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Cyclists could 'face life in prison' for offence in next two years

Dominic Smithers

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Cyclists could 'face life in prison' for offence in next two years

Cyclists 'could face life in prison' for a serious offence in the next two years, an expert says.

Nick Freeman, or Mr Loophole as he's perhaps better known, is the solicitor to the stars, having helped the likes of David Beckham, Jimmy Carr, and Jeremy Clarkson escape fines and bans for driving offences.

Most recently, he has campaigned for tougher rules for cyclists, who he believes pose a huge danger on the roads.

Over the past few years, there have been a number of high profile deaths involving cyclists and pedestrians.

Last month, Stewart McGinn, 29, was sentenced to one year in prison after he rode his bike on the pavement and knocked a 79-year-old woman over, causing her to suffer a serious head injury and sadly die.

Under the current system, McGinn, who rode off from the scene, was charged with causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving, a law that dates back over 160 years to the Offences against the Person Act 1861 and carries a maximum sentence of just two years.

Cyclists who kill pedestrians are rarely convicted of a serious offence. Credit: Martin Philpott/Alamy
Cyclists who kill pedestrians are rarely convicted of a serious offence. Credit: Martin Philpott/Alamy

While cyclists can and have been charged with manslaughter, they are regularly acquitted and instead dealt with under much more lenient sentencing guidelines.

Mr Freeman says these archaic laws are preventing cyclists from being held accountable for their reckless actions.

Speaking to LADbible, the 65-year-old says he wants to see cyclists who kill someone while riding dangerously face life in prison.

He tells us: "I have petitioned the government to have complete parity, so if you're a cyclist and you kill someone whilst you're cycling dangerously, you face the potential of life imprisonment.

"If you cause someone serious injury while cycling dangerously, then you receive a lengthy custodial sentence, and if you injure someone seriously while cycling without due care and attention, again, there's a custodial sentence, potentially, to follow."

And Mr Freeman believes that the support is there for the change.

"I think it will be debated in Parliament," he says. "And I think there's a huge wealth of support for trying to make the roads safer.

"I think, hopefully, being realistic, [new laws will come into effect] probably in a couple of years."

Nick Freeman wants cyclists who kill pedestrians to face life in prison. Credit: PA Images/Alamy
Nick Freeman wants cyclists who kill pedestrians to face life in prison. Credit: PA Images/Alamy

Mr Freeman also wants to see cyclists wearing some kind of identifier, similar to a licence plate, that allows them to be tracked down if they are involved in an accident.

And he believes cyclists should be required to be insured before they are allowed to go out onto the roads, while children must be accompanied by an adult.

He says: "What I would do with children is say any children under the age of 14 must be supervised by an adult who has a licence.

"[Cyclists should be] 100 percent insured and I'd have a mandated requirement for a helmet and a high vis jacket or vest.

"I'd also make sure that the cycles are fit for purpose, so every year you have a very quick check to make sure any bike over three years old or something is fit for the road."

But he doesn't think it's just the responsibility of cyclists to be safe on the roads, pedestrians also bear some responsibility.

"What I would say is no jaywalking," he tells us. "If you're in a city, you cross designated places, like they do in America.

"And I would also say you cannot cross a road while you're on your phone, while you're using your phone, or while listening to music."

"I'd have civil enforcement officers, and I'd find them £100 on the spot, and people would think, 'There's just no point, is there?'

"And they'll look after the kids as well, because if the kids do it, the parents will pay the fine."

Featured Image Credit: Martin Philpott/Scott Hortop Travel/Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: UK News, Politics

Dominic Smithers
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