Matt Briggs finally sees through law change around dangerous cycling | Fieldfisher
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Matt Briggs finally sees through law change around dangerous cycling

The whole team sends its congratulations to our former client who was in Parliament last night to see MPs vote in favour of a monumental change to laws on prison sentences for dangerous cyclists.

Matt has been campaigning for eight years after his wife Kim was killed by a teenager on a fixed gear bike with no front brakes who was given an 18 month sentence. Under the new amendment, cyclists who cause death by dangerous cycling could face up to 14 years in prison.

Government backing of higher sentences is a testimony to Matt's dogged determination. He has fought tirelessly to ensure safer streets for all road users in memory of his wife and on behalf of their two children. 

We have supported Matt with his campaign since the verdict in the high-profile trial in August 2017 when the cyclist who killed his wife was found not guilty of manslaughter. Our personal injury team continues to encourage cyclists to consider adequate insurance to support safety on the roads for everyone. 

Matt thanked Fieldfisher for its support as the law he has been fighting for is entered into the Criminal Justice Bill, currently making its way through Parliament. 

Currently dangerous cyclists can only be jailed for up to two years, under Victorian laws designed to deal with horses. The cyclist who killed Kim, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of "wanton or furious driving" using the 1861 Offences Against The Person Act. 

Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who put forward the amendment, said the need is "urgent" and paid tribute to Matt. 

"He attempted to get a cyclist prosecuted after his wife was killed in central London in 2016 involved a legal process that was so convoluted and difficult even the presiding judge has said afterwards, since she's retired, that this made a mockery and therefore it needed to be addressed, that the laws do not cover what happened to his wife and is happening to lots of other people," said Sir Iain. 

The change will see three new offences, including "causing death by dangerous cycling", "causing serious injury by dangerous cycling" and "causing death by careless or inconsiderate cycling". 

Under the proposed changes, cyclists will be required to ensure their vehicle "is equipped and maintained" in a legal way, which includes keeping brakes in working order. 

Sir Iain added: "This is not, as is often accused by people who say anything about it, anti-cycling. Quite the opposite, it's about making sure this takes place in a safe and reasonable manner."

The amendment will apply to incidents involving pedal cycles, e-bikes, e-scooters and e-unicycles and will help to ensure an accountability for reckless drivers of these vehicles that is equal to motorists. 

It has been backed by the Transport Secretary Mark Harper who said that the "tiny minority who recklessly disregard others must face the full weight of the law". He added that the legislation will help to protect "law-abiding cyclists, pedestrians and other road users, whilst ensuring justice is done."

National statistics show that more pedestrians are being involved in collisions with cyclists than ever before. Figures from the Department for Transport (DfT) showed that 531 people were involved in incidents with cyclists in 2021 – 15 per cent up on 2016 and the highest since recording collisions involving bike riders was introduced in 2013. Of those involved in collisions, three were killed and 120 seriously injured.

Clearly the law will continue to distinguish between serious injury and fatalities that are a result of terrible accidents and those caused by the reckless culpability of cyclists putting other road users at risk. 

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