Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Husband of pedestrian killed by cyclist claims government "utterly cowed by the cycling lobby", makes renewed call for death by dangerous cycling law

Last month the government said it is working on legislation, although the Department for Transport has admitted to campaigners there may not be enough parliamentary time to pass the law before the next general election

Matthew Briggs, whose wife Kim was hit and killed by a cyclist in London in 2016 and has been campaigning for a law on dangerous cycling to be brought in line with those for motorists, has once again made a renewed call for a 'death by dangerous cycling law', suggesting that the only reason such legislation has not already been passed is due to the government being "utterly cowed by the cycling lobby".

The comments came during a segment on Talk TV this morning, Briggs retelling the story of Kim being killed in a collision with Charlie Alliston who was riding a bicycle with no front brake, the cyclist jailed in 2017 for 18 months under the 1861 offence of causing bodily harm through wanton or furious driving.

 "Cycling does not carry anything like the same penalty," he said, comparing to dangerous driving laws. "There are no laws about causing serious injury or death by illegal or dangerous or careless cycling. I've been campaigning since 2017, every single government minister has been supportive, a legal review has been done which said this law is needed, I believe this law is written, it has the most extraordinary cross-party support, it has enormous support, support across the media, and yet somehow, for some reason, this is not being done.

"Last year twice Grant Shapps said this law would be passed. Mark Spencer, who was then the Leader of the House, backed this up by saying legislative time is going to be made to pass this law, but still nothing has happened. I can only conclude, that despite the protestations of the Prime Minister, this government is utterly cowed by the cycling lobby.

"There are various cycling lobby groups who for some reason do not think that this is the priority. I was told many years ago when I started this that we need more infrastructure, we need more investment in cycling. Well, that's great, I cycle in London all the time... that's been done now and then some.

"So, my only conclusion is that the government has been cowed by various elements of the cycling lobby. Enough is enough. Since Kim was tragically killed there have been four similar incidents where people have had to go through the same complex legal process, it took 18 months for my wife's case to come to trial because it was so complicated by this law and injuries are up 15 per cent.

"More and more people cycling, that's fantastic, but there's a concomitant increase in the number of people being injured and there is no law to deal with this."

Kim Briggs (picture via Metropolitan Police Service).PNG

[Kim Briggs — Metropolitan Police]

Mr Briggs' comments come almost exactly a month since cycling and walking charities and campaign groups argued that, far from being cowed by the cycling lobby, Rishi Sunak and his government's 'Plan for Motorists', a party conference-announced headline transport policy to end the so-called "war on motorists", would "rob people of choice" and force people away from cycling and walking.

Last month too, Justice Minister Edward Argar told Parliament that the government is continuing to consider legislation to tackle "dangerous cycling", as current laws are "old" and "difficult to successfully prosecute offences".

"The safety of our roads is a key objective for the government. Protecting all road users is a priority," he said. "Like all road users, cyclists have a duty to behave in a safe and responsible manner. While laws are in place for cyclists, the current laws are old and it can be difficult to successfully prosecute offences.

"That's why DfT colleagues are considering bringing forward legislation to introduce new offences concerning dangerous cycling to tackle those rare instances where victims have been killed or seriously injured by irresponsible cycling behaviour."

> "Where is the effort being put into dangerous driving which kills, maims and destroys lives?": All the reaction to government plan to introduce death by dangerous cycling law

However, it has been suggested that such legislation may not be introduced before the next general election, due by January 2025, due to a lack of parliamentary time.

It was reported in June that the Department for Transport had told campaigners it will struggle to be passed before the next election, a delay Mr Briggs was aware of when he told the press he was left "deeply disappointed" by a meeting with Roads Minister Richard Holden in the early summer.

At the time, Mr Briggs said the government had "become cowed by the militant fringes of the cycling lobby", comments to the effect of those heard again this morning.

