A British cyclist who hit and killed a pedestrian and was convicted under a 19th-century law for drivers of horse-drawn carriages was sentenced on Monday to 18 months in prison. Charlie Alliston, a former courier who was 18 at the time of the accident in London last year, was riding a fixed-wheel track bike with no front brakes.
These types of specialist bikes can only be used on racing tracks in Britain and are banned from roads. Alliston struck 44-year-old Kim Briggs, a mother of two, at a speed of 29 kilometres (18 miles) per hour.
He was convicted of “wanton and furious driving”, a crime contained in an 1861 law that is still in force and carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. The case has divided Britons, with some calling for tougher sentences for dangerous cycling and others saying pedestrians should take more responsibility.
“This case has clearly and evidently demonstrated there is a gap in the law when it comes to dealing with death or serious injury by dangerous cycling,” Briggs’s husband David told reporters outside court.
In a series of posts on social media while Briggs was still injured in hospital, Alliston described how he twice warned her to get out of the way. He wrote: “We collided pretty hard, our heads hit together, hers went into the floor and ricocheted into mine.”
He claimed she had been on her phone at the time of the accident.