Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Alliston trial

A heavy handed prosecution against a cyclist for manslaughter has failed but a charge of ‘furious or wanton driving’ has succeeded.
In 2016 more than 400 pedestrians were killed on UK roads.  Each a terrible tragedy to those involved and almost all avoidable.  One of these casualties, Kim Briggs, died following a collision between herself and a teenaged cyclist, Charlie Alliston.  She was extraordinarily unfortunate.  Research indicates that 10% of pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle at 20 mph are killed.  A rider on a lightweight bike will have less than one tenth the mass and therefore kinetic energy and momentum of an average car and the speed of impact was said by the prosecution to be ‘up to 14 mph’.  Yet tragically the unsuccessful efforts of Mrs Briggs and Mr Alliston to avoid each other on 12th February 2016 led to her death from a brain injury.  This is a very rare occurrence indeed and has received much publicity.  We are inured to the 400 or so pedestrian deaths linked to motorised traffic but not to the vanishingly rare occasions that they are linked to bicycles.
It is also no coincidence that the one death of a pedestrian involving a cyclist is also the one case where a manslaughter charge has followed.  This is reported to be a first.  It is also one of the few cases where wanton or furious driving has been charged.  These are both offences triable only in the Crown Court and were no doubt selected in preference to summary offences (triable by magistrates) due to the perceived seriousness of the offending and its consequences.  Alliston could have been charged with any one or more of the lesser summary offences of breaching the Construction and Use Regulations, of dangerous cycling or of careless cycling.  Prosecutors appear to have wished to get around the fact that Parliament has not legislated for causing death by careless or dangerous cycling offences.
The allegation against Alliston essentially related to the absence of any front brake on his bicycle.  From reports of the evidence given at trial it seems clear that Mrs Briggs stepped out onto the road into the path of Mr Alliston.    Mr Alliston has always been adamant this was so (including in some very poorly judged on-line forum comments that he made in the days following the incident when Mrs Briggs lay in hospital) and the prosecution, who had access to CCTV and witnesses, did not contend otherwise.  Instead it was alleged that with a front brake Alliston would have been able to stop before any collision took place.
The bicycle concerned was designed and built for use on the track.  Track bicycles do not have gears or a free wheel.  If the rear wheel is spinning then so are the pedals and any attached legs.  They also, for sound safety reasons on the track, do not have front brakes.  Braking on a track bicycle is achieved by resisting the spinning of the back wheel with the legs.  Fixed rear wheels (or ‘fixies) are not confined to the track, they are increasingly used on the road though the road variant differs from the track bike in having a front brake.
The requirement for a front brake is set out in The Pedal Cycle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983.  Regulation 7(1) provides that every bicycle must be equipped with at least one braking system.  Mr Alliston’s bicycle satisfied this test.  However because his saddle was more than 635 mm from the ground Alliston was also required by Regulation 7(b) to have ‘a braking system operating on the front wheel’.    He had no such front wheel brake and could have been prosecuted for a breach of this Regulation, a summary offence resulting in a fine. 
Front brakes are important on bicycles.  In an emergency a skilled cyclist will get all their stopping force from the front brake because of the effect of the bicycle and rider decelerating.  Unlike a car, or a heavy police-issue mountain bike, the limit of effective braking on dry level ground is reached at the point where the rear wheel lifts off the ground potentially pitching the rider over the handlebars.  Studies in David Wilson’s seminal work ‘Bicycling Science’ demonstrate that a deceleration of 0.5g is the maximum that a seated rider can risk before he goes over the handlebars.  Unlike a car driver a cyclist cannot safely achieve the limit of adhesion of the tyre to the road, which in the dry is typically about 0.8g.  Braking with the rear wheel alone can achieve only 0.256g before the rear wheel locks up and skids.  Wilson also cites reliable research that in wet weather conventional block on rim braking distances are increased by a factor of four. 
Expert evidence from the police for the prosecution was that Alliston had been going at 18mph (8 m/s) and that his braking distance was 12 metres.  From experiments on other bicycles, including a police mountain bike, it was alleged that with a front brake he would have been able to stop in 3 metres.  In cross-examination it was suggested to him that with a ‘butcher’s bike’ with good brakes, he could have avoided the collision.  There is no record that Alliston had his own expert to give evidence or that the risk of tipping over the handlebars was considered.  The 3 metre braking distance is frankly absurd.  Newtonian physics using Wilson’s calculated 0.5g yields 6.5 metres with the front brake and 13 metres without it.  The difference is a factor or two, not four.  Given that the prosecution case was that Alliston was 6.53 metres away when Mrs Briggs stepped out, this difference is crucial.  The Highway Code gives a typical stopping distance of 12 metres for a car driving at 20 mph, suggesting that if Mrs Briggs had stepped into the path of a ‘slow’ moving car the driver would not have been able to avoid her.  Like a driver Alliston has to be given some reaction and thinking time.  He shouted twice and gave evidence that he moved to pass behind her when she stepped backwards.  Any cyclist will confirm that quick steering may be preferable to emergency braking when avoiding a pedestrian.
Of course Alliston should have had a front brake.  He was unaware of the legal requirement for one and thought himself reasonably safe relying on rear braking.  He was wrong and deserves punishment for that offence.  Manslaughter though requires either gross negligence or that the Defendant committed an offence that was dangerous and caused death.  Dangerous has been taken, at least in a road traffic context, restrictively.  For example motorists whose speeding or failure to give way causes a fatal collision are far more likely to face charges of causing death by careless driving than they are manslaughter charges.  The risk Alliston presented to a pedestrian stepping out in front of him was no greater than that presented by a car doing 20 mph and his braking distance remained half that of a fully equipped road bike in the wet.  Presumably nobody suggests it is dangerous to ride in wet conditions.    Alliston’s dreadful post collision comments reveal that he was far too reliant upon other road users doing the right thing and that he should have been prepared to react to pedestrians moving in any direction.  Nonetheless the evidence gives rise to a significant possibility that he was reacting as best he could ‘in the agony of the moment’ in circumstances where charges would be unlikely against a motorist.
The charge of ‘wanton or furious’ driving is also puzzling.  Although the archaic 1861 wording could encompass more, it generally relates to speed.  Reports of the prosecution’s closing speech reveal this case to be no exception with reference to a ‘machine built for speed’ (apparently said without irony given what else is on our streets).  This may have been glossed with the rather circular argument that the speed was too high for a bicycle with no front brake.  On any objective view, 18mph is a cautious speed and on a busy London Street matching the speed of other traffic, rather than going much slower, is a wise precaution.  Any suggestion that it is too fast applies a peculiar double standard and would potentially criminalise many riders.   Alliston was cross examined about his lack of a safety helmet and his penchant for certain stunt riders which were said to demonstrate some unacceptable risk taking attitude.  However, notwithstanding the proliferation of CCTV throughout London, the prosecution had found not a jot of evidence that Alliston’s riding resembled that in an ‘alley cat’ movie.  None of this has any bearing, beyond the purely prejudicial, to a young man travelling at 18 mph down a busy London road.    Some press reports were full of language (‘ploughed into’ etc.) that is seldom seen when a car driver (or as was being dealt with in a nearby Court, a speeding motorcycle rider) runs down a pedestrian.  Alliston may not have revealed himself to be a very attractive character and no one can fail to feel anguish about the terrible waste of yet another life.  However there is a lot about the bringing of charges at this level, and the conviction for furious or wanton cycling to cause substantial disquiet notwithstanding Alliston’s acquittal on the manslaughter charge.  If it is going to make any meaningful contribution to the reduction of danger on the roads, our criminal justice system needs to recalibrate away from the prejudice that motoring is innocuous and cycling dangerous and towards controlling the behaviour of those imposing greatest risk.

