Theresa May hints law could change so cyclists can be prosecuted for dangerous driving

Killing of Kim Briggs by a cyclist riding without front brakes prompts demand for change

Benjamin Kentish
Wednesday 06 September 2017 16:56
Theresa May: Law could be changed so cyclists can be prosecuted for dangerous driving

Theresa May has hinted that laws on dangerous driving will be updated to include cyclists after a woman was killed by a man riding a track bike without front brakes.

Kim Briggs, a 44-year-old mother or two, was hit as she crossed a central London road in February 2016. Last month, the cyclist, Charlie Alliston, 20, was convicted of causing bodily harm.

Because laws on dangerous or careless driving only apply to people in motorised vehicles, prosecutors had to rely on an 1861 law on “wanton and furious driving” that was designed to cover offences by drivers of horse-drawn carriages.

The issue was raised at Prime Minister’s Questions by Heidi Alexander, the MP for Lewisham East, where Ms Briggs lived.

Ms Alexander said the law should be extended to include offences by cyclists, describing the current laws as “hopelessly outdated and wholly inadequate”.

Ms May replied: “We should welcome the fact that the prosecution were able to find legislation under which they were able to take a prosecution.

“But the point she makes is a general one about ensuring that our legislation keeps up to date with developments that take place, and I’m sure this is an issue that the Secretary of State for Transport will look at.”

Alliston was riding a fixed-gear bike at 18mph when he collided with Ms Briggs. Witnesses said he had shouted at her as she lay on the ground injured. Ms Briggs, an HR consultant who was on her lunch break at the time of the incident, suffered severe brain injuries and died in hospital a week later.

It is illegal to ride a bike on the roads without a working front brake. Investigators concluded that Alliston, who was 18 at the time of the incident, would have been able to stop had the bike been roadworthy.

He was cleared of the more serious charge of manslaughter. Sentencing will take place on 18 September.

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