Petition calling for compulsory cycle helmets launched by drunk driver who killed cyclist

A drunk driver who killed an Oxfordshire cyclist in a hit and run incident last June, thentold police her car had been stolen, subsequently launched a petition calling for it to be compulsory for people on bikes to wear cycle helmets, it has emerged.

Maria Sutton from Cholsey, aged 27, was remanded in custody at Oxford Crown Court earlier this month pending sentencing after admitting causing the death through careless driving while over the legal alcohol limit of Dr Graham Ruecroft from Wallingford.

In February this year she admitted causing death by careless driving but denied being over the drink-drive limit. In a further appearance on 5 April, she changed her plea to guilty on the more serious charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

It appears that at some point between the court appearances, she posted a petition to the website under the title “Make it law for a cyclist to wear a helmet.”

The petition, which has attracted 15 signatures, was posted three months ago, according to – no precise date is given. On the petition’s page on, Sutton said:

I think it should be a legal requirement for a cyclist to wear a helmet and fluorescent clothing! As a driver it’s illegal not to wear a seatbelt and receive a fine. Cyclists should have the same responsibility. I have been involved in an accident with a cyclist and he unfortunately died. He wasn’t wearing a helmet or reflective clothing and had flashing lights.

She did not mention that she had already pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice, nor that she had been charged on 16 September last year of causing the cyclist’s death through careless driving while over the drink-drive limit.

The petition was closed on over the weekend, apparently after the website was told about the circumstances of the case. The victim’s family have launched their own petition, also on

Sutton is due to be sentenced on 17May at Oxford Crown Court.

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