208 comments:

  1. Interestingly the Guardian report on the conviction mentioned that he never more a helmet. Presumably this was something that came up in court, but I am quite unsure of the relevance.

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    1. The pedestrian wasn't wearing a helmet either, which would presumably have had more of an impact on the outcome?

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    2. I imagine the relevance of not wearing a helmet is that it is an indication of a negligent and reckless attitude towards safety.

      Something that should be taken into account when assessing degree of blame when considering his guilt or innocence and severity of punishment if guilty.

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    3. I believe that the calculation of impact energy of cyclist at 18mph and car at 14mph they got wrong. As far as I remember from physics lesson (long time ago) is something like energy of moving object is mass x square of speed x some constant. So by that impact energy of car travelling at 14mph is something like cyclist travelling at 42mph. In other words cyclist travelling at 18mph does energy impact like car (10 times heavier) travelling at about 6mph. That is my opinion, I might be wrong.

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    4. Energy = 1/2 mass.velocity squared

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    5. Wearing of helmets is known to cause more reckless behaviour, not less.

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    6. To: Anonymous 27 August 2017 at 19:58
      That’s right. So impact of body travelling at 14mph is same as body 10x lighter travelling at 14x square root of 10 (=3.16), which makes it 44.24mph. Or cyclist going 18mph is same impact as car at 5.69 mph.

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    7. Peter - evidence please?

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  2. There was talk of their heads smashing together. Presumably they want cyclists to wear helmets to protect the heads of non helmet wearing pedestrians ? That's all I can think of it.

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  3. I disagree that 18mph is a cautious speed (for a cyclist) in London whilst passing a group of pedestrians: the cyclist is far less visible than a car for which the limit is likely 20mph.

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    1. Schrodinger's cyclist again. Simultaneously travelling too fast yet too slowly.

      Try cycling in traffic at even 18mph and wait for the abuse you get.

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    2. You are passing pedestrians on the pavement much of the time in a city so slowing for them is not practicable. You are also on the road in traffic going 35mph past your shoulder so you need to keep up with that traffic as best you can for your own safety. The faster you go the more time drivers have behind to observe you before they need to alter their course to avoid hitting you from behind. Obviously when passing pedestrians and there is no traffic behind you would be sensible to move wide and cover your brakes - remember the cyclist is more likely to be injured than the pedestrian in such a collision as he/she has a lot of kinetic energy when hitting the ground.

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    3. Passing pedestrians on the pavement? Who is cycling on pavements? It's illegal to do so, unless you are a child.

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    4. Cyclist on road, pedestrians on pavement. I'm sure you knew that and were just being a dick.

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    5. "You are passing pedestrians on the pavement much of the time in a city so slowing for them is not practicable. You are also on the road in traffic going 35mph past your shoulder so you need to keep up with that traffic as best you can for your own safety."

      I'm not really sure that's a defense that can be used in this case. My understanding was that the traffic was reasonably light at the time- I highly doubt a woman would have stepped into the road had there been vehicular traffic on the road. Sure, if there's traffic around you pick up the pace a little bit, but consciously or otherwise you balance the risk by reasoning that interference from the footpath is less likely. If streets are traffic light, you HAVE to be on the lookout for pedestrians who just aren't looking out for bikes, and the best way to be in a better position to avoid someone stepping out is to slow down.

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    6. So she wouldnt have stepped out infront of a car but would infront of a bike?

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    7. Littleleyscrafts24 August 2017 at 13:58
      So she wouldnt have stepped out infront of a car but would infront of a bike?

      Well...no, in all likelihood she wouldn't have. Like it or not, pedestrians just aren't conditioned to look out for bikes, at least in the UK. I cycle in York every day, one of the most cycle friendly and aware places in the country, and every day I end up slowing down/ringing my bell/avoiding pedestrians who just aren't looking out for me.

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    8. According to Mail Online 21 Aug 2017 the accident happened in Old Street, not far from Rivington Street. That section of Old Street is two lanes plus bus lane. Going 18mph on bike there is reasonable, even slow. I bet not many cars travelling there under 30mph. Anybody starring at their mobile phone, crossing road 10 meters from pedestrian crossing and not looking where they going are like having a death wish.

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    9. @Simon - so face the abuse you coward. Face it instead of running away and risking others' lives. I cycled today all afternoon at 8mph in traffic and nobody abused me.

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    10. @unknown - that's insane. For one thing central London is 20mph. For another, we're all responsible for avoiding what's in front of us, not what's behind. It's a division of labour. If motorists are breaking the law that's not a reason to. You simply have to cycle at a speed safe for those in front and trust that those behind you won't kill you.

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    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I quite agree, it is completely outrageous that a cyclist has been made to face the consequences of driving like a lunatic in London!
    We are all fully aware that cyclists can (and do) get away with a dangerous disregard to all other road users, surely this should be enshrined in law?
    When does a red light not apply - When the cyclists goes on the pavement!
    Who has to give way to 'Mamils' - Everyone!

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    1. Driving (sic) like a lunatic? Hmm. Riding without a front brake certainly needed looking at but other wise I see little "lunacy" reported. I think the main objection is not a cyclist being prosecuted but with the disparity in prosecuting of drivers v prosecuting cyclists. Driving deaths, as the article mentioned, have been accepted/normalised, a cyclist kills someone and it's front page news. I'm all for beefing up the prosecution process of road users causing injuries/deaths of others, but currently it seems to be very one sided. If a car was doing 18mph I'm sure the defence would be quoting it widely as evidence of safe driving, under the limit, a cyclist does the same and it's outrageously fast.

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    2. You seem to be missing the point. This eloquent article is referring specifically to this case. You and others seem to forget that a pedestrian stepped out into the road with total disregard for whether there was any traffic approaching. Regardless of whether a cyclist or a car is travelling along that very road at speed, pedestrians should not just step out in front of them!

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    3. You seem to forget the convicted criminal was riding an illegal bike.

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    4. An illegal bike: The article claims at length that this did not affect the outcome of the collision, and that the cyclist could never plausibly have stopped in 6.5 meters. Driving an illegal bike is an offence but it's not the offence he ended up being prosecuted for.

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    5. The convicted criminal was riding an illegal bike illegally which led to the death of a woman. This article is entirely conjecture - had Alliston has a brake, it is highly likely he would have slowed enough for the collision to not have been fatal, avoiding death. The point as to whether the bike could have stopped is actually moot. The brake is the key factor here, it is, and no amount of continued brain washing should make anyone think otherwise. A manslaughter charge was justified. As Porter points out - this should 100% be prosecuted far more in driving offences as well.

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    6. Donk24 August 2017 at 08:41
      Publicity, YES, quite interesting. Here is a list of publicity articles what I found and still counting.
      BBC 4 articles
      Evening Standard 1 article
      Guardian 3 article
      Hackney Gazette 4 articles
      Huffington Post 8 articles
      Independent 1 article
      Irish Times 1 article
      Daily Mail/Mail online 3 articles
      Metro 1 article
      News – Start (Carlisle) 1 article
      Road cc 2 articles
      Sky News 1 article
      Telegraph 1 article
      Jamie Grierson in his article in Guardian on 15 Aug 2017 got his article with help of agencies. How many agencies did he get it from? Is there any publicity agency that family of deceased employed?
      Jamie Grierson in Guardian 0n 23 Aug 2017 apparently worked so frantically that he got the name of judge wrong. He wrote “The judge, Wendy Thomas,”, instead of Judge Wendy Joseph QC.
      Also interesting Huffington Post 24 Aug 2017: “Lawyer Keith Barrett, of Fieldfisher law firm, said he was pursuing a civil claim on behalf of the Briggs family. . .” and “Alliston was bailed until his sentencing on September 18”. Not ambulance chasing this time?
      Unfortunately yesterday, Sunday 27 Aug 2017 2PM there was a serious and similar collision between cyclist and pedestrian in vicinity of above mentioned collision, on traffic lights controlled junction of Old Street, Hackney Road and A10 Kingsland Road. What I saw male cyclist had 2 brakes racing style bicycle and seem to have scratched nose and woman of about 30 years of age was motionless on stretchers.
      Anybody guesses what publicity will be afforded to this mishap?

