Death by dangerous cycling set to become offence

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By Kate Whannel
Political reporter

Causing death or serious injury by dangerous or careless cycling is set to become an offence, after the government agreed to a change in the law.

Under the change, dangerous cyclists could face up to 14 years in prison.

It followed campaigning by Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith who said cyclists should be accountable for reckless behaviour.

The former Conservative leader had proposed an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Sir Iain said his proposal was not “anti-cycling”.

“Quite the opposite, it’s about making sure this takes place in a safe and reasonable manner.”

He raised the case of Matthew Briggs, whose wife died from head injuries following a collision with a cyclist in London in 2016.

Sir Iain told MPs that Mr Briggs’ attempt to get a cyclist prosecuted “involved a legal process that was so convoluted and difficult” even the presiding judge raised concerns and said the laws “needed to be addressed”.

His proposed amendment creates an offence of causing death or serious injury by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate cycling.

He said it would “achieve equal accountability” adding: “Just as drivers are held accountable for dangerous driving that results in death, cyclists I think should face similar consequences for reckless behaviour that leads to fatalities.”

Backing the change, Transport Secretary Mark Harper, said: “Most cyclists, like most drivers, are responsible and considerate.

“But it’s only right that the tiny minority who recklessly disregard others face the full weight of the law for doing so.”

Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, Duncan Dollimore from Cycling UK said he had “massive compassion” for people who had lost family members in collisions but that he did not believe there was a “huge gap” in the law.

He said incidents were rare but that cyclists who had caused deaths had been charged, convicted and sent to prison.

‘Cuckooing’

During debate of the Criminal Justice Bill, the government also confirmed it was accepting a number of other amendments from backbench MPs including one that strips child rapists of their parental rights.

Labour MP Harriet Harman proposed the change after a BBC report of a mother who spent £30,000 trying to prevent the father of her child, a convicted paedophile, from having access to their daughter.

Home Office Minister Laura Farris confirmed the government would also accept an amendment introducing tougher sentences for people who sexually abuse dead people.

The proposal was brought forward by Conservative MPs Greg Clark and Dame Tracey Crouch – who represent constituencies in the area where David Fuller worked.

Between 2007 and 2020, Fuller abused the bodies of more than 100 women and girls in Kent hospitals.

Ministers also agreed to calls to create a criminal offence for the practice known as “cuckooing” where a person takes over a vulnerable person’s home for illicit purposes.

MPs will continue to debate the Criminal Justice Bill, after which it will head to the House of Lords.

13 September 20234 April24 August 2017

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