The husband of Kim Briggs, the pedestrian who died in February last year after a collision with cyclist Charlie Alliston on London’s Old Street, says he would welcome a wider debate about the safety of all road users, reports BikeBiz.
Speaking to Carlton Reid for the Spokesmen podcast, Matthew Briggs spoke about the campaign he launched after Alliston, who had been riding a bike with no front brake, was sentenced last month.
The campaign calls on shops selling fixed-wheel bikes for use on the road to ensure they comply with the law, and also calls on the government to make cyclists who kill or injure people subject to the same laws as motorists.
The mainstream media have seized on that call for a change in the law and transport secretary Jesse Norman announced last month that the government would hold an urgent review of “cycle safety.”
Last week, he also wrote to cycling organisations to tell them to remind their members of their legal obligations while riding a bike.
There’s certainly a case for updating the law, with Alliston was prosecuted under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 for causing bodily harm through wanton and furious driving.
But cycling campaigners have underlined that cases in which a pedestrian is killed following a collision with a cyclist are extremely rare and that there should be a wider review encompassing all road users.
When the Department for Transport published its 2016 annual report last week into road traffic casualties in Great Britain, British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman urged the government to do more to improve the safety of all road users.
Briggs told Reid: "If there is a wider debate about road safety on imperfect roads that we can make it work for all road users, that has to be a good thing.
He went on: “I think the government is listening to [the road safety] debate.
"And if that debate is widened, and we get progress, that has to be a positive."
He also said there needed to be a calmer debate between different types of road users, having experienced through the @Briggscampaign Twitter account he has set up how discussion can quickly become heated.
"I’ve been looking at my Twitter followers," he said. "I only have 400 – I'm not exactly Taylor Swift – it’s equally split between journalists, cabbies and cyclists. What could possibly go wrong?"
He added: "There’s an angry discourse out there and if that is translated out there on the road we’re never going to get anywhere.
“By calming it down, by not shouting at each other, we can get the progress that I want to see and we can also make the progress others want to see."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.