KILLER cyclists could face harsher sentences after the Transport Secretary vowed to crackdown on road safety.
Grant Shapps wants cyclists to face the same punishments as motorists with a new “death by dangerous cycling” law.
His suggested rule change aims to end an “archaic” legal loophole which currently means bike-riders can only be jailed for a maximum of two years for killing a pedestrian.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Shapps said that grieving families of victims “have waited too long for this straightforward measure” to punish aggressive riders.
He said the proposal would target a “selfish minority” of reckless cyclists, but could also “impress on cyclists the real harm they can cause when speed is combined with lack of care”.
In comparison, “death by dangerous driving” can land a motorist a maximum of 14 years in prison for offences before June 28 this year or a life sentence for those offences after the law change.
Stricter sentences have been demanded since the tragic death of Kim Briggs, a mum-of-two who was killed by a reckless teenage cyclist on a banned bike without brakes.
The 44-year-old passed away in 2016 after suffering head injuries from when Charlie Alliston, 20, crashed into her in Old Street, London, on her lunch break.
But Alliston was only sentenced to 18 months behind bars after a judge cleared him of manslaughter and found him guilty of “wanton and furious driving”.
The second law, which Shapps called “archaic”, was designed back in 1861 for horse-drawn carriage collisions – not 18-year-olds riding for “thrills” like a stuntman.
The Transport Secretary pointed out how victims’ families who want to prosecute a killer cyclist face a dilemma between a “legal relic of the horse-drawn era or … manslaughter, a draconian option”.
The law would also bring justice to the families of pedestrians killed in more recent years by zooming cyclists.
Two years ago a 72-year-old man was struck down in Tower Hamlets in a bike hit-and-run leaving him with fatal head injuries.
Shapps also drew attention to cyclists who think they are above road laws, for example, those who skip over red lights.
“We need to crack down on this disregard for road safety,” he said.
The minister then raised the importance of creating safe cycling habits as an alternative commuting option amid rising fuel prices.
He wrote: “As we move into an era of sustained mass cycling, a thoroughly good thing, we must bring home to cyclists – too often themselves the victims of careless or reckless motoring – that the obligation to put safety first applies equally to every road user. There can be no exceptions.”
The Transport Secretary made the proposal for the new law of causing death by dangerous cycling to be included in the Transport Bill, due before Parliament in the autumn.
Source: The Sun