By Aasma Day
A woman almost killed while cycling to work has made a plea for tougher penalties for drivers, as new figures reveal cyclists and motorcyclists are 63 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than people in vehicles.
Victoria Lebrec, 28, had to have her left leg amputated after being hit by a lorry in 2014. She only survived due to pioneering medical treatment at the roadside. She believes there should be tougher penalties for drivers who seriously injure people on bikes.
New analysis by the road safety charity Brake shows cyclists and motorcyclists account for almost four in 10 of all deaths and serious injuries on British roads. In 2017, a total of 9,740 people were killed or injured on a bike – an average of one every hour.
There were a total of 101 cyclist deaths and 349 motorcyclist deaths in 2017.
Lebrec was 24 when she was crushed by a skip lorry. “When I was told about losing my leg, I felt grief as I could not imagine what my future was going to be like after such a life changing injury,” she said. After recovering, Lebrec went to a rehabilitation hospital and learned to walk again using a prosthetic leg.
The lorry driver involved in the crash was charged with careless driving and received a £750 fine and points on his licence.
Lebrec told HuffPost UK: “I met the driver in court and it was emotional as he was so sorry and clearly never intended for it to happen.
“But it is frustrating that there is not a charge for causing serious injury by careless driving. There’s either careless driving or death by careless driving.
“But someone can be left alive and seriously injured and the severity of what they suffered is not represented in the punishment.”
Lebrec now works as a campaigner for RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims. She says the Ministry of Justice has proposed to introduce a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving, but it hasn’t yet happened.
Road safety charity Brake has criticised the Government for not acting on their pledge to increase sentences for dangerous and careless driving made more than a year ago.
Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: “Drivers who kill or seriously injure all too often receive lenient sentences. By delaying the introduction of new tougher sentences, the Government is causing further suffering to families who have lost loved ones in road crashes.
“The Government must implement these tougher sentences as first priority, delivering on their promise to road crash victims and then initiate a review of the flawed legal framework for road justice.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Killer drivers ruin lives and the government is committed to making sure that the courts have sufficient powers to deal with driving offences appropriately and proportionately.
“We will bring forward proposals for changes in the law as soon as parliamentary time allows.”