"Or were Mr Shapps' announcements last year simply an act of political opportunism?" he asked at the time. "At the heart of this are grieving families calling for a very straightforward legal change which the government's own advisers recommended nearly seven years ago."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

Add new comment

45 comments

Avatar
OldRidgeback | 5 months ago
4 likes

Maybe the angry husband should take a look around and see how many cases there in the UK like the one I've attached so he can get some perspective...

https://road.cc/content/news/speeding-drug-driver-avoids-jail-killing-cy...

 

Avatar
Steve K | 5 months ago
6 likes

Can someone show this story to Mr Briggs and ask if he still thinks cyclists should receive the same punishment as motorists?

https://road.cc/content/news/speeding-drug-driver-avoids-jail-killing-cy...

Avatar
Carior replied to Steve K | 5 months ago
4 likes

Ah but as the TalkTV snapshot says, we don't get as serious punishment.

Whilst want happened to Kim Briggs and the impact on this man's life is horrible, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, the guy is also an absolute tosser.  I immediately thought of that headline reading this story - ride a bike under badly and hit someone that steps out in front of you, 18 months, get pissed, stoned and speed and kill someone - nah you're alright mate.

The idea that cyclists get softer punishments is just daft - this guy has a problem with nomenclature, that's all.  I suspect that actually having a death by dangerous cycling rule would make punishments lighter, we have years of precedent that says you have to do something truly horrific to go to prison for killing someone in a car which would immediately become exceedingly easy to apply in parallel to a cyclist.

Avatar
redimp | 5 months ago
9 likes

Perhaps he should campaign against phone use by pedestrians at pedestrian crossings

Avatar
Brauchsel | 5 months ago
8 likes

"There are various cycling lobby groups who for some reason do not think that this is the priority."

"Since Kim was tragically killed [seven years ago] there have been four similar incidents"

Look at the numbers of people tragically killed by motorists in the same period, and you'll find the "some reason" it shouldn't be a priority  

 

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Brauchsel | 5 months ago
3 likes

Time for this one again?  A graphic illustration of the tragic impact of cyclists on pedestrians across the country, from 2015.

(ah - doesn't seem to like animated gifs... go to the site then)

(From Robert Wheetman's site)

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
5 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Time for this one again?  A graphic illustration of the tragic impact of cyclists on pedestrians across the country, from 2015.

(ah - doesn't seem to like animated gifs... go to the site then)

(From Robert Wheetman's site)

//robertweetman.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/justoneyear2015sth.jpeg)

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago
1 like

Yep - but my one with just the ones involving cyclists is obviously what we should be worried about.  Or at least be spending at least as much resources on because every death is a tragedy...

Avatar
marmotte27 | 5 months ago
4 likes

"I cycle in London all the time...  that's been done now and then some"

I don't know in which London he cycles, but it cannot have been the same where I spent the last few days, and where I didnt' see any real cycling infrastructure at all.

Avatar
Brauchsel replied to marmotte27 | 5 months ago
0 likes

Don't be daft, there's absolutely loads. Not all of it brilliant, but plenty of it is pretty good: separated from traffic/pedestrians, well-signposted and takes you directly where you want to go. 

Avatar
marmotte27 replied to Brauchsel | 5 months ago
4 likes

Paint is not infrastructure.

Avatar
Brauchsel replied to marmotte27 | 5 months ago
1 like

Rendell has pointed out below that there is lots of infrastructure. I don't know in which London you spent the last few days, but in the one I live and cycle in it's generally pretty good and fairly rapidly improving where it's not. 

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Brauchsel | 5 months ago
0 likes

I don't know London but isn't it the case that there is "loads" (some of it is very good by UK standards) but that's extremely unevenly distributed* across a giant city?

* I hear that areas like Hackney may have more, Waltham Forest is improving, but e.g. the Burra of Ken and Chelsey want none of it.