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    7. Anonymous 24 August 2017 at 16:41
      “You seem to forget the convicted criminal was riding an illegal bike.” As I am aware that no cyclist was prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned before this case for riding bicycle with only one break. It is possibly to claim that it is established practice in London and therefore a legal under Customary Law.
      Exactly like riding on pavement. Under Highway code section 64 “You MUST NOT ride on a pavement.” However, you can ride on pavement if it is designated in whole or in part for use as cycling track.

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    8. You seem to forget the convicted criminal was riding an illegal bike. Maybe the offence hasn't been charged before because, er.... no one had been killed? Come on guys, you're making yourselves look like obtuse, HIDEOUS human beings here. 'Did the family have a publicity agency?' SERIOUSLY? Stop acting like a bunch of c**ts and people might not treat you like c**ts.

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  5. "If it is going to make any meaningful contribution to the reduction of danger on the roads, our criminal justice system needs to recalibrate away from the prejudice that motoring is innocuous and cycling dangerous and towards controlling the behaviour of those imposing greatest risk."

    This is whataboutery. Cycling usually usually isn't performed in an unacceptably risky manner, but sometimes is. The actual victims of such behaviour are no less owed the application of existing criminal law norms, than are victims of unacceptable risks to which the public are more frequently subjected.

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    1. I disagree with the unsubstantiated claim here that there is a prejudice that motoring is innocuous and cycling dangerous I would suggest that both are extremely dangerous on today's roads and that cycling legislation needs tightening up on a par with other road users. At present, cyclists are a law unto themselves.

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    2. Cycling and motoring are not equally dangerous to pedestrians.

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    3. @anonymous - yet both are capable of crossing the threshold of unacceptable risk to others, as this case amply demonstrates. The fact more motorists more easily expose others to those risks is in no way exculpatory of the criminally risky cyclist. A risk-based approach should apply to reduce the threshold for motorist liability but it in no way should alter the application of conventional criminal law norms to cyclists.

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    4. And pedestrians go through far more red lights than motorists and cyclists combined.

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  6. Judge says Charlie Alliston has shown "not one iota of remorse"

    Not exactly true:

    “I feel bad due to the seriousness of her injuries but I can put my
    hand up and say this is not my fault.”

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    1. Yes, the EVIDENCE supplied by the prosecution actually demonstrates remorse. The Judge is factually incorrect.

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    2. His statement roughly translates as "sorry not sorry". Paying lip-service to an apology is not the same as showing remorse, and given that the judge has presided over the trial, has seen his reactions to questions first hand (both in terms of his words AND his tone/body language), I'd be inclined to trust her opinion.

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  7. Your use of wet weather stopping distances is not relevant and anyway, riders (like drivers) should take extra care in wet conditions, which you have ignored. You've also ignored the obligation all road users have to be observant of all conditions in their field of vision, such as pedestrians moving in a manner that might present heightened risk and that should result in greater caution being taken by the cyclist. Whilst not being privy to all the evidence, it seems the rider was taking little if any caution as a result of his observations and possibly knowingly took extra risk given the circumstances before him - another factor you have failed to take account of. Even your suggestion of 'normal' speeds involved ignore the fact that, without adequate braking, the rider should have taken extra caution.

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    1. Pedestrians are not absolved from an obligation of care to other road users. It's not clear but it appears the victim stepped out without looking.

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    2. There are THIRTY FIVE detailed Rules in the Highway Code for pedestrians. Pedestrians should take extra care when crossing the carriageway and in this case she stepped into a road users path presumably without looking. I do wonder if she was in her car instead of on foot she also would have pulled out in front of this cyclist and possibly killed him.

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    3. Highway Code rules are not legally required unless they include the word 'MUST'.

      There are only four such rules - don't walk on a motorway, don't loiter on a pedestrian crossing, don't hold onto a moving vehicle, and don't cross a railway crossing at red.

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    4. Disobey a 'must/must not' and you are breaking a law. Go against a 'should/should not' and it may increase your share of blame for a collision.

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  8. Any mention of Charlie not wearing a helmet is incredibly ironic, given the likelihood that a helmet would have saved the victim here if she'd been wearing one. I presume that is going to be mentioned as mitigation in the same way it would be when a cyclist is killed by a driver?

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    1. Indeed, if a cyclist is killed with no helmet or bright clothing on it is his/her fault. If a pedestrian is not wearing a helmet or bright clothing - not mentioned.

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  9. Remorse: "deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed".

    Someone who maintains that they did no wrong cannot, by definition, be said to have expressed remorse.

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  10. A good piece from Mr Porter. He quotes one item of evidence though that seems to contradict reported evidence I have read, namely that Alliston was 6.53m away when Mrs Briggs stepped out, but CCTV evidence I read said Mrs Briggs stepped out 3.8 seconds before the impact (which would be about 30m away at 18mph). I think this is important because 30m would give time to stop. Can Mr Porter clarify this evidence.

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  11. "Given that the prosecution case was that Alliston was 6.53 metres away when Mrs Briggs stepped out, this difference is crucial."

    I'm not quite sure that this (and your subsequent comment regarding car stopping distances) is correct.

    From the reporting I'd read, Alliston swerved to avoid Briggs at 6.53m.

    The fact that he swerved at 6.53m would suggest that his "thinking time" had already been completed (he'd seen the hazard, processed it, and taken corrective action).

    The Highway Code gives a stopping distance for a car as 12m (6m thinking, 6m braking) - so had Alliston been in a car he would likely have been able to stop in time without hitting Briggs. Equally, under your calculations, Alliston would have also been able to come to a complete stop before coming into contact with Briggs, had he had a front brake.

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    1. he would have had to make two separate sets of thought, the initial one when further away and use of his 'brake', then a second one when closer to the deceased when he decided that steering behind at a slow speed (10mph was in the range right?) was the best option. That's at least 3 seconds just for thinking(2x1.5 for unexpected events), plus mechanical action time in each case which then takes you past the 3.8 seconds from whence the deceased first stepped off the kerb. That means no chance to further brake after the first thought/slowing down process because the second shout/thought is also in reaction to another unexpected event of the deceased stepping back into the path of the person on a bike.
      The case should have being called for a mistrial due to the false/misleading evidence given by the prosecution with respect to the 3m stopping distance which is an absolutely disgusting misrepresentation of the facts yet had a huge part of the whole case against him. That and describing him as "racing" which is also a lie/falsehood.

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    2. riding a racing bike WHY? cos he wants to go fast!

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  12. Who was defending him? As MP QC points out, no reporting of expert defence evidence. Surely an obvious mistake in the light of the prosecution expert evidence based on the braking distance of a disc-braked police MTB!

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  13. I find your Guardian article pretty extraordinary. He was prosecuted and convicted - are you therefore saying that the jury were incorrect to do so? Are you potentially undermining the judge who will do the sentencing on this?

