Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Death by dangerous cycling
riot girl
 The Commons are today to hear a proposal to extend penalties for cyclists who kill pedestrians.  BBC news report here.  It refers back to the sad case of a 17 year old girl who was run down on the pavement on the road by Jason Howard, riding his bike, who said "Move 'cos I'm not stopping" before riding into her.  She died of head injuries six days later.  He was convicted of dangerous cycling and fined £2,200.

According to the DfT, in 2009, 2,222 people were killed on the roads.  500 of them were pedestrians, 104 were cyclists, 472 motorcyclists and 1,059 car occupants.  

By contrast, about 0.5 people per year are killed by cyclists.  (One per two years or so.)  A pedestrian is much, much more likely to be killed by a motorist mounting the pavement.  Which is why this part of the article made me lolsob:

The Conservative MP said: "Imagine if a motorist had mounted the pavement and killed a schoolgirl as she chatted to her friends.

"The motorist would have felt the full force of the law and there would have been a national outcry if such a person had walked away with a fine."

The full force of the law, eh?

Just like John Ashbrook felt the full force of the law after he hit Adrianna Skryzypiec and dragged her for 140m, killing her.  No further action taken.

Just like Joao Lopes, who felt the full force of the law after he crushed Eilidh Cairns to death.  Fined £200.

Just like Robert Harris, who felt the full force of the law after he skidded into the Rhyl cycling club on three bald tyres, killing four of them.  Fined £180.

Just like Keith Wilson, full force of the law again for careless driving in which a cyclist was killed.  £150 fine.

Just like Michael Thorn, who crushed Emma Foa with his lorry.  £300 fine.

Yeah.  Like the MP says, just imagine if that had been a motorist.  He wouldn't have been fined nearly so much as £2,200.

Edit:  Thanks to Honest John of YACF who pointed out that the victim was actually on the road, not the pavement.  It doesn't excuse the cyclist, who could and should have slowed down, but it does make the MP's comments factually inaccurate.

  • 1

"Move 'cos I'm not stopping"

Actually, if you look into some of the discussion this generated at the time, I don't think any evidence was laid that the cyclist said "Move 'cos I'm not stopping".

Much like the pavement accusation, this seems to have arisen from the media furore around the case. I can't provide you with a transcript (or even a link) but I distinctly remember hearing that it was something like a throwaway comment in the prosecutor's introduction that the papers seized upon.

This case has often made me uneasy since on a couple of the routes I ride regularly, it would not be unusual to pass drunks (or even non-drunks) who might play chicken. Would I try and kill one, obviously not - but I can easily imagine hitting one as I tried to get past and ending up pilloried.

Re: "Move 'cos I'm not stopping"

I've just checked, and it was witness evidence not the prosecutor's commentary. He agreed he'd called a warning. The issue was whether he called it in an effort to get them to disperse whilst fearing that they had no goodwill towards him if he stopped, or whether he called it because he couldn't be bothered to avoid them (much like motorists passing too close as punishment for cyclists being on the road). There was a trial, I wasn't there, he was convicted, so at least 12 people thought it was the latter.

The evidence was also that the group of kids had had a can or two of lager each. I think they got painted as scaryeevil drunken feral yoof just as much as the cyclist got painted as a pavement cycling yobbo.

Death by dangerous cycling

Julian, you forgot Robert McTaggart who was fined £500 for killing Jason MacIntyre


Death by careless driving

There are hundreds more. Anthony Maynard was killed when hit by a van. Anthony was on a club ride near Reading and was hit from behind on a long straight road when the van struck him from behind, killing him instantly.
The driver was never prosecuted.

There are loads more. The ones I used were off the top of my head - I googled the names I recalled from recently. :(

Hang on -- if this is coming up in the commons, can that not be used usefully? I mean, it's not like we're saying it's a good thing that all these drivers got off, and that genuinely dangerous cyclists should go unpunished (irrespective of what happened in this particular case -- I have no idea). Can't we send our MPs lists of these drivers who've got away (nearly) scott free, and ask them to try to move the debate on to the general callous attitude we have to road safety and dangerous driving?

I mean, that Conservative MP you're citing may be a bicycle-hating git, or they may be genuinely ignorant of the situation as it stands, and be appalled by the failure of the law to follow up on so very many cases. They'd certainly find it hard to justify double standards to the House.

But I see the debate was yesterday. Ah well. If it comes up again...

Pedestrian casualties on the pavement.

Leadsom said: [quote] "Imagine if a motorist had mounted the pavement and killed a schoolgirl as she chatted to her friends.

"The motorist would have felt the full force of the law and there would have been a national outcry if such a person had walked away with a fine." [end quote]

If only this were true. The trouble is that the facts show that motorists can kill cyclists and pedestrians and regularly escape serious penalty with only trivial fines.

Finding data for prosecutions is difficult.

As for killing pedestrians on the pavement, let's look at the figures.

These are figures for pedestrian deaths on the pavement.

Between 1998 and 2009, that's twelve years:
Cyclists killed 3* pedestrians on the pavement.
Motor-vehicles killed 862* pedestrians on the pavement.

It's pretty clear that while 3 deaths are tragic, they pale in significance with the 862.

Death by motor-vehicle is so commonplace that it isn't reported. Death by cyclist is news and provokes a media feeding-frenzy. It's dog bites man versus man bites dog.

*Assumes that 10% of pedestrian casualties occur on the 'pavement or verge', as was the case in 2007-2008. Source DfT

Jason Howard had a poor lawyer

Standard cycling advice when confronted by a gang of youths in the road at night is NOT to slow down under any circumstances, since they may be intending to beat you up and steal your bike; something rather more commonly encountered than this tragic incident.

See page 105 of "Richard's New Bicycle Book" where it is specifically recommended to charge at a member of the group as fast as possible, since they will jump out of your way and you can pass unscathed. Unless, maybe, they've been drinking. Jason Howard even shouted a warning.

Re: Jason Howard had a poor lawyer

I'm not sure it's fair to blame his lawyer. He said in evidence that he would have been able to swerve out of the way, not that they had blocked him in, in which case I'd agree that going through them would be the best option.

  • 1

Log in

No account? Create an account