London News & Search
The widower of a woman knocked down and killed by a cyclist on a fixed-gear bike has vowed to force a change to dangerous driving laws.
Matthew Briggs’ wife Kim, 44, died after colliding with Charlie Alliston as she crossed a busy London roundabout in February last year.
Alliston, 20, was riding a fixed-gear bike with no front brake, which was designed for a race track, and was convicted of causing Mrs Brigg’s death last month.
He was prosecuted under a 150-year-old law of causing bodily harm by “wanton or furious driving”, as dangerous driving laws only apply to mechanically propelled vehicles.
Compared with a 14 year sentence for death by dangerous driving, Alliston’s penalty carries a maximum of a two-year jail term.
Alliston was cleared of a more serious charge of manslaughter.
Mr Briggs met with Transport minister Jesse Norman to discuss updating the law to make it easier to prosecute cyclists for riding dangerously.
He said: “The law is hopelessly outdated. There’s an enormous gap in the law between this inadequate 1861 law and manslaughter. So what I’m calling for is that cycling be included in the dangerous driving act.
“My pure focus is on getting cycling incorporated into the death by dangerous or death by careless driving laws.
“It means that where there is illegal wrongdoing, there is a law that can deal with it. So in my wife’s case, there was no law that could adequately deal with it, because this will happen again.”
Mr Briggs said another incident is “inevitable” due to the increasing number of cyclists on the streets.
He added: “I’m not anti-cycling and I will keep saying that because I cycle myself, but it’s just about making sure that where there is illegal wrongdoing, there’s a law that can deal with it and there’s a clear and understood framework.”
Mr Briggs said he was optimistic about bringing about a change in the law, saying that he had support from politicians across the political spectrum and cycling advocacy groups.
“I’m just here to be persistent and be polite and say ‘there’s a gap in the law, let’s get it changed’.”
Following Alliston’s conviction, the Department for Transport said that “protecting pedestrians and all road-users is a top priority”.
It added: “There already are strict laws that apply for cyclists and police have the power to prosecute if these are broken.
“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.”
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 DfT figures show that 351 pedestrians were killed after being hit by motorised vehicles in 2015 alone.
London News & Search