Avatar
ceebee247 replied to marmotte27 | 5 months ago
4 likes

I cycle from South East London to the City every day - there is bugger all infrastructure until you reach Peckham which starts to appear in fits and bursts with little forward planning or overall thought. Some is downright dangerous to use and other bits completely pointless.

I'm sorry for his lost but frankly how many cyclists have been killed since then and hardly a mumur from anybody in power or the media, so our cycling lobby really doesnt have any clout with anybody in power to do anything.

 

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to ceebee247 | 5 months ago
2 likes
ceebee247 wrote:

I cycle from South East London to the City every day - there is bugger all infrastructure until you reach Peckham which starts to appear in fits and bursts with little forward planning or overall thought.

I live in Peckham, I can get from here to the City (roughly 5 miles) riding only about half a mile on quiet backstreets: Surrey Canal path, Burgess Park, half a mile through aforementioned quiet backstreets to the new cycle path on the Old Kent Road to Elephant then the Blackfriars Bridge Road cycle path straight up and into the City. Alternatively swing down through Southwark Park and get on the fabulous new Cycleway 4 and ride up to London Bridge that way all on segregated lanes.

Avatar
Carior replied to marmotte27 | 5 months ago
1 like

Waterloo Station without getting of your bike is a crap shoot - unpleasant on the roundabout (eurgh but ok I'll survive) - Waterloo Bridge - good, but the whole area round Aldgate is horrific - nearly got taken out today at the Aldgate/Kingsway lights by someone bombing to get through them behind me - it was only because I happened to glance back that I saw him flying through on the narrow exit to the junction and weaving a couple of metres down Kingsway! 

His driving was about as bad as the beer brand he worked for (Molson Coors/Carling)

Avatar
bikes | 5 months ago
3 likes

"that's been done now and then some." He believes we've over-invested in infrastructure?

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 5 months ago
12 likes

'Mr Briggs said the government had "become cowed by the militant fringes of the cycling lobby", 

I wish he would name, names. So I could join said fringe. 

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 5 months ago
8 likes
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

'Mr Briggs said the government had "become cowed by the militant fringes of the cycling lobby", 

I wish he would name, names. So I could join said fringe. 

 

cycling UK and the Illuminati are one and the same.. shh

Avatar
brooksby replied to wycombewheeler | 5 months ago
3 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

'Mr Briggs said the government had "become cowed by the militant fringes of the cycling lobby", 

I wish he would name, names. So I could join said fringe. 

cycling UK and the Illuminati are one and the same.. shh

Really?  I'll have to cancel my membership or else the Discordian Popes will have my head  3

Avatar
Backladder replied to wycombewheeler | 5 months ago
7 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

 

cycling UK and the Illuminati are one and the same.. shh

I wish I'd known, where do I claim back the money for the second set of membership fees?

Avatar
cmedred | 5 months ago
12 likes

The poor man. We should all feel sympathy for him. He is blinded by grief. If not, he'd recognize that if a motorist had hit his wife the sentence would likely have been suspended if the government in fact decided to prosecute a motorist who hit someone who stepped into the road while looking at her phone. 

Avatar
eburtthebike replied to cmedred | 5 months ago
3 likes
cmedred wrote:

..... if a motorist had hit his wife the sentence would likely have been suspended if the government in fact decided to prosecute a motorist who hit someone who stepped into the road while looking at her phone. 

She wasn't looking at her phone, Alliston made that up.

Avatar
brooksby replied to eburtthebike | 5 months ago
3 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
cmedred wrote:

..... if a motorist had hit his wife the sentence would likely have been suspended if the government in fact decided to prosecute a motorist who hit someone who stepped into the road while looking at her phone. 

She wasn't looking at her phone, Alliston made that up.

Playing devil's advocate but shouldn't it be, "Alliston was confused"?

Anyhoo - IIRC wasn't part of the problem that she did that whole forwards/backwards/left/right shuffle that people do when they are unclear about what to do...  Moved forward so Alliston went to go behind her, then she leapt backwards, or some such.

