A petition calling for a change in the law after two cyclists were killed by a man later convicted of dangerous driving could be debated in Parliament after more than 100,000 people have signed it.
Tracey Fidler and Hayley Lindsay launched the petition after the deaths of their respective fiancés, John Morland and Kris Jarvis, in February 2014.
The men were hit by a drunk-driver in a stolen car as they rode their bikes in Purley-on-Thames, Berkshire, with the incident leaving seven children fatherless.
In April last year the motorist, Alexander Walter, was jailed for 10 years 3 months after admitting offences including causing death by dangerous driving.
That offence carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment, and in determining the length of the sentence, the judge would have been required under current sentencing guidelines to take account of the fact that Walter’s actions resulted in the loss of more than one life.
But the petition is urging a change in the law, “so if a driver receives a sentence for causing death by dangerous driving, the driver receives the maximum sentence, of 14 years, per person that has been killed.”
More than 30,000 people have added their names to the petition in the last month alone after Ms Fidler and Ms Lindsay met Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss their petition and the issue of sentencing.
The meeting was also attended by the families of Ross and Clare Simmons, killed in 2013 by Nicholas Lovell, who had four previous convictions for dangerous driving.
Afterwards, Mr Cameron wrote to justice secretary Chris Grayling to ask him, among other things, to examine:
The question of whether sentences should be awarded concurrently or consecutively in cases where a number of people are killed as a result of dangerous driving, whilst recognising that the courts normally determine this issue.
In a message posted to their campaign’s page on Facebook after the petition passed the 100,000 mark, Ms Fidler and Ms Lindsay said: “We are all delighted that the hard work has finally paid off. We are a step closer to justice for Kris and John.”
The pair, who have been helped in their campaign by Reading West MP Alok Sharma, added: “This is only the beginning and it by no means, means that our fight is over.
“But we have done our part, the part that seemed impossible, the part not even we ourselves believed could happen, the part that the government make so difficult,” they added, noting that “in the last five years, only 33 Government e-petitions have reached 100,000 signatures.... there is now 34.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.