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Family of pensioner killed in pavement collision with cyclist on "electric bicycle" call for tougher laws to punish riders who kill or cause serious injuries

The Department for Transport replied saying there are "already strict laws in place for cyclists", as West Midlands Police confirms bike seized and cyclist "assisting with our enquiries"...

The bereaved relatives of a pensioner who died in hospital having been struck on a footpath near his Birmingham home by a "cyclist" riding an "electric bike" have called on the government to pass stricter laws for "cyclists who break the law and kill or seriously injure", as they argue the "current laws offer no deterrent or effective punishment".

John Douglas' family spoke to the Telegraph newspaper about the incident, which happened in the Chelmsley Wood area of Birmingham, near the 75-year-old's home, in November of last year. Details remain limited, West Midlands Police saying the force was only made aware of the collision after it was "reported to us some days after by a relative".

The police force said "the cyclist has been spoken to by officers and is assisting with our enquiries", and a bicycle seized. West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed it had responded to a "collision involving a pedestrian and [the rider of] an electric bike".

The pensioner suffered 15 broken ribs, two broken collarbones, and a broken ankle in the collision and was taken to hospital where he spent four weeks in an induced coma. Following a few weeks in intensive care Mr Douglas developed pneumonia and died on New Year's Day.

Even with the emergency service accounts, the newspaper admitted it remains unclear whether the cyclist involved was riding an e-bike or conventional pedal cycle, although it is now in the police's possession as part of further enquiries.

Mr Douglas' family has argued the law does not offer a "deterrent or effective punishment" for cyclists "who break the law and kill or seriously injure", a case heard multiple times in recent years from campaigners.

In September, Justice Minister Edward Argar insisted the Department for Transport is still considering a new "dangerous cycling" law to "tackle those rare instances where victims have been killed or seriously injured by irresponsible cycling behaviour".

However, reports have suggested the government would struggle to pass such legislation — proposed by then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in August 2022 —before the next general election, which is expected to be called later this year.

Following those reports, 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 since, accused the government of being "utterly cowed by the cycling lobby".

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

Now, Mr Douglas' family too have joined the campaign for legislation to punish cyclists who kill or cause serious injuries through dangerous riding. Currently, a cyclist who kills while riding recklessly can be jailed for a maximum of two years under the 1861 wanton or furious driving law.

The pedestrian's nephew, Christopher Bushell, said: "My uncle's life was cut short needlessly by someone cycling on the pavement at speed. The current laws offer no deterrent or effective punishment for cyclists who break the law and kill or seriously injure.

"We were told that my uncle's injuries were consistent with someone having been hit by a car travelling at speed. So far no one has been charged let alone arrested. But, now my uncle has died, the nature of any offence that caused that collision has become more serious which we hope means the police will act. But, I fear no one will be held to account."

Wayne Jones, whose mother was in a long-term relationship with Mr Douglas, added: "The cyclist should not have been on the pavement – it's illegal. I don't understand how no one has been charged."

A Department for Transport spokesperson responded to the calls for tougher legislation by stating "there are already strict laws in place for cyclists and police have the power to prosecute if these are broken" as "dangerous cycling puts lives at risk and is completely unacceptable".

West Midlands Police commented on the incident: "The cyclist has been spoken to by officers and is assisting with our enquiries. We were not made aware of the incident until it was reported to us some days after by a relative."

Several campaigners, often bereaved family members of people killed, have spoken out in recent months, the husband of Diana Walker, 77, who was hit and killed in a collision involving a cyclist in 2016, saying they are "fed up".

"All we are asking is that if a cyclist causes a pedestrian's death it should be treated in the same way as any other road accident with commensurate legislation," he said.

Another bereaved relative, Christine Berridge, said she feels "terribly let down" by ministers' apparent support for legislation but subsequent lack of action.

"These ministers have been promising to change the laws and nothing has happened. More people will have to die until something actually happens," she said last summer.

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.

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