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The no brake bike case

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The no brake bike case

Old 24th Aug 2017, 07:39
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The no brake bike case

I understand completely the need to have adequate braking, I rode a fixed wheel for years, although with conventional brakes too. What I didn't understand was charging the rider with manslaughter without the slightest hope of conviction resulting from the charge.

The rider was undoubtedly a tw*t of the gravest degree but if I understand this correctly the lady stepped into his path when he was 3 metres away. What doesn't square with this is that he was said to have shouted a warning. If as was stated he was travelling at 19mph, which seems quite feasible, then less than 0.4 of a second would have elapsed and no form of braking would have stopped or probably even slowed him in that time.

This case is probably similar to a car driver with defective brakes having another motorist pull out directly in front of him and being unable to avoid a collision. Whilst sympathetic to the victim it does seem that she contributed in no small way to the outcome by stepping into the road without due care.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 07:56
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........that she contributed in no small way to the outcome by stepping into the road without due care.
Probably head down into her phone ?
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 08:02
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Alliston, who was riding a fixed wheel track bike with no front brake, which is not legal on the road, is said to have shouted at her as she lay mortally injured, later blaming her for the collision in posts online.
My bold. Throw the book at the [email protected] ExSp - sounds about right - a Darwin candidate. It might equally as well have been a silent electric car she walked out in front of.

Maybe schools should teach that the Highway Code applies to pedestrians as well as road users.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 08:09
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What if he had had a front brake but didn't use it?
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 08:16
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According to the graphics on TV last night he was far more than 3 metres away, on the opposite side of a box junction.
He had time to twice call out "Get out of my fckucking way", which suggests he had time to pull up with proper brakes.
Police tests with a normal bike confirmed this.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 08:38
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There are several issues here, including the apparent fact that the bike rider is an arrogant **** of the first order.

Buying a damned expensive carbon fibre track bike, and working as a cycle courier in London, there is no way that he couldn't have been aware of the need for properly working brakes. I don't believe for one minute that he didn't know the law about bicycle roadworthiness, as he seemed far from being a casual cyclist that might have just hopped on to a Boris Bike, with little understanding of cycling. He had previously written on social media about removing the brakes from another bike, and enjoying the buzz of riding in traffic with no brakes.

Secondly, everyone on the road has to drive/ride in a way that means they should be able stop safely in the event of an incident like this. The risk of someone stepping off the pavement into the road is clearly greater at a junction like the one where this accident happened.

Thirdly, the victim was wrong to walk into the road without looking (apparently she was distracted by her phone, something that seems to be commonplace now). However, her reaction to step back would have been entirely natural - we all know the risk is in the road, so when someone shouts a warning the instinctive reaction has to be to get back to safety on the pavement. The fact that the cyclist chose to swerve left, towards the pavement, just shows he was an idiot. How many car drivers would take avoiding action TOWARDS pedestrians?

The technical evidence presented that a bike fitted with brakes could have stopped, or reduced it's speed such as to significantly decrease the risk of injury, was compelling, despite the protestations of the cyclist.

Finally, the judge noted that the cyclist had shown no sign of remorse, and given that a woman lost her life as a direct consequence of his actions, that seems at the very least to be just a bit callous. Combined with the social messages he published stating that the woman had only herself to blame, it doesn't exactly show him in a good light.

The problem with the law has been highlighted, though. Anyone walking around London (or any other big city) knows how some cyclists, often despatch riders, behave. At the moment, if they kill someone as a consequence of dangerous riding they are not likely to receive a significant penalty. If they were to do the same on a moped they would. The law clearly needs amending to include bicycles in the same category as mopeds, scooter etc, as far as causing death by dangerous riding is concerned.

Last edited by VP959; 24th Aug 2017 at 08:51.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 08:49
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The case is an emotive one, a brash gobshite 'kills' a decent hard working mother of two young kids. Throw the book at him!

Brash yoof (life experience will change that!) riding along a road hits distracted pedestrian who walks out in front of him and the resulting collision leaves both with injuries, him minor, her fatal head injuries.

I cycle, and in the past have done a lot, rode all types of steeds, fixed wheel included. I've never ridden on the road without brakes, though many times on the velodrome. These days rather sedately on a grandad bike, yet all the time I experience the above scenario, distracted (phone) people walking out into the road usually at an angle, not bothering to look because 'there was nothing coming', translated as they didn't hear a car, so they didn't bother to look. I've rung my bell (been laughed at) shouted (been sworn at) deftly avoided them (shouted/sworn at).....The odd one says sorry, but the vast majority are abusive, even if they are in the wrong. I cycle between 10-20mph, with consideration and respect for others and don't attempt stupid manoeuvres. I am passed by much faster racing bikes, who if my past experience says anything have even less time to react to the improbabilities of traffic and pedestrians.

