Widower of pedestrian killed by cyclist vows to bring change in law

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The widower of a woman knocked down and killed by a rider on a fixed-gear bike has vowed to bring about a change in the law to make it easier to prosecute cyclists who injure or kill pedestrians.

Matthew Briggs' wife Kim, 44, died after colliding with Charlie Alliston as she crossed a busy roundabout in London in February last year.

Alliston, 20, was riding a fixed-gear bike with no front brake, designed for a racing track, and was convicted of causing Mrs Briggs' death last month.

Charlie Alliston
Charlie Alliston, 20, was convicted of causing Mrs Briggs' death last month (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Dangerous driving laws only apply to mechanically propelled vehicles, meaning Alliston was prosecuted under a little-used 150-year-old law of causing bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving".

This carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment, compared with 14 years for death by dangerous driving.

Alliston was cleared of a more serious charge of manslaughter.

Matthew Briggs
Matthew Briggs has vowed to bring about a change in the law to make it easier to prosecute cyclists who injure or kill pedestrians (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Mr Briggs met with Transport minister Jesse Norman to discuss updating the law to make it easier to prosecute cyclists for riding dangerously.

Speaking to Press Association, Mr Briggs said: "I really, really don't want Kim to be seen just through the lens of this trial. She was just a fabulous person. If she was sat here now, she would have you laughing.

"This is my mission - if you can bring something positive out of something so negative then I will have done my job.

Charlie Alliston
Mr Alliston was found guilty of causing bodily harm by "wanton or furious driving", which carries a carries a maximum penalty of two years' imprisonment (Nick Ansell/PA)

"She was a pretty tough lady - she was a Glaswegian woman and she kept us all in check. I've got her persistence and her politeness and I will keep knocking on the door.

"The law is hopelessly outdated. There's an enormous gap in the law between this inadequate 1861 law and manslaughter. So what I'm calling for is that cycling be included in the dangerous driving act.

"My pure focus is on getting cycling incorporated into the death by dangerous or death by careless driving laws.

"It means that where there is illegal wrongdoing, there is a law that can deal with it. So in my wife's case, there was no law that could adequately deal with it, because this will happen again.

"This will inevitably happen again because more and more people are cycling and that's great. I'm not anti-cycling and I will keep saying that because I cycle myself, but it's just about making sure that where there is illegal wrongdoing, there's a law that can deal with it and there's a clear and understood framework."

Between 2005 and 2015, some 32 pedestrians died and 820 suffered serious injuries after colliding with cyclists, according to a report by charity Cycling UK.

Separate DfT figures show that 351 pedestrians were killed after being hit by motorised vehicles in 2015 alone.