    You are an advocate for cycling, and I think that has coloured your views on this. You are completely right that we need to prosecute dangerous driving with a vehicle far more stringently and look at sentencing - a car is a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. But to say that this man, who has shown *no* remorse for this crime, shouldn't be prosecuted because dangerous driving isn't prosecuted effectively is utterly, utterly bizarre.

    Just because this woman's death was caused by a bicycle doesn't diminish it, extraordinarily unlucky as it was.

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    1. Additionally, it should not have been published as anything other than an opinion piece. It's not being presented as such, and I think that is wrong.

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    2. How does being an advocate for cycling influence your views on culpability in a road accident? He is a specialist in law and is interpreting that law.

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    3. This is his opinion, coloured by his views on drivers. Go look up his court case. This is not an unbiased legal examination of the issues. As I put in my original comment, just because dangerous driving isn't prosecuted effectively, it doesn't mean dangerous cycling shouldn't be. The Guardian subheading is extremely distasteful.

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    4. "But to say that this man, who has shown *no* remorse for this crime, shouldn't be prosecuted because dangerous driving isn't prosecuted effectively is utterly, utterly bizarre."

      This is a classic rhetorical and logical fallacy known as "tu quoque" (look at this other person's crimes instead of my own). Any person familiar with the ten commandments of logic would be ashamed to use this kind of logic.

      My side: I abhor violence, and anyone on a bike or a car chasing speed for its own sake and not using proper safety regulations for braking deserves to be prosecuted with the same "remorse" that this cretin has shown: i.e. none. I say this both as a cyclist and a driver, who has been in accidents in both (I was hit by a truck recently, thankfully mildly).

      If he had had no breaks on his truck, he would be in jail right now. Rightfully.

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  14. Valid points about prosecution of cyclist incomparable with "the usual" pedestrian deaths involving motorists. But was there no mention of a bell being fitted and used? And in a busy street (lunchtime, people milling around) road users need to take extra care, of course.

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    1. If you think a bell would have made a difference(it wouldn't) why isn't it a legal compulsion? The defendant vocalised twice to the deceased, they ignored this and still dithered/stepped out. he retarded his speed, took avoiding action and was still found guilty. Now every person who rides a bicycle is held to an even higher level of accountability than any other road user type, Even higher than it was before.
      We are screwed!

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    2. "But was there no mention of a bell being fitted and used?"

      That's a fairly irrelevant question. There's no legal requirement to have a bell on your bike, and the defendant shouted at the victim, which is probably more likely to gain attention than a bell.

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    3. No matter how strong you feel ynotnilknarf39 - that language is extremely disrespectful towards a woman, who is now dead. Don't be as bad as the defendant.

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    4. Bells are utterly pointless, unheard by pedestrians with headphones in, ignored by most others and seemingly infuriating to a proportion of the rest who interpret them as "get out of my way" instead of "excuse me" or "don't jump out of your skin when you finally look around and notice me". Much better to use your voice.

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  15. 'Extraordinarily unfortunate' ?? That is one way of putting it, as though the court hasn't found the cyclist to be responsible !! And he hasn't shown 'any remorse' !! It is about time that these two-wheeled dickheads were brought to book, and that other cyclists learned a bloody lesson.

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    1. "...time these two-wheeled dickheads were brought to book, and that other cyclists learned a bloody lesson." And there it is, "a bloody lesson." What kind of "bloody lesson" would you like? Spine crushed under the wheels of a tipper truck? That sort of lesson? Away back to the Daily Mail with your bigotry. YOUR comments are an utter disgrace.

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    2. Quite right - this blog is expressly for cycling bigots. Anyone who doesn't undertake long vehicles, use the pavement as a third lane on a two lane highway and shout and swear at pedestrians is not permitted an opinion on the subject. Anyone who is not a cyclist is wrong by definition and deserves everything they get.
      I quite like the idea of joining in and being an arrogant inconsiderate bigot - what sort of bike should I purchase?

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    3. "I quite like the idea of joining in and being an arrogant inconsiderate bigot - what sort of bike should I purchase?"

      You appear to have started rather well even without a bicycle.

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  16. MARTIN: in relation to the point about swerving round a sudden obstacle in the road - rather than braking to a halt. I've another issue you didn't note. It is very hazardous to suddenly halt on a bike due to the danger from being hit by traffic immediately behind which having no rear mirror you can not see nor easily monitor. Arguably 'emergency stopping' on a cycle is in fact impossible to do safely as a car immediately behind (electrics are very quiet) will neither see brake lights nor be able to stop as quickly as a bike with good brakes. In addition another cyclist/s close behind could crash into you too. So Cyclists need to check behind before stopping suddenly and if things are changing dynamically in front you might not have time to check so the safest option is indeed to swerve while slowing or braking steadily. In essence bikes can not safely stop as suddenly as vehicles without putting the cyclist in extreme danger as they have ZERO protection from rear impact. In addition there is the issue of road surface - were the Police tests done on a sound, flat, clean surface? You can not be sure of that on average roads especially round junctions so full hard braking is again dangerous for that reason and progressive braking/swerving can be safer.

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  17. 18 mph = 8 metres in a second. Only 5 seconds to a non hazardous speed.

    An alert and fit rider needs 0.75 of a second thinking time. This is debatable? I think it is less than this. At other times I have found shouting is quicker than ringing a bell. it all happens so suddenly.

    http://begin-motorcycling.co.uk/the-5-elements-of-cbt/element-c/braking/

    A bicycle cannot stop as quickly as a car.

    I reckon on my heavy bike I could have not avoided the collision, but it would have been a slower impact and I would have got injured as well. In practice there is usually swerve time to miss the obstacle. Then it is just luck that the pedestrian doesn't serve the same way as you. I cannot assume they go foward but just as likely they see you at the last second and step backwards.

    PS: I'm still suffering bad gyp when a pedestrian stepped out in front of me over fifty years ago.

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  18. The cyclist here had an illegal bike. He blamed the victim rather than accepting any culpability. If this had been a driver in a souped up car with illegal features and they showed no remorse, all the commenters here would be up in arms. And yet Mr. Porter accused the CPS of double standards? A woman is dead. Have some dignity.

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    1. On the contrary, consider some other cases where a car driver has killed a cyclist.

      How about:
      "Robert Harris, 47, was fined for having three defective tyres when he lost control on "black ice" and ploughed into 12 members of Rhyl Cycling Club, killing four and injuring the other eight."

      Or google Gail Purcell.

      Charlie Alliston was rightly prosecuted, but it seems he would have had an easier time of it if he had been driving a car rather than riding a bicycle.

      Delete
    2. All those deaths are a tragedy, and completely unnecessary. But I must point out that the car drivers in those had not deliberately taken out onto the road an illegal vehicle, unlike Alliston. (I do not believe Alliston was unaware of the illegality of the lack of front brake.) Both those cases involved people showing genuine remorse. Those are the key differences here. Dangerous driving prosecutions & sentencing need a drastic overhaul but that can't be used as an excuse not to prosecute dangerous cycling.

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    3. What about Robert Harris? Surely having three 'defective' (read bald) tyres is an illegal vehicle?

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    4. If you read the judgement, it shows they were not a contributory factor to the accident. Negligent certainly. But not the cause.

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    5. Something I haven't seen mentioned yet is how utterly useless a front brake would be on a fixed wheel bike. Personally I don't ride 'fixies' (although they are touted as being good urban/city bikes and are the choice of cycle couriers worldwide) but there's a reason they don't use them.

      When you're braking with your legs throwing in a front brake can only serve to at best destabilise you or worst just pitch you over the bars.

