Grant Shapps vows to punish reckless cyclists under proposed new crime

‘Death by dangerous cycling’: Grant Shapps vows to punish reckless riders under proposed new crime welcomed by widower of wife killed by speeding biker with no front brakes

  • Grant Shapps said new law will see cyclists treated the same way as motorists 
  • He told LBC he thought injuries caused by cyclists were ‘also unacceptable’
  • Kim Briggs was killed when she was knocked down by a cyclist in February 2016
  • Charlie Alliston was later convicted of a ‘furious and wanton driving’ charge 
  • Mrs Briggs’ husband had been campaigning for a new cycling charge ever since
  • He welcomed Mr Shapps’ announcement as a tiny degree of ‘something positive’
  • A man whose wife was killed by a speeding cyclist has welcomed a change in the law which would see reckless riders who cause fatal crashes prosecuted the same way as motorists

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that cyclists who kill pedestrians could face charges of ‘death by dangerous cycling’.

    It comes after Matthew Briggs campaigned for the new charge following the death of his wife Kim who was knocked down by reckless cyclist Charlie Alliston.

    Alliston was cleared of manslaughter and only convicted of a Victorian era ‘furious and wanton driving’ charge before he was jailed for 18 months. 

    Mr Shapps said he wanted to see cyclists who cause fatal crashes treated the same way as motorists.

    He told LBC: ‘There’s a change that I’m bringing in which is to make sure that we are able to prosecute cyclists who cause death by their own dangerous cycling.

    ‘It’s worth noting that I think the injuries and deaths that take place because of cyclists are also unacceptable.’ 

    Motorists currently face up to 14 years in prison if they are convicted of death by dangerous driving, while death by careless driving carries a maximum sentence of five years.

    Following Mr Shapps’ announcement, Mr Briggs said he wanted the government to follow through on this ‘important commitment’ and that he looked forward to working with them to push the law through. 








    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that cyclists who kill pedestrians could face charges of 'death by dangerous cycling'

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that cyclists who kill pedestrians could face charges of ‘death by dangerous cycling’

    Kim Briggs died a week after suffering catastrophic injuries after she was knocked down by Charlie Alliston

    Kim Briggs died a week after suffering catastrophic injuries after she was knocked down by Charlie Alliston

    Mr Briggs also said a ‘normal, civilised, democratic society’ needs law such as this ‘to be able to cope with all eventualities’.

    He added: ‘What it means to me and I think to my family as well, to my kids, is just a small, tiny degree of something positive coming out of something so tragic.

    ‘We have been through the darkest of times, as many, many other people have, and it will just give us a bit of positivity that we have achieved something through tenacity, persistence and politeness.’ 

    Mrs Briggs, a 44-year-old HR consultant, suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries when Alliston smashed into her with his illegal ‘fixie’ bike as she crossed Old Street in London in February 2016. She died a week later in hospital.

    Alliston later blamed her for the collision in posts online and said she was lucky not to kill him and damage his new bike, which had no front brakes and is meant for use on a velodrome.

    The former courier and scaffolder also said she had been on her phone – but it was proved in court she wasn’t. 

    About a week after Mrs Briggs’ death, Mr Briggs said police told him there was not a crime to charge Alliston with despite suspecting criminality.

    Eventually he was charged with manslaughter and causing bodily harm by ‘wanton and furious driving’ and the case was taken to court 18 months after the incident. 








    Kim Briggs' husband Matthew campaigned for a new Death by Dangerous Cycling law. Today he welcomed Mr Shapps' announcement as a 'tiny degree of something positive coming out of something so tragic'

    Kim Briggs’ husband Matthew campaigned for a new Death by Dangerous Cycling law. Today he welcomed Mr Shapps’ announcement as a ‘tiny degree of something positive coming out of something so tragic’

    An Old Bailey jury acquitted Alliston of manslaughter but found him guilty of causing bodily harm to Mrs Briggs by ‘wanton or furious driving’ under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act – a law originally designed to cover offences with horse-drawn carriages. 

    After Alliston was jailed for 18 months, Mr Briggs made an impassioned plea for a change in the law – and the attitude of some cyclists.

    A cyclist himself, he called for the new offence of causing death or serious injury by dangerous or careless cycling and said: ‘We all have to share these imperfect streets, let’s do so with care and due regard for each other.’

    He also urged retailers to do more to make clear to customers that fixed wheel bikes without proper brakes are dangerous and illegal to use on the road.

    Alliston was riding this track bike which was illegal for road use as it had no front brakes when he smashed into the mother-of-two who died two weeks later

    Alliston was riding this track bike which was illegal for road use as it had no front brakes when he smashed into the mother-of-two who died two weeks later

    Alliston, pictured (right) with his mother and a family friend, went on a cyclists' forum after the crash to insist he warned his victim to 'get the f*** outta my way' and blamed her

    Alliston, pictured (right) with his mother and a family friend, went on a cyclists’ forum after the crash to insist he warned his victim to ‘get the f*** outta my way’ and blamed her

    In a powerful statement he said: ‘I am now determined to do what I can to prevent others from going through the heartache we have had to bear following Kim’s needless death.

    ‘We need to radically change some aspects of our cycling culture. This is not a witch hunt against all cyclists (I, myself cycle in London) only the irresponsible and reckless. We all have to share these imperfect streets, let’s do so with care and due regard for each other.

    ‘The current law is outdated and has not kept pace with the huge increase in the number of people cycling and the associated increased risk of collisions, nor the attitude of some cyclists. We need to change the way the law deals with this.

    ‘I am calling for an introduction of laws of causing Death or Serious Injury by Dangerous or Careless Cycling, thereby bringing cycling laws into line with the Road Traffic Act.

    ‘I also want people to understand that riding any bike without two brakes is illegal and, as we have seen, potentially lethal. I want bike retailers and, in particular, courier companies to communicate clearly and forcefully that these bikes are not legal or fit for road use’.

    He added: ‘Finally, I would like to say that I will not live my life in anger. Anger is corrosive and damaging and there is enough anger in this world. Rather I shall endeavour to live my life and bring my children up as Kim did. Surrounded by positivity, compassion, humour and joy’.