Cycling laws ‘too lenient’ rules government review
19 March, 2018
The Department for Transport last week published an independent review into current cycling laws. The review concluded that laws on cycling are ‘too lenient’ and need to be brought in line with other driving offences.
Death by dangerous driving currently carries a maximum sentence of 14 years - something that the government is looking at increasing to a life sentence. This law as it stands only applies to ‘mechanical vehicles’, which means that bicycles are not included.
Yet bikes can still be deadly, as was seen in the case of Kim Briggs last year. Mrs Briggs was crossing a road when a courier riding an illegally modified bike with no brakes hit and killed her.
Due to the law being as it is, the cyclist Charlie Alliston could not be tried for death by dangerous driving. Instead he was tried under the only law available, which was an old offence of ‘wanton and furious driving’ from 1861, originally used to prosecute horse-drawn carriage drivers. This carries a maximum sentence of two years, with Alliston receiving 18 months.
Campaigners urge action
Since her death, Kim’s family have campaigned for a change in cycling laws, and they have welcomed the findings of the independent review, with her widower Matt Briggs urging ministers to follow its advice.
Yet, despite the controversy and media coverage that surrounded Kim Brigg’s death, Cycling UK have criticised the government report. They argue that there is no need for changes to the law, as the number of collisions caused by cyclists remains very low in comparison to those caused by cars.
But why should this be a reason to not introduce it? Just because the numbers are low doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a law in place to punish those, such as Charlie Alliston, who do cause serious accidents.
First4Lawyers support the need for new cycling laws, we discussed this previously in the wake of Alliston’s trial, and we still firmly believe that the current laws are outdated and do not account for the increasing numbers of cyclists on our roads. We hope that the findings of the report are listened to, and new laws are now created to bring cycling in line with other driving offences. Read the original article