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Cyclists to be prosecuted like drivers over pedestrian deaths

Anna Verdon

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| Last updated 

Cyclists to be prosecuted like drivers over pedestrian deaths

Featured Image Credit: Credit: [Simon Dack / Alamy Stock Photo and Stephen Chung / Alamy Stock Photo]

Cyclists could face similar sentences to drivers for killing pedestrians.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, is proposing a tougher crackdown to get them treated the same as motorists.

Currently, riders who cause the death of a pedestrian can only be jailed for a maximum of two years.

But Mr Shapps will be proposing a new law of causing death by dangerous cycling in the upcoming Transport Bill, which will be presented to Parliament in the autumn.

Speaking to MailOnline he said grieving relatives of those killed in cycling accidents have "waited too long for this straightforward measure".

It is something campaigners have been calling for since Kim Briggs, a mother-of-two, died while crossing a road in east London in February 2016. She’d been hit by a cyclist illegally riding a fixed-wheel bike with no front brakes. He’d been travelling at 18mph.

Credit: Jeff Gilbert/Alamy
Credit: Jeff Gilbert/Alamy

Charlie Alliston, 18, was put behind bars for just 18 months due to outdated legislation. A motorist may have been sentenced to life.

Mr Shapps added: "We need the cycling equivalent of death by dangerous driving to close a gap in the law and impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care."

He also said that "there can be no exceptions" in ensuring safety first applies to all road users.

To highlight how outdated the law for cyclists is, courts currently rely on the Offences Against The Person Act 1861, which was designed for offences relating to horse-drawn carriages. It gives cyclists a maximum of two years in prison for killing a pedestrian.

Credit: PA Images/Alamy
Credit: PA Images/Alamy

Under the 1991 Road Traffic Act, a maximum fine of £1,000 can be given for careless cycling and £2,500 for dangerous cycling.

Figures show that in 2019, 470 pedestrians were killed on the country’s roads – dropping to 346 in 2020 due to the pandemic. But according to a report by the parliamentary advisory council for transport safety (Pacts), in 2019, five pedestrian deaths involved a bike, while there were 48 cyclists and 305 pedestrians killed by cars.

Matt Briggs, whose wife, Kim, was killed by the cyclist in 2016 has been campaigning for change and said making a new law to prosecute dangerous cyclists would "greatly simplify the legal system", the Guardian reports.

Speaking to the BBC Today Programme, he added it would bring "a degree of comfort to relatives who are grieving and also to victims who are seriously injured".

Topics: Travel, UK News, News

Anna Verdon
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