I'd wager that the vast majority of people who cycle aren't aware of the laws governing cycling what is required (lighting being a prime example). I'd say that having to have a front brake by law wouldn't be on the radar at all. The hipsters who have taken to riding fixed wheel bikes and the niche market that has evolved probably don't know about the front brake law. Looking at the cyclist's bike photo, it appears that it was an 'aero' steed with no facility for a front brake at all. Perhaps it had a rear brake in tandem with the braking effect of the fixed-wheel ?

In this case I don't think having ANY brakes would have made a blind bit of difference to the outcome, less than a second to react and bang! Had the pedestrian fallen and grazed her knees, as perhaps the cyclist did, it wouldn't have made any media, save for social media rantings. The cyclist was pumped full of adrenaline (as is often the case i sudden accidents) and was more concerned with his pride and new bike than the person he'd collided with and whom he thought had cause the situation. Obviously, it was not known how badly she was injured at this point, but when looked at in retrospect the brash cyclist seems like a heartless animal.

No one wants that people are injured, but self responsibility is needed. Before crossing any road look both ways twice, listen, then proceed if it's safe to do so, all can be done in seconds. However, when immersed in a device and seemingly oblivious to anything else, this won't happen. If people walked around with their noses buried in a book we'd quite rightly round on them as fools, yet with a phone it seems to be the norm. Cyclists NEED to be aware all the time, constantly checking and scanning the environment, rather like a piano player who's reading the notes that they've not yet played.

This case is emotive and it brings up all sorts of knee-jerk reactions, but it is a separate issue from the usual 'lycra clad fools'/'cycling on pavements'/'doesn't pay any road tax'/'goes through red lights' and so on that unfortunately does happen. I have a feeling that the judgement will be as a warning to many who cycle, rather than to everyone pedestrians/cyclists/motorists.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 08:58
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Originally Posted by SpringHeeledJack View Post
In this case I don't think having ANY brakes would have made a blind bit of difference to the outcome, less than a second to react and bang!
This doesn't tally with the evidence.

The cyclist shouted two warnings, the first when he was the other side of the box junction. The time available to stop was considerably greater than the "less than a second" that the cyclist allegedly mentioned.

The police evidence, from conducting a test with a bike at the same speed and weight, but fitted with a front brake, showed that it could have stopped before hitting the victim.

The cyclist had posted on social media that he had previously removed the front brake from another bike, as riding in traffic without brakes gave him a buzz.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:02
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Sadly, the person who really knows what decision process was made in starting to cross the road is now dead. I wonder how many of us looking would consider a bike some distance away to be no risk to crossing if no vehicle traffic is around?

What is unquestionable is that the cyclist in question here is a vile, arrogant little scumbag. Had he shown one iota of remorse, or indeed being using a road legal bike, things could be viewed very differently.

But the one thing I *do* notice in life is this:

Pedestrians generally acknowledge that there are people who are idiots when walking about.

Drivers generally acknowledge that there are drivers who are idiots, speeding, running lights etc.

Cyclists generally agree with the above two.....
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:13
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The graphics used on the telly last night would suggest that there was a lot more time than three seconds.

We do not know if the pedestrian was distracted by her mobile; we will never know. But we do know that he was riding an illegal, non-roadworthy bicycle, and that contributed to the outcome. I just do not believe that he was not aware of that. In any case, ignorance is not a defence.

As for his attitude afterwards and his lack of remorse, it will make it a lot worse for him now. The judge told him he will be facing a custodial sentence. The only shame is that it will not be any more than two years, though I do wonder if he could be banned from riding a bicycle for a period beyond that.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:14
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The cyclist was approaching a junction with the lights on green, at the moment the woman stepped into the road on the far side. Apparently there were no vehicles also approaching from that direction, which is just as well or the consequences could have been even worse. I doubt that the pedestrian stepped out without looking at all, but she probably saw no cars and failed to see the bike - her mistake. When she responded to his shouts, she did step back, only to find that the cyclist was heading towards the kerb too. It looks very much as if the cyclist didn't even try to stop but decided to steer past her instead.
The police tests using one of their own bikes found that they were able to stop safely.

