Kim Briggs' widower welcomes 'death by dangerous cycling' law review

20 September 2017, 22:26

The widower of a mother-of-two who was knocked over and killed has welcomed the announcement of a Government review into dangerous cycling.

The Government has said it will conduct an urgent review into whether cyclists who put lives at risk should be subject to laws equivalent to those applied to drivers.

Ministers will look at creating a new offence for cyclists comparable to causing death or serious injury by careless or dangerous driving.

It follows the high-profile death of mother-of-two Kim Briggs, 44, who was knocked over and killed by cyclist Charlie Alliston, 20, in east London last year.

Alliston, whose fixed-wheel track bike had no front brakes, was cleared of manslaughter but sentenced to 18 months in a young offenders' institution after being found guilty of bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving" - an obscure 19th century offence.

Mrs Briggs' widower Matthew said the case highlighted a "large gap" in the law.

"I'm very grateful to the Government that they've been so swift and so responsive in calling for this urgent review," Mr Briggs told Sky News.

"What we're calling for is for laws of causing death and serious injury by dangerous cycling and careless cycling - much the same as they are for drivers for other vehicles."

In 2015, two pedestrians were killed and 96 seriously injured after being hit by a bicycle, while every year more than 100 cyclists are killed and more than 3,000 seriously injured on British roads.

The Government's review will also consider wider improvements for cycling road safety.

Transport minister Jesse Norman told Sky News the review will be organised in two stages.

The first part will be focused by whether there is a proper remedy in law for a crime of bodily harm or death inflicted by a cyclist, as highlighted by Mrs Briggs' case.

The second will look at "wider questions that balance all interests of pedestrian, cyclists and motorists".

"We want to be sure that all the things we can do to improve cycle safety and all well-being of all road users can be wrapped up together in one review," Mr Norman said, adding the review would not discriminate against cyclists.

Mr Briggs said the campaign was not meant to be anti-cyclist, but an attempt to remedy a gap in the law.

"Kim is not the first person that has been killed in this way, " he said. "And very sadly, I don't think Kim will be the last.

"I acknowledge it's very rare. But just because something is rare doesn't mean to say there shouldn't be a remedy in law."

For him, he said, it is also a way to move forward and "do something positive out of something so negative".

"I don't want to allow anger into our house. Kim was a real fun-loving woman," he said.

The Government will take independent legal advice on the introduction of a new offence for cyclists and hopes to reach a decision early next year.

A wider review of road safety issues for cyclists will consult cycling groups and the general public.

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