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MPs to consider 'death by dangerous cycling' offence

Mother-of-two Kim Briggs was killed after a cyclist crashed into her as she crossed a road. Credit: PA

Cyclists could be convicted of causing death by careless or dangerous cycling under a new offence being considered by ministers.

It comes after a cyclist who knocked over and killed a pedestrian was convicted using a Victorian law originally drafted to deal with reckless handling of horses because there is no cycling equivalent in the law for causing death by dangerous driving.

Charlie Alliston, 20, was jailed for 18 months after he ploughed into mother-of-two Kim Briggs on a bike with no front brakes as she crossed a road in east London in February last year.

Alliston was cleared of manslaughter but found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton and furious driving", a crime under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

Charlie Alliston was jailed for 18 months after he ploughed into and killed Kim Briggs. Credit: PA

Causing death by dangerous driving can be punished by up to 14 years in jail, but it was not immediately clear what maximum sentence ministers envisage for any new cycling offence.

Reacting to the decision of ministers to review the law, Mrs Briggs' widower, Matthew, said: "I fully welcome it and am grateful to the government for acting so swiftly, and am looking forward to helping the review in any way I can and getting these laws on the statute book.

"Kim was by no means the first person this has happened to, but I think what Kim's case has done is highlighted a huge gap in the law between one from 1861 at one end and manslaughter at the other end."

Kim Briggs' widower, Matthew, has called for tougher laws on dangerous cycling. Credit: PA

The review is likely to spark anger among cyclists, who point out that more than 100 bike users are killed and 3,000 seriously injured on British roads each year, compared with two pedestrians killed and 96 seriously injured when hit by a bicycle in 2015.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: "Although the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, we are always looking to make them safer.

"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.

"We already have strict laws that ensure that drivers who put people's lives at risk are punished but, given recent cases, it is only right for us to look at whether dangerous cyclists should face the same consequences.

"We've seen the devastation that reckless cycling and driving can cause, and this review will help safeguard both Britain's cyclists and those who share the roads with them."

Charlie Alliston's fixed wheel-track bicycle had no front brakes.

The review is due to report conclusions on the proposed new offence in the New Year, based on independent legal advice.

A second phase will then involve a wider consultation on how road safety can be improved for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. It will consider the rules of the road, public awareness, guidance and signage and will take evidence from a range of road safety and cycling organisations, as well as the general public.

Since the Government trebled spending on cycling between 2010 and 2017, there has been a huge increase in the number of bicycles on British roads.

Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said the review should focus on "evidenced ways that keep our most vulnerable road users safe, by addressing risks such as dangerous roads, drivers and vehicles".

Mr Tuohy added: "The proposed review of cycling offences needs to be carried out as part of the Government's promised wider review of all road traffic offences and sentencing.

"This will ensure the justice system can deal with mistakes, carelessness, recklessness and deliberately dangerous behaviour by all road users."