On anniversary of cyclist fatality, British Cycling calls for tougher action on drivers who kill
- By London Cycling Campaign on at 12:57pm 1 June 2012
- Posted in: News and blogs
- Tagged with: dorset, rob jefferies, justice, british cycling, sentencing
British Cycling has added its voice to campaigners who are demanding action to provide greater justice for cyclists and other road users who are hurt or seriously injured by bad driving.
Thye campaign comes exactly a year after the death of British Cycling volunteer Rob Jefferies (above), who was struck from behind and killed by a motorist while riding in Dorset.
At the time of his death, tributes to Jefferies came from hundreds of people who'd worked, ridden and volunteered with him.
The motorist who caused his death already had one speeding conviction, despite only being 18 years old, and received just 200 hours community service, an 18-month driving ban and a compulsory re-test for the offence.
British Cycling is demanding an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary, as well as the Transport and Justice Ministers to call for the following changes to the British legal system:
- Crash investigation processes must be better and more consistent, as must coroners' evaluation of evidence.
- Victims and their families must be better informed about how cases proceed, and what charges are being considered.
- CPS charging standards and legal guidance should properly deal with the seriousness of incidents where road users are killed or injured, and the CPS must stop choosing inappropriately light charges or none at all.
- There must be new guidance on prosecuting under the 'causing death by dangerous driving' offence because too many cases are being inappropriately charged under the lesser offence of 'causing death by careless driving'.
- There must be a review of sentencing guidelines to ensure they adequately reflect the consequences of the offence, with the harm caused to victims and their families being considered, in the same way as it is in assault cases.
LCC's chief executive Ashok Sinha said, "Too many families are left feeling betrayed by our justice system, which appears to treat a road fatality as less serious than any other avoidable death.
"There needs to be transparent monitoring of the legal outcomes from every death or life-changing injury, as well as an open system allowing victims' families the right to examine and challenge all the evidence."
The London Cycling Campaign is fully supporting British Cycling's efforts to have these issues debated in Parliament, and is reminding Mayor Boris Johnson of his pre-election commitment to work with Transport for London and other bodies to get action for tougher sentences for road users who kill and cause serious injury.