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Cyclists seek action on speed limits cut
AN Oxford cycling campaign group has called for lower speed limits on country roads after the death of an Eynsham firefighter.
National cycling safety charities are also pressing the Government for tougher sentences for causing death by careless driving.
Last week Paul Brown, 30, was given 240 hours unpaid work and a 12-month driving ban after admitting causing Joe Wilkins’ death by careless driving.
Mr Wilkins’ partner, Nicci Saunders, called for prison sentences and longer driving bans for people convicted of causing death by careless driving.
Cyclox spokesman Richard Mann said: “On lesser country roads we are calling for speed limits to be 40 mph at most, and 20mph to be the norm in towns.
“We do not need to be doing 50mph down country lanes, we do not need to be putting people in a position where a moment of inattention leads to them injuring or killing someone.
“It is trying to make the roads safer so people can go out on a beautiful summer evening and not have to worry about whether or not they will come home.”
Mr Wilkins, 39, a father-of-two, had been cycling a circular route from his home in Eynsham with a friend to prepare for a Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride.
Brown, of Oxford Road, Eynsham, was acquitted by a jury last month of causing death by dangerous driving, but admitted causing death by careless driving.
He had been holding a sandwich and driving at between 55mph and 60mph along Eaton Road, near Appleton, which has a 60mph limit, when the accident happened, at about 9.15pm on May 24 last year.
National cycling charity CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) is lobbying for driving bans of between five years and a lifetime for people convicted of death by careless driving.
CTC road safety campaigner Rhia Weston said: “In most cases if you just remove the ability to drive you remove the threat they pose to the public.
“You do not have to put them behind bars, just take their licence away.
“Sentences at the moment do not go far enough.
“What Paul Brown received is right at the bottom of the sentencing guidelines.”
The Government’s Sentencing Council next year plans to review guidelines for the offences of causing death by driving.
Amy Aeron-Thomas, of road crash victims’ charity RoadPeace, said the case illustrated a pattern within the criminal justice system where driving that should be considered dangerous is treated as careless.
The sentence for causing death by careless driving varies depending on the level of negligence involved, ranging from a community order to five years imprisonment.
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