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    6. Has the absence of a front brake in this case been proven conclusively and beyond reasonable doubt? From what I have read on this case that does not seem to be so. Even a foolish young man is entitled to fair and objective justice. A man of 47 in possession of a car with 3 defective tyresdriving on icy roads is by comparison a gibbering loon.

      Delete
    7. Abu. Yes. Absolutely 100%!!!!

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  19. 'Manslaughter though requires either gross negligence or that the defendant committed an offence that was dangerous and caused death.' Guy was on a non road worthy bike. What's not gross negligence about that? He's been convicted of an offence that was dangerous and caused death. What am I missing?

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    Replies
    1. "Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both. It is conduct that is extreme when compared with ordinary Negligence, which is a mere failure to exercise reasonable care." He wasn't aware of the need for a front brake so was not conscious of his negligence, therefore not gross.

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    2. I simply don't believe that. He was an experienced cyclist who had taken bikes apart.

      Delete
    3. I've read in some news articles he REMOVED the front brakes from a previous bike.

      "Alliston told police he had been riding a fixed-gear bike since 2014, having removed the front brake from a previous model."

      https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/14/cyclist-charlie-alliston-killed-pedestrian-blamed-crash-kim-briggs-court-told

      So over 3 years of riding bikes without a front brake?

      Delete
  20. Mr Alliston appears to have failed "the attitude test" several times since the accident. I can't help but wonder quite how much bearing that had on the decision relating to which charge to bring and what verdict to return

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Wanton and furious' are, in and of themselves, partly attitudinal offences. He's shown himself to be a deeply unpleasant individual. It's perfectly acceptable for the jury to consider his atttitude.

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    2. "He's shown himself to be a deeply unpleasant individual. It's perfectly acceptable for the jury to consider his atttitude."

      Exactly.

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  21. I can't help wondering what the pedestrian would have been charged with if the collision had resulted in the death of the cyclist? Would walking out into the road without looking into the path of a cyclist have been grounds for a charge of manslaughter?

    The cyclist undoubtedly broke the law by not having a front brake, but he was not solely responsible for the collision, and although his comments may have been ill advised, he was right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      I think it is scary to cycle on the roads in London. I worry everyday about my children. One of them had the front of his bike taken off by a white van suddenly emerging from a line of vehicles and overtaking 5 or so cars to turn right. Which was where he took the front wheel of my (adult) child's bike off. Another friend's husband was killed by another white van suddenly overtaking a sequence of cars whilst he was trying to turn into a road. I also know a cyclist, late for a lecture who killed a frail old woman who had stepped into his path. He was devastated and totally blamed himself. No one could argue with him really, as he said - the Highway Code states that the pedestrian has right of way on the road. I think it is the same here you know. It is terrifying to ride in London but this guy did wrong. I know he was young but it was his responsibility to be safe both for himself and for other road users. He did not bother to check whether his bike was legal to ride on the road. In London now the general feeling seems to be that cyclists are a danger. There is such a negative attitude and this young man added fuel to the fire. I have not heard yet of a pedestrian causing the death of a cyclist who was not travelling at too great a speed. I just wish we could all respect each other and think this 'victim mentality' which some cyclists exhibit is not helping, although I can see how it arises. I have seen tragedy at first hand. Take a breath here guy.

      Delete
    2. A good case for pedestrians to be insured, wear lights and helmets? My treatmnet caused by an errant pedestrian is going to cost over £10,000. They just left me lying in the road.

      Delete
    3. Gosh, I am sorry you were so badly hurt. My younger son (the front wheel) just had half a day being observed for concussion. A work colleague though hit into a suddenly opened car door and cracked her ulna vertically up the bone. She was in pain (and a cast) for months. I really worry about the way people just don't see cyclists and now think it might be the lack of noise. I wonder if, as the electric cars come to the fore, we will see more accidents.

      I hope you eventually make a full recovery.

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    4. Glaucus Depends on circumstances. Do you have name and address who caused that accident? Was it your fault? Was police called? When did it happen? You can sue that person for damages apparently up to 3 years. I understand that even if the person is unknown there are some government funds available for that eventuality. Make yourself a list of items like loss of earning, medical cost, mental anguish, etc. It may be worth it.

      Delete
  22. If the lady had stepped out in front of a car and been killed, would the driver have been charged - I think not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the car was a track only drag racer with no proper braking fitted then I think we can be pretty certain the driver would have been charged and likely facing a much longer time behind bars than Alliston now faces.

      Delete
    2. The best brakes in the world wouldn't have prevented this the article makes this perfectly clear.

      Delete
    3. The article is full of best/worst case scenarios, and wrongful time and distance estimates. He had time to shout TWICE? He would have had time to slow down if he actually had brakes, certainly by enough to significantly reduce the risk of injury. Do you think a car driver who just kept beeping his horn rather than attempting to slow down would have been let off with a finger-wag?

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  23. Alliston's attitude has been disgraceful and he clearly deserves to be punished for his lack or remorse and use of an illegal bike, but the charges of manslaughter and "wanton and furious driving" are ridiculous in what is by no means a clear cut case. There are many cases like this every day involving collisions between cars and pedestrians or other road users, which are often the fault of dangerous, angry car drivers, these rarely get publicity, are far more likely to cause death or serious injury and yet in many of these cases, if you can actually get the police and CPS to take any action, result in small fines with a few points, and certainly not in manslaughter or "wanton and furious driving" charges.
    If all the dangerous, angry, unstable car drivers you see on the roads were charged with "wanton and furious driving" as they should be, a large proportion would be taken off the roads, as they should be given that they are unfit to have a driving license and use the roads safely with other users in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Total successful prosecutions for dangerous driving in 2016 that led to drivers being banned: 5176. Dangerous, inconsiderate cycling - 29 successful prosecutions. Really don't think the weight of the law is leaning on cyclists.

    Also - the offences against the person act - of which wanton & careless driving is part - is the same act that is used to prosecute GBH, every day. So it seems we pick and choose when it's deemed to be 'arcane' or not.

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  25. If he couldn't have stopped in time even with a front brake then his "wantonness" in cycling without a front brake would not have caused the accident and presumably the court would have been reluctant to convict. Unclear why the defendant did not have expert evidence on this crucial point. Unless the defence could not find any expert to support that position.

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  26. The offence isn't just about speed - Porter's analysis makes it seem so. Here's the full text of the relevant section, which is quite easy to read.

    'Whosoever, having the charge of any carriage or vehicle, shall by wanton or furious driving or racing, or other wilful misconduct, or by wilful neglect, do or cause to be done any bodily harm to any person whatsoever, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable, at the discretion of the court, to be imprisoned for any term not exceeding two years .'

    Wilful neglect seems pretty easy to see in this case.

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  27. Martin, I've read through your blog and the 48 (so far) comments - some good points.
    But what I'd like to know is whether motorists can be prosecuted for 'wanton and furious driving'?
    And what is the scale of punishment / sentence for anyone found guilty?
    A couple of other issues come to mind.
    Was this cycling breaking-to-a-halt test carried out specifically for this prosecution?
    If so, why? Shouldn't there be a whole range of test cycle breaking-to-a-stop stats from scientific road safety testing as there must be for cars?
    The other issue (without knowing anything about the street scene in this case) is what are the best road lay-outs for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.
    I've a bit of experience of a city in Germany (Frankfurt) where cycle routes are marked out on pavements. Pedestrians who stray into the cycling zone are likely to get an aggressive tinkle on the bell from a cyclist - and a few choice words as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. British policy (Sustrans) is to have shared paths. Racing cyclists are definitely abusing his privilege going too fast and abusing walkers and other cyclists. Causing backlash aginst all cyclists. Threats, attacks and obstructions on paths.