Avatar
wycombewheeler replied to eburtthebike | 5 months ago
10 likes
eburtthebike wrote:
cmedred wrote:

..... if a motorist had hit his wife the sentence would likely have been suspended if the government in fact decided to prosecute a motorist who hit someone who stepped into the road while looking at her phone. 

She wasn't looking at her phone, Alliston made that up.

The phone claim was untrue, but she did step into the road without looking and then stepped back into his path after he tried to go around behind her. She was also not wearing a helmet, depite walking being as risky per km as cycling.

I'd like any journalist facing this guy have the facts on

a) how many pedestrians are killed by drivers each year.

b) how many of those drivers are convicted

c) how may of those convictions result in a sentance which exceeds what the alliston recieved.

because with 1800 road deaths a year, if drivers were getting stiffer sentances than Alliston there would be at least 3600 drivers in prison at any time. I haven't seen the numbers but I doubt this is the reason why prisons are full.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to wycombewheeler | 5 months ago
7 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

The phone claim was untrue, but she did step into the road without looking and then stepped back into his path after he tried to go around behind her.

Wasn't it more a question of unproven than untrue? I don't think the prosecution disputed that her phone was in her hand at the time; there wasn't much debate about it in court because nobody claimed that she didn't step out in front of Alliston as he was riding along the street, the entire case, charge and conviction was based on his lack of front brake. Had he been riding a legal bike then the issue of to what degree Mrs Biggs shared responsibility for the incident would have been much more strenuously investigated and debated (one would hope);

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
5 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

Wasn't it more a question of unproven than untrue? I don't think the prosecution disputed that her phone was in her hand at the time; there wasn't much debate about it in court because nobody claimed that she didn't step out in front of Alliston as he was riding along the street, the entire case, charge and conviction was based on his lack of front brake. Had he been riding a legal bike then the issue of to what degree Mrs Biggs shared responsibility for the incident would have been much more strenuously investigated and debated (one would hope);

There's one crucial aspect of that case that the judge refers to in their sentencing remarks. Alliston on first seeing Briggs, started to slow down (and IIRC shouted at her to get out of his way), but then he decided to instead head for the gap. It was while he was heading for the gap, that Briggs reacted to the shout and stepped back into his path. The judge interpreted that as Alliston not doing everything he could to avoid the collision - if he'd continued reducing speed then the collision might well have ended up differently.

It's an important lesson that it doesn't matter about priorities, but road users are expected to make all possible efforts to avoid collisions. Similarly, in Brushett v Hazeldean (https://road.cc/content/blog/264304-cycling-and-law-why-cyclist-being-successfully-sued-colliding-pedestrian) the cyclist made an error in not doing everything he could to avoid the pedestrian, but his biggest mistake was not getting legal advice and thus he ended up with huge, avoidable costs.

Avatar
David9694 | 5 months ago
12 likes

Still waiting for the moment our Mr B hears about cars. It's going to be massive. 

Avatar
Matthew Acton-Varian | 5 months ago
22 likes

Oh, yes, because one of the smallest traffic demographics in the country totally have absolute power over Government policy, pumping billions into Tory donorship to avoid paying taxe... Oh, sorry, that was the Oil industry, whose biggest travel consumer market is... CARS? Who knew?

What a load of twaddle. Every other demographic expects the population to distinguish the actions of a careless individual from those of the rest of said demographic. Yet cycling doesn't receive that.

Avatar
Carior replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 5 months ago
1 like

No, I suspect you'll find that its mainly straight, white and British (and more so male) that are as a matter of default distinguished from those who bring their demographic into disrepute.  There is more than enough evidence that it doesn't apply to minorities.  Based on current news we can look at the baffling ability of two met police offices to smell marijuana in a different moving car that just so happened to be driven by someone that fit their demographic of a dangerous pot-head and not a man driving home from training with his partner and child.

Pages

Latest Comments