Charlie Alliston: Laws could change after cyclist cleared of manslaughter over death of mother, Theresa May says

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New cycling laws could be introduced over the death of a mother-of-two who was killed after being hit by a man riding an illegal bike in east London, the Prime Minister has announced.

Charlie Alliston, now 20, was convicted last month over the death of Kim Briggs who died after he ploughed into her on his fixed wheel bike as she crossed Old Street last year.

Theresa May today said the Government will consider updating legislation after she was asked about the case at Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons.

Dangerous driving laws only apply to mechanically propelled vehicles, meaning Alliston was prosecuted under a little-used 150-year-old law of causing bodily harm by “wanton or furious driving”.

This carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment, compared with 14 years for death by dangerous driving.

Mother-of-two Kim Briggs died in hospital after suffering head injuries (PA)

Alliston was riding a fixed wheel bike with no brakes.

Labour MP Heidi Alexander described the law which the prosecution relied on as “hopelessly outdated”.

Mrs May replied: “She’s raised an important issue. I think we should welcome the fact that the prosecution were able to find legislation under which they were able to take a prosecution.

Convicted: Charlie Alliston (John Stillwell/PA )

“But the point she makes is a general one about ensuring that our legislation keeps up to date with developments that take place.

“I’m sure this is an issue that the Secretary of State for Transport will look at.”

The Department for Transport said in a statement that “protecting pedestrians and all road users is a top priority”.

It went on: “There already are strict laws that apply for cyclists and police have the power to prosecute if these are broken.

Matthew Briggs, the husband of Kim Briggs, speaks to the media outside the Old Bailey. (PA)

“But, as the PM said, the Transport Secretary is looking at the implications of the case, including whether dangerous driving should apply to cyclists who pose a danger to other road users.

“This will take into account the specific issue of types of bikes that lack the necessary safety equipment such as front brakes.”

Transport minister Jesse Norman will meet Mrs Briggs’ widower Matthew on Thursday to discuss the case and his views on the law. 

Following the conviction of Alliston, Mr Briggs said: “The current law is outdated and has not kept pace with the huge increase in the number of people cycling and the associated increased risk of collisions, nor the attitude of some cyclists.

Prime Minister: Theresa May at Prime Minster’s Questions (PA)

“We need to change the way the law deals with this.

“I am calling for an introduction of laws of causing death or serious injury by dangerous or careless cycling, thereby bringing cycling laws into line with the Road Traffic Act.”

Between 2005 and 2015, some 32 pedestrians died and 820 suffered serious injuries after colliding with cyclists, according to a report by charity Cycling UK.

Separate Department for Transport figures show that 351 pedestrians were killed after being hit by motorised vehicles in 2015 alone.

Cycling UK head of campaigns and advocacy Duncan Dollimore said: “The current laws on cycling offences are outdated and archaic, but it doesn’t make sense to mirror new cycling offences with those we have for driving.

“The reality is that the way in which the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users has long been inadequate.

“If new offences regarding the behaviour of cyclists are to be considered, that needs to be part of a wide review of all road traffic offences, as promised by the Ministry of Justice three years ago.”

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