      Delete
    2. Sustrans isn't "official" British policy, it's just a charity.
      Their preference seems to be for things they can actually deliver with local councils and limited funding, so shared paths are popular, but these are pretty much never suitable for going fast.
      If people are using them inappropriately, it's either because they're clueless themselves, or because of the abuse they get from motorists when using the road instead of an unsuitable shared path.

      Delete
    3. Raicng cylists tend to use the quickest route. The roads are so full up, it is quicker for them to use cycle paths. Recent trend. Even for slow cyclists like me, it is quicker to use the paths than to weave in and out the motorised traffic (tested).

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    4. "I'd like to know is whether motorists can be prosecuted for 'wanton and furious driving'?"

      Yes. And they are. It's done when the collision is not on a public road so the RTA offences don't apply. I recall it being used to prosecute a motorist who hit a cyclist in a car park, where the CPS weren't confident it counted as a public road.

      Delete
  28. In the last few days I have experienced the following on my bike:

    1. A lady with two boys walked along a pavement towards a road which I was cycling up. The younger boy, about 8 yo, was a few feet in front of her. She was talking to the older boy. The younger boy stepped off the pavement immediately in front of me. I shouted at him and he jumped back on the pavement. She gave me a dirty look.

    2. I was cycling fast down a long hill on a public road through a park. A line of people, sightseers I think, started to cross the road down the hill from me. The first two passed well in front of me. Some others started to follow. I shouted "be careful" at them and they stopped. Perhaps they expected me to stop for them, I'm not sure what they were thinking.

    3. A man carrying a young baby walked out directly in front of me. I shouted at him. He stopped just in time. I would have had no chance at all of avoiding him.

    My bike is fully legal, I am too old to race and have never participated in alley catting or anything like it. If I had hit any of these people would I have been prosecuted? Who knows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cycling fast down hill in a built up areas and shouting at pedestrians - my hero.

      Delete
    2. Driving fast down hill in a built up areas and honking your horn at *everyone* - my hero.

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    3. Three incidents in the last few days - the common denominator is the cyclist who believes themselves completely innocent - Now what link could that be to the case in question......

      Delete
  29. There is a driving offence under the RTA ... Causing death by careless driving ..... not murder, not manslaughter.... statutory penalties apply on conviction but I forget if there are stipulated defences or simply that the driver was not driving carelessly.
    I'm guessing that this Act does not apply to cyclists as the DPP has had to resurrect an ancient Statute in the hope of getting a conviction for manslaughter.
    He couldn't go for murder because he wouldn't be able to prove Intention.... The cyclist swerved to avoid the pedestrian, so not a wilful assault even though, as it transpired he met the second criterion of leaving the injured party with a reckless disregard for whether his victim lived or died.
    Again no mention in any of the news reports which I have read of him being charged with failing to report an accident or leaving the scene of an accident. So I'm guessing these only apply to drivers of motor vehicles.
    Certainly a very arrogant young man pumped up with adrenaline and still in shock on automatic pilot when he got back on his bike and continued on his way.
    I've cycled myself in London and Glasgow on heavy bikes with gears AND brakes and the roads are filled with pedestrian and traffic hazards. You always have to ride defensively which is hard at 18mph on a fixed wheel.
    God rest the woman and God help her children.. I don't make it above 12 mph on average, often 8mph around town, and I just hope if it ever happens to me that this slower speed is the difference between life and death.
    Sorry if I've rambled on.
    Thanks for reading

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. why do you assume he left the scene of the accident?

      Delete
  30. Under the original 1861 Act the penalty for causing 'bodily harm' in this way is a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.
    If Alliston is a first offender I don't think he'll get the maximum or any custodial sentence. Probably a hefty fine and/or a Community Service Order to work as an orderly in a brain or spinal injuries unit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's shown no remorse. That's a significant factor when sentencing, so I think he'll get a custodial sentence, not more than a year though. I think he should, dreadfully nasty piece of work he is.

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    2. Except for saying that he was sorry it had happened, sorry she was injured, but that she stepped out and it wasn't his fault...?

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    3. As someone else has said, that's the 'sorry not sorry' defence. He hasn't apologised to the family. Those comments, and several other deeply unpleasant ones were made on an Internet forum where he was lavished with praise by other cyclists. No. As the judge said, and I think she's in a better place to know than us, he's shown 'not one iota' of remorse.

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    4. "several other deeply unpleasant ones were made on an Internet forum where he was lavished with praise by other cyclists".

      Was he "lavished with praise" for those comments, for other ones, or for nothing at all because you're making that up?

      Delete
    5. Deeply unpleasant. Here. He received a lot of support and you know it. Don't be obtuse.

      “I won’t say she deserved it, it was her fault. Yes it was her fault, but no she did not deserve it. Hopefully it is a lesson to be learned on her behalf.

      “I refuse to accept any responsibility in this whatsoever … It’s not my fault people think they are invincible or just have zero respect for cyclists.'

      Delete
    6. '“What makes it worse is that, even when people were helping her, her phone was going off continuously with texts showing she was on it at the time.

      “If you value your phone more than your life maybe this is the type of wake up call you need.”

      Yes, death is a real wake up call.

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    7. More concern for a bike than a human life.

      'She put not only hers, but my life in danger.'

      In another he said: 'F*** me and my health, I can heal and recover. The bike cannot. Thankfully I was going quite a slowish/moderate speed. If I were going any faster the frame would have cracked or been shattered.'

      Jurors were told about a further post, in which Alliston wrote: 'At the end of the day, if you know the flame will hurt you, yet you still proceed to put your hand over it and get burnt, it's your fault.'


      Delete
    8. this has a slightly philosophical tone but I'm not sure why expressing remorse should be a SIGNIFICANT factor in any legal case anyway. Its not the most difficult thing to fake, and its funny how many people start to show a lot of it when they know if they don't they might get bird time....what help is remorse to the victim who is dead?....surely its too late for remorse? lets say this guy just fakes remorse when he doesn't really give a shit and gets no custodial sentence as a result. Just the usual ..'oh poor lad will have to live with this for the rest of his life, he's so traumatised by it all yadi yadi yadda'... heres some community service you naughty boy. Then by lying to society he has actually significantly reduced the blame we would ordinarily apportion him. If he tells the truth and says yes its freakish that she died but hey the stupid woman wasn't looking where she was going and every now and again someone is gonna be killed in an accident like this but it was defo 50/50 and i stand by that, he gets vilified. Its f@cking obvious he didn't go out to kill someone that day. Why do we place so much emphasis on remorse?

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    9. Are you serious? Because is shows someone gives a flying fuck about someone else's life.

      Delete
  31. I don't quite understand humans. It seems if you are given a licence to operate a motor vehicle it's ok not to check your tyre wear and other important safety aspects b4 u set off even tho u r responsible 4 them and u are going to b driving 1.3 tonnes of steel pretty fast close to vulnerable rd users. The basic nub of this defence is really cos I can't be assed and I reckon not many others do it either... dressed up as I didn't know. Then when you do f@ck up and kill someone it's all ok as long as u pretend u are sorry and say u didn't know about the defects and didn't mean for it to happen. I would say most humans are sorry, about the consequences of what is possibly about to happen to THEMSELVES as a result of them driving like T@at. it seems judges Spend too much time being sold on this sham and don't just assess what the person did. I like the fact that this Allison guy tells it how it is.....some idiot on a mobile walks out into the road without looking properly...I warned the stupid cow and tried to dodge her but she still hit me......he. could have done what countless motorists have done in this case and put on a mega sob story (just to save THEIR OWN ASS). It takes 2 people to have a collision and it's pretty easy to dodge a bike when u r on foot .....BUT U NEED TO BE LOOKING AND AWARE OF THE HAZARD.......disclaimer : ALL OF THE ABOVE IS WRITTEN WITHOUT ACCESS TO ANY EVIDENCE ON THIS CASE..... basically my tuppence worth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gid, you really are a piece of shit aren't you?

