The criminal offence of cycling
Cyclists in the UK could be sentenced to the same prison terms as drivers if their actions on the road lead to a fatality. This is the proposal in a bill drafted by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
"We need a cycling counterpart to the criminal offence of causing death by careless driving to remove a gap in the law and imprint in cyclists' brains that they can cause real harm when high speed is combined with a lack of caution," the minister wrote in a column published in the Daily Mail on Saturday.
For drivers of motor vehicles, the maximum penalty for dangerous driving has been raised from 14 years to life imprisonment since June. In the case of cyclists, however, a law passed in 1861 is still in force. It was designed for driving horse-drawn carts and the maximum penalty does not exceed a few months' imprisonment.
According to the newspaper in connection with the 2016 case, when an 18-year-old cyclist collided with a 44-year-old woman who was crossing the road in east London. The collision with a bike without front brakes, which was travelling at around 30km per hour, caused the woman to fall and suffer fatal injuries. The 18-year-old cyclist was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
However, according to the British Parliament's Transport Safety Advisory Board, 470 pedestrians died on British roads in 2019. Of those, five died after colliding with cyclists.
It is worth noting that 305 pedestrians died in accidents involving cars, 51 with trucks, 29 with buses and 14 with motorbikes.