Causing death by dangerous cycling
- AuthorSean Joyce
It has been interesting to note that recently the Government has been examining the possibility of introducing a criminal charge for the offence of causing death by dangerous cycling. The road traffic offence would be relatively self explanatory and would apply to a cyclist who killed or seriously hurt a pedestrian. The case would be heard in the Magistrates or Crown Court and would be sentenced in line with the current guidelines. The Courts have recently found their sentencing powers challenged by the offences of dangerous driving, causing death by dangerous driving and causing death whilst driving without insurance.
The bill which proposes the new offence will be put forward by Tory MP Andrea Leadsom, who has campaigned on behalf of the family of Rhiannon Bennett, 17 years old, who was walking with friends in Buckingham in April 2007 when she was killed by a cyclist named Jason Howard. The case was prosecuted by the Police and the Magistrates convicted Mr Howard of dangerous cycling and fined him £2,200. An simple comparison to show how this varies from other road traffic offences can be seen by the penalty for a motorist convicted of causing death by dangerous driving to face a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail.
Mrs Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, said: ‘There needs to be a charge that reflects the seriousness and consequences of a cyclist’s actions.' The Commons will consider the new bill in due course and we will then be able to determine the seriousness that the MP's wish to attribute to this growing problem.
By motoring offences solicitor, Martyn Walsh