Husband of Kim Briggs calls for cycling law change

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Media captionMatthew Briggs told Today there is a “fetishism” with certain types of bikes

A widower is calling for a change in the law in honour of his “wonderful” wife who was knocked down and killed by a cyclist.

Kim Briggs, 44, was crossing the road in east London in her lunch break when she was hit in February 2016.

Her husband Matthew Briggs described her as “the most fun loving woman”.

It comes a day after Charlie Alliston, 20, was cleared of her manslaughter. He was found guilty of causing bodily harm by “wanton or furious driving”.

Alliston was riding a fixed gear bike with no front brakes when he hit mum-of-two Mrs Briggs. She suffered serious head injuries and died a week later in hospital.

Mr Briggs told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he was campaigning for a change in the law because “sometimes in life you have to step up and do the right thing”.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Briggs described his wife as the “most wonderful woman, the most fun loving woman”

He called for cycling to be incorporated into the Road Traffic Act with the creation of new offences such as causing death by dangerous cycling, death by careless cycling and causing serious injury.

Mr Briggs said he was launching a campaign for a change in the law to honour his wife, and to “try and stop another family having to go through what we have had to go through”.

“I’ve lived in London for 28 years. I cycle in London, this is not a witch-hunt against cyclists,” he added.

“This is dealing with a specific issue of reckless cyclists and also the those people who choose to ride fixed wheel bikes without the front brake.”

Image copyright PA
Image caption Alliston is due to be sentenced on 18 September and could be jailed for up to two years

Mr Briggs said riding fixed gear bikes with no front brakes was a fashion statement bordering on fetishism.

To those who rode bikes without a front brake, he said: “I would just urge them to read my story. To understand what happened to my wife, mother of two, the most wonderful woman, the most fun loving woman who went out to work and didn’t come back.

“Why would you take that risk with somebody else’s life? And even at the most selfish why would you endanger yourself?”

What is wanton and furious driving?

Image copyright Commentaries on the Laws of England
Image caption The law explained in the Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in 1867

Alliston was charged with an admittedly archaic offence – but it is the closest to dangerous driving a cyclist can be charged with.

Unlike a dangerous cycling charge, causing GBH by wanton and furious driving takes into account injury.

It may sound slightly eccentric, but perhaps it is down to its wording which was coined in 1861.

Introduced under the Offences Against the Person Act, the charge was created to deter people from driving horse carriages recklessly.

It is now used when it is not possible to prosecute under the Road Traffic Act 1988 – ie, when the vehicle in the crime was not mechanically propelled – and in cases of serious injury or death caused by a cyclist’s actions.

It carries a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Previous successful prosecutions under the offence include those against cyclists Darryl Gittoes and Darren Hall, who both knocked down pedestrians who later died.

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