Thursday, 3 May 2012

Inquest into the death of Svitlana Tereschenko

Ross Lydall reports in today's The Evening Standard the comments of the Deputy Coroner, Dr Shirley Radcliffe, that 'nobody is to blame' for the death of Ms Tereschenko on the Bow roundabout last November.

This has prompted me to update my criminal sentencing table with cases as they come to my attention where no charges have been pursued against the driver who has collided fatally with a cyclist.


  1. Further cause for deep concern about the injustice for cyclists, their relatives and friends. Only when all violent deaths and injuries are taken equally seriously, and the outrageous motorists' discount is ended, will there be a real incentive for drivers to take genuine care around VRUs.

    One wonders if and when the concerns raised by the head of Scotland Yard’s Road Death Investigation Unit will be finally taken seriously.
    As mentioned in the Times on February 13th 2012.
    Link for those who missed it:

  2. This case highlights a great big hole in the protections afforded under current legislation.

    If the very same tipper lorry had killed someone in similar circumstances before leaving the 2012 construction site, then the defense of not seeing the victim because they were in a known blind spot would not offer any where near the same level of protection to the operators against prosecution. The HSE would take the view that the very fact the operators were aware of a blind spot, but had not taken every reasonable precaution to mitigate against it leading to an incident, as indicative of a degree of culpability through negligence.

    The anomaly is that once the tipper lorry leaves the construction site and enters the public highway then it is no longer the HSE who are responsible, and the blind spot is now more likely to be seen by the police or CPS as an unavoidable contributory factor to any incident that occurs, and one for which nobody can be held responsible.

  3. What an appallingly perverse judgement. The driver was aware of the blind spot, was aware that he was driving in a busy public space, and yet was having a conversation on his mobile phone and didn't indicate his turn. How much less care could he have taken?

    "the truck driver was in breach of the Highway Code in using his phone and failing to indicate but had not broken the law" - so does this mean that so long as you don't break the law, you can be as careless with other people's lives as you like? Apparently "yes", but only when driving a motor vehicle on a public road...

  4. On your spreadsheet/google doc, would it be possible to add a column and say what the driver was charged with (if anything)? Also maybe a footnote or a link at the bottom of the doc to sentencing guidelines for the various offences.

  5. I don't understand. Was the statement that the driver was not guilty, even though he wasn't signalling, correct?

  6. It really is hard to see how it doesn't constitute at least an offence of careless driving to be on one's telephone at such a busy junction while driving a large truck and to be so distracted as not to indicate. There seems to be a paradigm in the mind of many law-enforcement officials that cyclists are going to get killed no matter what, so it's really no-one's fault. It's absurd. While the woman probably should not have positioned herself where she did, it's clearly the driver's responsibility to maneouvre in such a way that he endangers no-one else. He should have been indicating and checking his blind spots.

  7. Is this the kind of thing the Netherlands can learn from us about road safety?

    I particularly take exception to the statement in the Standard article:

    "I think it’s very important that cyclists are constantly reminded of the great danger the vehicles pose - the positions where they are very vulnerable and which they should avoid at all costs.”

    Yet more pig-ignorant drivel from officials. So it's "cyclists" (people) not "bicycles" (inanimate), against "vehicles" (inanimate) not "drivers" (people). Also I would have said "most vulnerable" - given that most cycling KSIs come from behind a cyclist is always very vulnerable - I can't predict what the next driver bearing down on me will do. I also think "at all costs" is a little unfortunate given that the cyclist paid the ultimate cost. At least the "great danger" is acknowledged, though it seems to be regarded as a permanent state.

  8. And what is the Traffic Commissioner Metropolitan & SE Area's position on this and other fatalities caused by a failing from a vocational licence holder, for which he is the governing agent.

    Should we call for him to automatically suspend a vocational licence if the holder is driving a vehicle that has killed, pending a Police report on the circumstances.

    He might also wish to check the record on the required vocational training modules. The last Commissioners' report noted substantial failings in HGV operators and drivers delivering this to target schedules.

  9. Absolutely ridiculous. How can Dr Radcliffe and PC Thorne get away with spouting the tripe at an inquest?