Support for law change following cyclists’ death

The families of Ross and Clare Simons, the couple killed in Hanham earlier this year when they were knocked off their tandem by a disqualified driver, have now launched an on-line petition calling for a change in the sentencing law. Mark Lovell from Oldland Common, pleaded guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and was sentenced to ten and a half years in prison (The Week In, Issue 271).  This was the maximum sentence available to the judge but after sentencing it emerged that Lovell had 11 previous convictions for dangerous driving and four for driving while disqualified.

Ross and Clare Simons

Ross and Clare Simons

The families’ campaign for a change in the law is supported by Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore. An online petition has been created which reads: We call upon the government to review and change sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving so that drivers who have previous convictions for dangerous driving, including driving under the influence of drink and drugs, or have been disqualified from driving, and continue to commit dangerous driving offences, causing death or injury as a result, be given far longer and tougher sentences than currently exist.

By Sunday 2nd June it had almost 1000 signatures. Kelly Woodruff, Ross’ sister, who is leading the campaign said: “We feel cheated by the justice system that does not allow a longer sentence to be imposed for the tragic loss of their lives considering his past convictions. While they will serve a few years in prison, we and those close to Ross and Clare, have been given life sentences.”

Mr Skidmore commented: “As the local MP for Kingswood, I know how many people were shocked and devastated by Ross and Clare’s death. The law on dangerous driving needs to be changed, and I intend to take this petition to the very top to ensure that there is effective justice for such a tragedy, and that dangerous and banned drivers are kept off the roads and not allowed to offend again.”

You can sign the petition at