Public anger towards cyclists “is now at an all-time high”, a Leeds Labour MP has claimed, as he demanded more justice for those killed or injured on Britain’s roads.
Fabian Hamilton, MP for Leeds North East, compared media coverage of a case where a cyclist killed a pedestrian to that of Ian Winterburn, 58, a cyclist who was fatally injured by a car in Leeds in December last year.
In the last House of Commons debate of the year yesterday, he also called on Ministers to ensure “the appropriate administration of justice can be relied upon” where fatal accidents take place.
Mr Hamilton said: “Cyclist Charlie Alliston was famously sentenced to 18 months in prison recently for fatally injuring pedestrian Mrs (Kim) Briggs. And yet many more cyclists have been killed and badly injured by cars during that same period.
“Alliston’s case justifiably had plenty of media coverage, but deaths such as that of Ian Winterburn scarcely receive any.”
Mr Hamilton, leading an adjournment debate in the Commons, said the driver of the car that hit Mr Winterburn was given a four-month suspended prison sentence and a £200 fine.
He highlighted a number of concerns over how Mr Winterburn’s family were treated in the aftermath of the incident, as well as how it was investigated.
The MP added: “If we truly care about our environment and about the growing public health crisis, surely we must do far more to encourage cycling, both as a healthy activity and as a way of reducing carbon emissions and congestion. But tragedies like the death of cyclist Ian Winterburn do nothing but discourage the public from cycling.
“We need to make cycling far easier and much, much safer, and part of that task surely is to ensure that when terrible, fatal accidents do take place, the appropriate administration of justice can be relied upon.”
Justice minister Dominic Raab told MPs the Government would seek to make three changes to the law to “make sure justice is properly done”.
The first would be to increase the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving from 14 years to life.
Secondly, the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs would also be increased from 14 years to life.
Mr Raab also revealed that a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving would be created and that would carry a custodial penalty.