      Delete
    2. personally think the law is more of a piece of shit.......is there a law for careless walking?...did her walking demonstrate due care and attention for other road users....did her walking fall below the standard expected of a careful pedestrian? .. i haven't seen the CCTV evidence but on experience there are a lot of stupid pedestrians (aswell of course as cyclists.) who must take some responsibility for their dangerous behaviour. this case is a one in a billion but usually I would imagine its the cyclist that ends up worse off in most cases

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    3. also i would argue that the real pieces of shit are the people that kill cyclists in a motor car and do everything legally possible to worm their way out of getting punished for it/accepting responsibility for their actions. For example fleeing the scene (effectively leaving someone to die...btw. how much of a piece of shit do you have to be to do that?) They do it knowing they can only face certain charges cos the law is so shite

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    4. Your absolute disregard for the human tragedy of this situation is sickening and what gives cyclists a bad name. Shame on you.

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    5. We could make 'jaywalking' illegal too. It is in many countries. But we already have a hierarchy of road users here which we all learn as the Highway Code and that puts pedestrians at the top. They always have right of way and so it is the responsibility of other road users to avoid hitting them - Whatever They Do. It is, it just is! You know this.

      Delete
    6. Well if you had actually learned what the Highway Code says, you would know there is no such thing as right of way. "The rules in The Highway Code do not give you the right of way in any circumstance, but they advise you when you should give way to others. Always give way if it can help to avoid an incident.”

      Delete
    7. I am so glad you were able to correct me. I last read it in the eighties. Although I suspect the law might not be so different as the phrase 'the pedestrian always has right of way' is one I picked up from serving police officers I am related to. Always give way is probably an improvement.

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  32. One of my oldest friends was cycling and was struck from behind by a police van doing 68mph in a 30mph zone. He suffered catastrophic injuries and was in a coma for 9 days. The driver received an 8 month suspended sentence, was tagged, did 240 hrs of community service and paid £1000. Effectively a slap on the wrist for what has destroyed my friend's life.

    But it doesn't follow that just because the driver who so violently injured my friend 'got away with it', a cyclist shouldn't be prosecuted in a case like this, it's getting headlines *precisely* because it's so rare. But because it almost never happens, people shouldn't be prosecuted? Where is the logic in that?

    It's the equivalent of saying rape cases are notoriously hard to prosecute, so we should divert all of the resources to prosecuting rape cases, and not prosecuting lesser charges of sexual assault. Very disappointed to see a barrister advocating not prosecuting someone, just because they happen to be a cyclist,

    ReplyDelete
  33. Let's face it, in a British court, with a British judge and a British jury he didn't stand a chance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He means that courts endlessly accept not so expert evidence supplied by the police and if you can't afford to hire a team of scientists, to counter it you are going to get shafted.

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    2. All expert opinion is opinion. It's in the name.

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  34. I,ve been a cyclist for 45+ years and find one thing certainly very puzzling. If Charlie Alliston had time to shout twice at somebody before actually colliding with them then he would certainly have had time to use a brake if he had one. When questioned He said even if he had a brake on the bike he would not have had time to use it. This is nonsense. If you have time to shout twice at somebody you certainly have time to use a brake which of course would have drastically reduced the collision speed.Also when applying the fixed brake on a track bike or fixed wheeler you need to have your legs in exactly the right position to get maximum braking power. Also just as in football or other sports riders would tend to use the same leg, usually the strongest to apply pressure to the brake in order to stop. If Charlie Alliston was on his wrong leg and applied the brake at the incorrect position then this would also have increased his stopping distance considerably. I know this because i live in the Netherlands and regularly ride a fixie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tou speak only for yourself, your skill levels relatively please klow bro. A skilled fixed rider can and will brake with EITHER foot. Additionally a skilled is very capable of momentarily relieving all the weight from the back wheel in order to reverse the momentum of the wheel whilst at the same time gaining the desired foot position.
      Essentially a split-second fakie combined with backwards pedalling.

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    2. I can shout twice while trying to brake all in the space of two seconds, it seems pretty simple to me.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous
      I,m thinking more of James Allistons skill levels not my own. If he didn,t know he needed to fix a front brake to the bike then i wouldn,t imagine is skill levels would be very high at all.Oh and to James Mcgeorge yes thats exactly my point. All that and coupled with his attitude and total lack of remorse i hope he gets the longest sentence possible, he deserves it.

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  35. Some maths for the Cycling Silk:
    https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=116644&p=1156247#p1156247

    https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=116644&p=1156260#p1156260

    https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=116644&p=1156580#p1156580


    ReplyDelete
  36. Always a treat to read a collection of victim blaming and 'whatiffery'. Let's face it, cyclists, especially in the capital, have little or no regard for the rules or the extensive modifications that are made to protect them. Old Street, every morning, millions spent on a system to protect cyclists - ignored by the majority.

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    Replies
    1. Same on the whole length of CS7 - the police have had to start 'pulling them over' for a chat for running red-lights, and cycling on the pavement to avoid lights.

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  37. Technically correct, but moarally reprehensible, to say that the cyclist faced a different charge than a motorist would have done. I guess a motorist would have been charged with 'causing death by dangerous driving' but that cannot be used for cyclists so the best equivalent was chosen.
    You will have to acceppt that there is (an admittedly small) proportion of cyclists who are arrogant and who think that everything they do is much more important that anything that anybody else does. Yes there are eqivalent motorists, and presumably pedestrians too. But they all need sorting out in the best way a system of law and order can manage.
    And in this case I think the charge is the best that could be done, and consequently the right way forward.

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    Replies
    1. The motorist would have been highly unlikely to face any charges give it was 18mph and she stepped into the road while on her phone, he does say that, it does seem to be the point he is making.

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    2. I don't agree. Any motorist with no front brakes who killed someone would surely be done for causing death by dangerous driving whatever the speed.

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    3. Absolutely right. There are plenty of examples of motorist convictions where accidents caused by defective cars.

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    4. I agree Derek. What all the commenters defending Allison don't acknowledge is that the lack of front brake was the contributory factor in her death. Even if he hadn't stopped in time to avoid a collision, he would have slowed enough for it to have been non-fatal.

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  38. I do hope you will be appealing on his behalf he may be an idiot, but he should never have been convicted given the evidence you raise. This was a tragic accident where both parties were to blame, it feels like this lad has been utterly stitched up by very dubious expert evidence to say the least. No dishonestly created evidence in very different circumstances that had the same standard as a L'Oreal commercial.

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    Replies
    1. This isn't 'evidence'. It's conjecture. Opinion. Suspect maths. Don't mistake it as anything else. Just because he's a QC doesn't mean this isn't simply a biased opinion.

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  39. Terrific post, though I read the Guardian version. Strikes me that Mr. Alliston was a victim of over zealous prosecution and a pretty crappy defense lawyer and a jury that (although they are not supposed to consider this but they always do) just did not like/warm to him.

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    Replies
    1. Trouble is, if you're going to scream at a dying pedestrian and then blame-shift on social media - it's not going to end well is it. No remorse? No sympathy.....

