Death by Cyclist

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Allan
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Death by Cyclist

Post by Allan » Sat 26 Aug 2017 11:38

Anyone else confused by the recent verdicts in the case in England of a cyclist who collided with a pedestrian, leading to her death?

He was found guilty of causing bodily harm by wanton and furious driving , yet not guilty of manslaughter. I can't see how he can be guilty of one but not the other.

The case hit the headlines because the cyclist had no front brake on the bike and behaved like a complete oaf - blaming the poor woman that died.

I know that being an idiot or an oaf is not grounds for a conviction but the bodily harm that he caused her led to her death so surely that is manslaughter.

Webdoc
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Post by Webdoc » Sat 26 Aug 2017 15:11

There's a pretty good analysis / explanation by a QC here:
https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ing-charge

Allan
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Post by Allan » Sat 26 Aug 2017 16:36

Thanks, an interesting article. I normally avoid the Guardian but that was worthwhile reading.

It sounds like a new offence of being a prat would have been more applicable.

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Post by Webdoc » Sat 26 Aug 2017 17:32

I like to think of myself as a safety-conscious driver (my wife would say boring) but, like all of us I imagine, I've had the odd near-miss over the years through either inattention or just bad luck. Any one of us could potentially end up with a conviction just because of human frailty, not because of something wilful, which doesn't sound like natural justice to me.

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Post by Sus » Sat 26 Aug 2017 21:53

Thanks for sharing the article, interesting read.

As an avid cyclist and having commuted in London for many years, there is no doubt in my mind that the assumption that the cyclist could have stopped in 3m is simply ridiculous, he would have toppled over his handlebar. The press coverage and language used is in line with the general trend to vilify cyclists, that being said there is no excuse for not having front and rear breaks on your bike.

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Post by martyn94 » Sun 27 Aug 2017 17:57

Sus wrote:Thanks for sharing the article, interesting read.

As an avid cyclist and having commuted in London for many years, there is no doubt in my mind that the assumption that the cyclist could have stopped in 3m is simply ridiculous, he would have toppled over his handlebar. The press coverage and language used is in line with the general trend to vilify cyclists, that being said there is no excuse for not having front and rear breaks on your bike.
As a former Londoner and a continuing cyclist, I don't think it's vilification to find fault (as you seem to accept) with someone riding very fast with no brakes at all. I have no idea whether he could have braked to a dead halt in 3m (or whether that's the appropriate distance in any event). But he could surely have crashed less catastrophically. He did, after all, kill someone. Or even better, just ridden at a more appropriate speed.

You really don't have to be very judgmental to conclude that people who ride fixies with no brakes are idiot jerks, even if they don't have those weird plugs set into their ear lobes. People invented brakes for bikes for a reason: they are cheap and effective, and weigh very little.

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It wasn't just a moment's inattention

Post by rhys » Sat 02 Sep 2017 12:21

Webdoc wrote:I like to think of myself as a safety-conscious driver (my wife would say boring) but, like all of us I imagine, I've had the odd near-miss over the years through either inattention or just bad luck. Any one of us could potentially end up with a conviction just because of human frailty, not because of something wilful, which doesn't sound like natural justice to me.
We have all been guilty of occasional inattention on the road which through luck did not lead to any serious consequence, I am sure.
But that is a million miles in terms of moral culpability from what this 'cyclist' did : he DELIBERATELY CHOSE to ride on the public roads a bike which was ILLEGAL on the road because it lacked normal brakes, and had to be slowed down by the fixed wheel arrangement ~ which an expert gave evidence was inadequate to slow the bike : if it had had normal brakes fitted he would have been able to stop or at least slow down before colliding with the poor woman.

martyn94
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Re: It wasn't just a moment's inattention

Post by martyn94 » Sat 02 Sep 2017 14:17

rhys wrote:
Webdoc wrote:I like to think of myself as a safety-conscious driver (my wife would say boring) but, like all of us I imagine, I've had the odd near-miss over the years through either inattention or just bad luck. Any one of us could potentially end up with a conviction just because of human frailty, not because of something wilful, which doesn't sound like natural justice to me.
We have all been guilty of occasional inattention on the road which through luck did not lead to any serious consequence, I am sure.
But that is a million miles in terms of moral culpability from what this 'cyclist' did : he DELIBERATELY CHOSE to ride on the public roads a bike which was ILLEGAL on the road because it lacked normal brakes, and had to be slowed down by the fixed wheel arrangement ~ which an expert gave evidence was inadequate to slow the bike : if it had had normal brakes fitted he would have been able to stop or at least slow down before colliding with the poor woman.
Although they don't generally kill people, there must be thousands of people riding fixies with no front brakes (and no real back brakes either, as you say): you only have to stand on a street corner in central London or Paris for ten minutes to see a few. It's a way of saying "I am cool, or a hipster" or whatever the word ought to be. I can just about see the point of a one-gear bike if you are working as a courier, say, and extremely fit: it eliminates some stuff which could break and stop you earning. Or at least that was the rationale. Beyond that, it's just an affectation.

Riding a track bike in city traffic, with an extremely dropped riding position, takes it to a new order of idiocy. You get enough flak from white van man if you are riding an ordinary bike in a sane way: with allies like this, who needs enemies?

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