 100 bicycle users are killed and 3,000 seriously injured on British roads each year.

Cycling minister Jesse Norman has issued a call for evidence on issues such as infrastructure and education as the DfT considers how to make cycling and walking safer.

He said: "We need to become a nation of cyclists."