Killer cyclists to be treated like dangerous drivers following proposed law changes

16 May 2024, 14:13

Sir Iain Duncan Smith has campaigned for new laws over dangerous cyclists
Sir Iain Duncan Smith has campaigned for new laws over dangerous cyclists. Picture: Alamy

By Will Conroy

Law changes that could see cyclists who cause death by dangerous driving face up to 14 years in prison have been backed by the government. 

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The House of Commons voted through an amendment on Wednesday creating three new offences including “causing death by dangerous cycling”, “causing serious injury by dangerous cycling” and “causing death by careless or inconsiderate cycling”.

The plans will form part of the Criminal Justice Bill after being proposed by Sir Iain Duncan Smith and receiving support from MPs.

The government’s decision to accept the amendments of the bill, which is currently making its way through parliament, was confirmed by transport secretary Mark Harper.

He said: “Most cyclists, like most drivers, are responsible and considerate. But it’s only right that the tiny minority who recklessly disregard others face the full weight of the law for doing so.

“Just like car drivers who flout the law, we are backing this legislation introducing new offences around dangerous cycling.

“These new measures will help protect law-abiding cyclists, pedestrians and other road users, whilst ensuring justice is done.”

Read more: LBC investigation clocks cyclists doing 27mph in a 20 zone as crash victim urges bikes to slow down

Read more: Royal Parks call for cycling apps to remove Regent’s Park route after death of elderly woman in 29mph crash

Sir Iain led the campaign following the death of Kim Briggs after a collision with a reckless cyclist while crossing the road on Old Street in east London in 2016.

Charlie Alliston was riding an illegal fixed-gear bike with no front brakes at 18 mph but avoided manslaughter and was jailed for 18 months, charged with “wanton or furious driving”, based on a law created in 1861 for horse riders.

Following the government’s latest decision, Kim’s husband, Matt, who has also campaigned strongly since her death, said: “It has been a whirlwind over the past week. I am delighted not just for myself, but for so many other families involved in this. It is a fantastic result, great for all of us.

“I have been focused on getting this law through. This law has been my pure and primary focus. Kim died in 2016 and since the end of the trial, for seven years, I have been campaigning for this law.

“Nothing will bring Kim back, the same way it won't bring any others back. But hopefully it will help put an end to the confusion and chaos when you realise there is no law to prosecute cyclists.”

Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the amendments made by the House of Commons
Transport Secretary Mark Harper confirmed the amendments made by the House of Commons. Picture: Getty

Sir Iain said to MPs the law change was “urgent” and had told LBC: “There’s a reason for having a speed limit, this argument that it is anti cycling, it is not, it’s pro safety."

The former Tory leader added: “I have had a very serious set of conversations with the government, I have nearly 40 Conservative MPs supporting me - more than the government majority, fingers crossed we may get a change in the law.”

The planned changes would apply to incidents involving pedal cycles, e-bikes, e-scooters and e-unicycles and would also require cyclists to ensure their vehicle is maintained in a legal way.

Pressure for the government to act increased further after an 81-year-old woman was knocked down by a speeding cyclist in Regent’s Park in June 2022 and later died as a result of the injuries sustained in the collision.

According to GPS readings, Brian Fitzgerald was doing up to 29 mph in a 20 mph zone when he hit Hilda Griffiths while she crossed the road with her dog.

The vice president at Credit Suisse avoided conviction after the inquest heard speed limits do not apply to pedal cycles because they are not mechanically propelled.

Royal Parks urged Strava and other exercise apps to remove the Regent's Park’s Outer Circle as a segment on their sites, where users can compete to set the fastest time.