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Killer cyclists face prosecution under historic new law welcomed by campaigners

26 January 2022, 09:40 | Updated: 26 January 2022, 11:18

Rachael Venables

By Rachael Venables

Campaigners have welcomed a historic change in the law that could finally see killer cyclists prosecuted.

Cyclists who cause death by dangerous cycling could soon be prosecuted under an historic change in the law, announced on LBC.

On Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps revealed he wants to be able to prosecute cyclists who cause fatal crashes in a similar way to drivers.

Currently motorists face a maximum jail term of 14 years for causing death by dangerous driving but MPs want to increase the sentence to life.

"It's to make sure that we're able to prosecute cyclists who for example cause death by their own dangerous cycling.

"It's worth noting that I think the injuries and deaths that take place because of cyclists are also unacceptable."

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Cycling laws are due to change, years after the Charlie Alliston (right) case
Cycling laws are due to change, years after the Charlie Alliston (right) case. Picture: Alamy

Matthew Briggs has been campaigning for this change in the law since his wife Kim was killed in a crash with a cyclist in 2016.

Charlie Alliston collided with the mum-of-two as she crossed the road on her lunch break in Old Street in East London. He was riding a fixed gear bike at the time, which illegally had no front brakes.

But Matthew was horrified to learn there was no specific law for causing death by dangerous cycling: "It was about a week after Kim's death, I was sat at Bluewater buying school uniforms for the kids, when I got a call from the police who said they felt there was perhaps criminality involved.

"But then came the big stop, which is when the police officer said to me 'we have nothing to charge him with. I have never come across this before. There are no laws to charge a cyclist for this.'"

It took 18 months to reach court, with the cyclist eventually prosecuted under a law so old it was originally designed to cover driving offences with horse-drawn carriages.

Then 18-years-old, Alliston was found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton and furious driving" and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

In comparison, the charge of "death by dangerous" driving carries a maximum sentence of fourteen years.

Matthew tells me the consultation into a legal change is done, and the law is ready to go. He now wants to see the Department for Transport follow through with its promise.

"It is a simple tidy up of the law, that will reduce pressure and heartache for families, at a time that is simply awful."

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