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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Punishing killers on our roads

Yesterday the family of Rhiannon Bennett, a teenaged girl killed when she was struck by a cyclist on a road in Buckingham in 2007 were present in the House of Commons when their MP presented a 10 minute bill to the house. The Dangerous and reckless Cycling Bill will now receive its second reading in November 2011.

This incident was tragic and I believe that all road users who, by reason of reckless or negligent action, cause the death of another should be punished accordingly.

My slight problem with this matter however is that the outcry over the incident that caused the family to lobby their MP was because the cyclist, Jason Howard was convicted of Dangerous Cycling and fined £2200.

I imagine that Rhiannons family expected a custodial sentence. If this was their expectation I fully understand it. This was not an option available to the Magistrates however as there is no prison sentence tariff for this offence.

I believe the option of sending the responsible party to prison should be open in all cases arising from a death of another being the result of someone’s actions. All I ask is that the punishments are used equally and fairly- driver, rider, or pedestrian.

There are plenty of examples of drivers causing deaths and being 'punished' by paltry fines.

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