posted 1 year ago

Killer Cyclists Face Tougher Sentences Akin to Drivers

Penalties for killer cyclists relative to drivers

Dangerous cyclists that kill and hurt others might face longer prison sentences in line with drivers that commit similar offences, The Department for Transport said in March 2018. This news follows the publication of The Cycle Safety Review that suggested there is a “persuasive case” to equalise such punishment.

Note, therefore, the contrasting penalties between drivers and cyclists. The Crown Prosecution Service confirmed motorists that cause havoc face lengthy, custodial, sentences plus other sanctions. Prosecution comes via The Road Traffic Act 1988 and The Road Safety Act 2006, for instance. Offences and penalties include:

  • Causing death by dangerous driving (up to 14 years imprisonment and banned from the road for at least 2 years)
  • Causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs (up to 14 years imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and banned for at least 2 years)
  • Causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving (up to 5 years imprisonment and banned for at least 1 year)
  • Causing serious injury by dangerous driving (up to 5 years imprisonment, fine, and disqualification for at least 2 years)

1861 legislation

However, there are no equivalent offences for cyclists. Killers, therefore, might have to be prosecuted courtesy of The Offences Against The Person Act 1861 that - in part - deals with hooligans that risk lives in horse-drawn carriages. It refers to “wanton or furious driving” of “any carriage or vehicle” that causes “bodily harm”, for instance. The maximum penalty is only 2 years in prison.

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Tragic death

The 1861 legislation has been used in recent times. In 2016, Kim Briggs, 44, was killed by a cyclist in London. The Old Bailey heard that the perpetrator - Charlie Alliston, 18 - was riding a lightweight track bike that did not have front brakes. Mr Alliston was also travelling at speed, shouting and swearing at pedestrians.

Shortly after the tragedy, he ranted on social media: "It's not my fault people either think they are invincible or have zero respect for cyclists". In 2017, Mr Alliston was convicted of wanton and furious driving and sent to prison for 18 months. He, therefore, received a lighter sentence than comparable motorists might expect.

Kim Briggs’ widow, Matt, is campaigning for tougher penalties for killer cyclists so urged the government to follow the recommendations of The Cycle Safety Review. To update the law, in other words. “I do not want another family to suffer the consequences of hopelessly inadequate and outdated legislation”, he said.