LONDON, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Cyclists in Britain could be charged with causing death by dangerous cycling, Transport Minister Jesse Norman announced Thursday.
A government review has been ordered following a series of high profile incidents involving cyclists, the Department for Transport (DfT) said here.
The issue hit headlines in London on Monday after cyclist Charlie Alliston, 20, was cleared of manslaughter -- the British equivalent of involuntary homicide. Pedestrian Kim Briggs, 44, died after being hit by Alliston's cycle.
The cycle had a fixed gear and no front brake. Instead Briggs was found guilty of "wanton or furious driving," an offence that dates back to the 1860s. He was ordered to be detained for 18 months in a young offenders' institution.
A new offence would match a current crime that motorists face of causing death by careless or dangerous driving, with the prospect of long prison sentences.
Transport Minister Norman also said the review would widen improvements for cycling road safety issues.
Norman said: "We already have strict laws that ensure drivers who put people's lives at risk are punished, but given recent cases it is only right for us to look at whether dangerous cyclists should face the same consequences."
The minister added that the devastation that reckless cycling and driving can cause has already been seen. Norman added: "This review will help safeguard both Britain's cyclists and those who share the roads with them."
Government spending on cycling between 2010 and 2017 has been trebled leading to a huge increase in the number of cyclists on our roads, said the DfT.
In 2015, two pedestrians were killed and 96 seriously injured on British roads after being hit by a bicycle, while every year more than 100 cyclists are killed and more than 3,000 are seriously injured.
The review, which will seek to improve all elements of cycle safety, will be in two phases. The first phase will analyze the case for creating a new offence equivalent to causing death or serious injury by careless or dangerous driving to help protect both cyclists and pedestrians.
The second phase will be a wider consultation on road safety issues relating to cycling. It will consider the rules of the road, public awareness, key safety risks and the guidance and signage for all road users.