The death of mother of 2, Kim Briggs, back in 2016 has instigated a proposal for new road safety legislation.
Cyclists who kill pedestrians could now be treated in a similar way to dangerous drivers under a new legislation being proposed by the government. The Department for Transport has begun a 12-week consultation on plans to update existing road safety laws to protect pedestrians and cyclists.
Ms Briggs was killed by Charlie Alliston, a bicycle courier then 18, who was travelling at 18mph on a fixed-wheel bike with no front brakes. He was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of the Victorian offence of causing bodily harm by “wanton and furious driving”.
The legislation, which was originally drafted to deal with reckless handling of horses, was used in this case, because there was no cycling equivalent to the offence of causing death by dangerous driving. Ms Briggs’ widower Matthew has been campaigning for the law change for almost a year now.
Matthew, Ms Briggs widower is quoted saying: “Getting the law changed is a positive legacy from this. The government has treated me very well, and this seems to have moved very swiftly. It has been a very important journey for me. A week after Kim died, the investigating officer told me there might be an element of wrongdoing, but then came the ‘but’, that he didn’t know what to charge him (Alliston) with. That started an 18-month rollercoaster of the ins and outs and the CPS reports. What happened to Kim was rare, but it’s not unique and I don’t want another family to suffer a double whammy of grief and then go through this legal minefield.”
The national charity, Cycling UK, claimed a “full review of road traffic offences” is required. Head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said: “We need a full review – something promised by the government in 2014 – because the way the justice system deals with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users hasn’t been fit for purpose for years.”
It must however be noted that being killed by a cyclist is extremely low in the UK. In 2016, 448 pedestrians were killed on our roads, but only three of those cases involved bicycles. And in the last 10 years 99.4% of all pedestrian deaths involved a motor vehicle.