Returning to the OP comment about the manslaughter charge, the CPS wanted to use Causing Death by Dangerous Driving, but this only applies to motor vehicles. I'd guess they tried the manslaughter charge anyway knowing that it would fail but as a signal to the court of the seriousness of the case so as to get the maximum penalty for the lesser charge
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:15
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The front brake accounts for (I think) something like 80-90% of the available braking on a bike, not to have one on the road is plain stupid. There's a lot of kids on BMXs doing the same, as on skateboard ramps the front brake gets in the way of various tricks they want to do. They weave in and out of pedestrians in our local town's shopping street (pedestrianised) all the time, despite the no cycling signs.
Wonder what the outcome would have been if he'd been driving a car with non-functioning front brakes?
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:28
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As an aside to the debate about who to blame, I have noticed that "Getouttamyf*ckingway" seems to be many cyclists' only form of warning that they will run you down if you don't leap to one side or another.

I last heard it twice yesterday, once from a cyclist swerving among pedestrians on the pavement in our busy High Street, and once from another cyclist on a well-surfaced, (ie fast) path shared by cyclists and pedestrians along a river bank.

In each case it was the only warning, and the cyclist was travelling at a speed at which avoiding anyone who did not leap out of the way would have been impossible.

in a discussion among the group on the shared foot/cycle path after the idiot had disappeared, someone suggested carrying a heavy stick to push into the spokes of cyclists who do that. Or indeed just hit the cyclist.

It's a good idea and I think I'll take it up.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:32
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The thread title could also read "The no Brain bike case".
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 09:36
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Has anyone ever seen a bicycle courier stop for a red light ?
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 10:03
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It's a good idea and I think I'll take it up.
I already do. Already had a [email protected] shouting for me to get out of his f***ing way while riding on a pavement (the wrong way down a one way street, as if that would bother him) and then call me an "Ignorant bastard" when I didn't move, forcing him to swerve.

Unfortunately he didn't return to converse with me when I politely (not really) suggested we might discuss the matter. To cap it all, of course, a car load of coppers were sitting in a queue alongside me and took not a blind bit of notice as they were too busy laughing and joking among themselves, and ignored my polite (no - not really) requests to do something about it.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 10:30
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We do not know if the pedestrian was distracted by her mobile; we will never know.
I'm fairly sure that was stated in court and not challenged. If so this must surely count as contributory negligence on the unfortunate woman's part. Elsewhere on social media I have seen a discussion (amongst women) of the modern phenomenon of mothers with pushchairs, heads down in their phones, pushing their offspring straight out into traffic without looking.

Yes, the guy comes across as an arrogant prat, but I really hope the judge takes into account the woman's own contribution to the accident when sentencing.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 10:42
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I'd be supportive of a bill to make cyclists responsible for damage/injury that they cause, but I'd like to see a bill that makes pedestrians responsible for ANYTHING that transpires whilst they are busy looking at the centre of their universe. The number of times that I've been impeded, bumped into, and witnessed countless other incidents on the pavements (I walk a lot), not to mention those walking into the road, crossing on a contrary signal light and of course anyone in control of a vehicle.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 11:03
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It is along time since I read the highway code, but I feel sure it feel sure of which two brakes, a bell and reflectors, the latter two are rarely fitted. I have also noticed many BMX bikes used on paths and roads on a footpaths do not have a front bike.

The answer is for the police to issue a defect form, in the same way a defect form for a car, say a faulty brake like. This is how it would work.
(a) Police stops cyclist
(b) Finds a fault, then issues a defect form
(c) Cyclist has the bike repaired or sghed out for say a fee of say 10
(d) Cyclist return defect notice
(e) Failure to do the above and it is a fixed penaly of 30

Of course my suggestion is flawed, while we have twenty thousand to few police officers.

As for the cylist's commentson social media, it wssn't the best idea, and I'm sure he got blasted by the prosecution. However in balance the guy could have been suffering from severve shock under the circumstances.
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Old 24th Aug 2017, 11:19
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Originally Posted by Sallyann1234 View Post
According to the graphics on TV last night he was far more than 3 metres away, on the opposite side of a box junction.
He had time to twice call out "Get out of my fckucking way", which suggests he had time to pull up with proper brakes.
Police tests with a normal bike confirmed this.
What would be nice now is for motorists who kill pedestrians (and cyclists) to be treated in the same way, rather than not being prosecuted at all which seems to be the norm.
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