posted 1 month ago

Killer Cyclists to Face Same Penalties as Drivers

Proposed new laws ensure that cyclists face comparable charges to motorists

Government consultation

Dangerous, hooligan, cyclists that kill and injure should be charged with new offences comparable to motorists that behave in the same manner, The Department for Transport proposes. The purpose of such change is to “bring legislation up to date” and “protect vulnerable road users”, it revealed. The proposed new offences are:

  • Causing death by dangerous cycling
  • Causing death by careless or inconsiderate cycling
  • Causing serious injury by dangerous cycling
  • Causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate cycling

Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and any other interested parties can comment on the proposals via a consultation document until November 5th 2018. Furthermore, it asks whether reckless cyclists should face the same punishment as motorists. Dangerous drivers that kill can be imprisoned for up to fourteen years, for instance.

Offences Against The Person Act 1861

The Government champions new legislation as it believes the law does not properly punish selfish, reckless, cyclists that have no regard for the people they injure. The Crown Prosecution Service has, after all, recently been forced to rely on old, barely related, legislation that became law during the nineteenth century.

The Offences Against The Person Act 1861 refers to “wanton and furious driving” of “any carriage or vehicle”. A horse-drawn carriage, for instance. The maximum prison sentence permitted by this ancient legislation is only two years. Note a recent example.

In February 2016 Charlie Alliston, then eighteen, was riding a fast, lightweight, track bike that could not be taken on the road legally as it did not have a front brake. He was also riding at high velocity whilst swearing at pedestrians, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Alliston then hit Kim Briggs, forty-four, as she crossed Old Street in east London. The mother of two was taken to hospital for surgery, but passed on a few days later from serious head injuries.

The perpetrator was convicted of wanton and furious driving via nineteenth century legislation as there was no relevant, modern, offence. He was then sent to prison for eighteen months so got a shorter sentence than a comparable motorist might expect. Judge Wendy Joseph, QC, claimed that he showed not “one iota of remorse”.

  Killer Cyclists to Face Same Penalties as Drivers

Widow champions new legislation

Matt Briggs, Kim’s widow, supports the Government’s proposals and wants the public to engage with the consultation. He said: “I welcome the proposals for new legislation around causing death, and serious injury, by dangerous and careless cycling. The consultation is an important step towards updating the arcane laws that are currently being used to prosecute cycling offences”, he emphasised.