Death by dangerous cycling law proposed after mother killed by bicycle courier

The Department for Transport has begun a 12-week consultation on plans to update existing road safety laws to protect pedestrians and cyclists.

The laws are being proposed by the government after 44-year-old mother-of-two Kim Briggs was knocked over and killed by a bicycle courier in February 2016.

Ms Briggs was killed by Charlie Alliston, 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”.

:: Cyclist Charlie Alliston sentenced over fatal crash

The legislation, originally drafted to deal with reckless handling of horses, was used 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.

He told Sky News: “Any working single parent will tell you it’s tough.

“But 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.”

However, the plans have been described by cycling campaigners as “tinkering around the edges” of road safety.

Cycling UK, a national charity, 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.”

The number of cases involving collisions between cyclists and pedestrians remains relatively low.

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.

The latest announcement also includes the introduction of national guidance for cycling and walking infrastructure and updating parts of the Highway Code to combat close passing of bicycles.

Cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman said: “All these measures are designed to support the continued growth of cycling and walking, with all the benefits they bring to our communities, economy, environment and society.”

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