Following the death of his wife in a road traffic collision involving a cyclist Matthew Briggs is campaigning to get death and serious injury cycling offences into the Road Traffic Act. He is also urging bike companies to stop stocking, advertising and promoting fixed-wheel track bikes for road use, if such bikes are sold or shown without front brakes.
The use on a public highway of a bicycle, of 635mm height or above, with no front brake is unlawful under Regulation 7(b) of the Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983.
Briggs is the husband of Kim Briggs who died in 2016 after being hit by fixie rider Charlie Alliston on London's Old Street. In last month's high-profile trial the 20-year old Alliston was acquitted of the manslaughter of the 44-year-old HR consultant, who died from head injuries sustained after the mother-of-two walked into the road in front of Alliston, who was riding at 18mph. Neither were wearing helmets at the time of the collision. Alliston was found guilty of causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving, an offence dating from 1861. He will be sentenced on 18th September, with the offence – defined before the existence of cycling – carrying a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.
Matthew Briggs is now tweeting as @BriggsCampaign and is contacting bike companies who he feels are selling or promoting fixies without front brakes, which according to the regulation quoted above are illegal for use on public highways. On some of his tweets he is also patching in Fariha Karim, a news reporter on The Times newspaper.
When Briggs contacted retail aggregator Not on the High Street about a brake-free fixies promoted by one of its partner companies the listing was taken down. "We've requested for the listing and image to be updated," said a Twitter reply from Not on the High Street. "The product is currently suspended pending these changes."
Briggs also tweeted to Chain Reaction Cycles concerning its NS Bikes Analog City Bike, which is shown without a front-brake. When BikeBiz pointed out that, in fact, this bike ships with a Promax RC453 front brake, Briggs said it was the imagery he wished to be amended: "I think its irresponsible to advertise bikes in an illegal state. People could get the wrong idea."
Following Alliston's trial Detective Inspector Julie Trodden, of the Metropolitan Police's Roads and Transport Policing Command, claimed: "The lack of a front brake resulted in Alliston's inability to stop and avoid the collision resulting in the tragic death of Kim Briggs."
She added that her team's investigation had "highlighted the necessity for all cyclists to have the required brakes on their bikes, whether they be a fixed wheel or free wheeling hub cycle."
A post-trial statement from Cycling UK said: “Riding a fixed wheel bike on busy roads without a front brake is illegal, stupid, and endangers other road users, especially pedestrians.”