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Calls for cycling law change after rise in convictions under Victorian law

Calls for cycling law change after rise in convictions under Victorian law

Calls for cycling law change after rise in convictions under Victorian law

The widower of a woman who was fatally struck by a cyclist has urged the Government to make changing cycling laws “a priority” after new figures revealed a rise in convictions under 19th century legislation.

Matthew Briggs, whose wife Kim was killed following a collision with an Olympic style bike said the offence of causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving was “hopelessly out of date” after it emerged the number of convictions under the 1861 law doubled in 2016.

In response, the Government has agreed to carry out an “urgent” review of laws covering reckless cycling after a spate of road incidents involving bikes. Ministers announced the probe will consider whether dangerous driving laws that currently apply only to people in motorised vehicles should be extended to cyclists.

Jesse Norman, the transport minister, said other changes to make roads safer for cyclists and those around them will also be considered at the same time.

The announcement by the Government follows several high-profile incidents involving cyclists, including the death of Kim Briggs, a 44-year-old mother of two, who was killed in central London last year by Charlie Alliston who was riding a bike without front brakes.

Last month, Charlie Alliston, 20, was found guilty of causing her death and was later jailed for 18 months.

During the trial into the death of Mrs Briggs, prosecutors found that there are currently no charges that apply specifically to cyclists who cause death or injury. They found themselves having to rely on an 1861 law that was designed to cover offences by drivers of horse-drawn carriages.

Ministry of Justice (“MOJ”)figures reveal there were eight convictions for causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving in 2016 – up from four in 2015 and three in 2014.

Dangerous cycling convictions rose to 26 in 2016, compared with 23 in 2015 and 24 in 2014.

There were also 63 convictions for careless or inconsiderate cycling, compared with 85 in 2015 and 96 in 2014.

The figures relating to the number of convictions in 2017 are to be released in May 2017.

It’s great that cycling has become so popular in recent years but we need to make sure that our road safety rules keep pace with this change.

The Government review will be conducted in two phases. The first, which is expected to conclude in 2018, will assess the case for creating new criminal offenses for causing death or injury by careless or dangerous cycling. The second phase will then look at wider issues involving road safety and cycling, including ways to make highways safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

Whilst we await the Governments response, Cromptons Solicitors continue to assist those who have been involved in accidents involving motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.

To discuss a claim, book a free telephone consultation by calling our team on 01204 589009

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