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    2. Deciding if a defendant is of good character and using your judgement to apply that to an offence is a part of the jury system. Amazing how many people here seem to believe they have a law degree.

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  40. As one would expect from a lawyer, a well argued case with plenty of supporting technical evidence, but a collection of irrelevance, half truth, omission and specious detail nonetheless. Let's consider the most directly equivalent case with a car driver: A person acquires a track race car that is not road legal. While driving this car on the road, competently and within the speed limit but still illegally, the driver kills a pedestrian. Mr Porter's case would be i) the track car could, under certain circumstances stop more quickly than some road legal vehicles under completely different circumstances; ii) a road legal vehicle would probably have killed the pedestrian anyway, so it makes no odds. I imagine that Mr porter would not recommend this defence to a client of his under the same circumstances. The rest of the article centres on why a car driver in this situation would probably not be charged with manslaughter. The headline, that a driver would not have been charged with furious or wanton driving is obviously true, because, as Mr Porter notes, a driver would probably have been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, a crime carrying a maximum sentence of 14 years rather than 2 for the conviction in this case. Causing death by dangerous driving was introduced in the 1991 road traffic act specifically in order to make it easier to obtain a conviction where a car accident led to a fatality because juries are reluctant to convict for manslaughter in accidents, a fact that persists and for which Alliston should be grateful. A car driver also cannot make the "I didn't know it was illegal" argument as cars require to be taxed, MOT'd and insured and their road-worthiness is checked at every test, perhaps we should make the same legal requirement for bikes? In suggesting that the legal system is biased against cyclists compared to drivers Mr Porter very coherently demonstrates the opposite.

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  41. Just tested 18 mph stop with hydraulic rim brakes. Pierce of cake to stop in three bike lengths or under six metres. Down to 9 mph in 3 metres.

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  42. Charlie Alliston pleaded guilty to riding a bike without a front brake.

    Tony Martin pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a shotgun.

    Thereafter, both were railroaded by English 'justice' by reason of evidence not germane to the respective cases, that and character assassination.

    He didn't brake; he attempted evasion by swerving. The casualty was on her mobile phone FFS!

    My advice to Alliston is to appeal his case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, if that's what it takes to bring domestic courts to a state of grace.

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    Replies
    1. No she wasn't on her phone, that was established at trial

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    2. I'm not defending Alliston, I think he deserves a custodial sentence, but it wasn't established if she was on her phone or not. The CCTV didn't capture that as she was at one point obscured by a truck.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    4. How is this a human rights issue? You do know he'd have to appeal, he would have to lose, it would have to go to the Supreme Court, (on a point of law argument,) he would have to lose, and only then it can go to the ECHR, if it was even relevant to human rights?

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    5. I take it back. Alliston admitted in court he had been lying about her being in her phone. Honestly, what a horrible horrible little man he is.

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  43. "The casualty was on her mobile phone FFS!"
    Incorrect, this was proven in court.

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  44. Naughty but nice ... oooohhhh

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  45. Just saw a cyclist run a red light (on the cycle superhighway!) & come within inches of hitting a pedestrian outside Blackfriars tube. It's clear cyclists aren't going to learn from this.

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  46. This man behaved like an idiot and is very unlikeable but he still deserves fair treatment.
    Did he believe a fixi didn't need a front brake? After all they are sold like that and plenty of other cyclists ride them like that. Cycle construction and use regulations are absurdly complex and in many cases illogical. Most flashing cycle lights sold in Britain are illegal to use as your main or only front and rear lights but who knows that until some expert hired by an insurance company tries to use it to get out of paying compensation? Many pedals used by thousands of cyclists are illegal during the hours of darkness as they aren't fitted with BS marked reflectors. Irrelevant in this case but it helps to understand that he probably really didn't realise his bike was illegal to use on the road as is mine during the hours of darkness even though I have lights which EXCEED the UK regulations and fully meet the German rules.
    If he really didn't know he needed a front brake then riding without one is still illegal but it is not wanton and furious. It is a technical illegality like your rear light flashing more than 4 times a second.
    This mans behaviour reminds me very much of a child I know with ADHD who will persistently deny doing something every one has seen him do. He actually believes what he is saying because his consciousness appears to see only what he wants to see. I don't understand it but he has a distorted view of reality. It is disorder not badness.

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    1. A disorder? What? Diagnosis by media report? He's a nasty little shit who blames others and is highly experienced - enough to take the brakes off a previous bike. Don't medicalise his idiocy.

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    2. I didn't diagnose I said his behaviour reminds me of a child with ADHD. And described the child's behaviour which I consider similar. I think this may be an explanation of this mans behaviour but I do not say it is.
      You however are adamant that he is a "nasty little shit". based purely on the same media reports and your own prejudice. Your description of him fits you.

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    3. Cycling advocates that want to persistently deny any culpability for anything they do on the roads will use this excuse. You are running around trying to exculpate him just because he rode a bicycle. If it was a skateboard you'd all be up in arms. The two wheels between his legs mean you're making him into your own little martyr.

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    4. About 400 pedestrians a year are killed by drivers of motor vehicles. See DfT Statistics. Why isn't there this same virulent attack on them in the popular media? Many of them are over the alcohol limit - Criminal. Many are using a mobile phone - criminal. Many are breaking the speed limit - criminal.
      But they don't get this sort of lynching by the press and self righteous commenters who of course have never broken a speed limit, never used a phone while driving, Never taken the wheel after a drink.
      I don't say he is a martyr. If you look back above you will see I said he was an idiot and unlikeable but he still deserves fair treatment. Convicted for the crime he committed and punished according to the circumstances of that crime not lynched because you don't like cyclists. Let those who have never broken any road traffic law cast the first stone.

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    5. I don't think it is at all difficult to advocate cycling: less pollution, a healthier population and fewer road casualties.

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    6. You are making him a martyr by all of your words. Stop denying truth. By the way - I cycle, and I don't drive. I don't hate cyclists - just all the ones that think they are on some kind of moral high ground. The language about Mrs Briggs by some people here is simply disgraceful.

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    7. Every single word here by cycling advocates persistently ignores the fact he was riding *an illegal bike.* You are making him a martyr, even if you call him an idiot. By the way I don't drive, have never learned, and I cycle in a city. I deeply believe that there needs to be reform in prosecution and sentencing of dangerous driving (see comment I made below about a friend grievously injured whilst cycling.) But the absolutely disgraceful way people are talking about Mrs. Briggs is utterly shameful and gives all cyclists a bad name. I could not be more disgusted. This is why some people are deeply hostile to cyclists.

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  47. I can't avoid comparing this sad death with the 4 cyclists killed in N Wales by a driver with 3 defective tyres who skidded on black ice. He was fined £180 and given 6 points.

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  48. You know reading all this and knowing a lot of people who cycle to work but do not consider themselves cyclists who are to a (wo)man horrified by the attitudes displayed by some people who seem to think the young man was somehow innocent. I would like to share something said to me.

    I think he has not been treated the same way as a motorist. If a motorist drove down a road without brakes and just beeped his horn at a pedestrian without slowing down whist trying, inexplicably to swerve between her and the pavement he would certainly be convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and possibly his actions, being likely to cause injury (namely by not slowing down) could result in a manslaughter conviction.' These cyclistas give everyone a bad name.

    You know I wonder if a yearly certificate of road worthiness to prove your bike is safe to ride on a public road might be the way forward. After all motor vehicles all have to have that and it is already an offence to drive an unsafe vehicle. It would be treating everyone equally.

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  49. According to the reports, Alliston was 6.53 metres away from Briggs at 18mph when she stepped out onto the road. The highway code states that thinking distance at 20mph is 6 metres. That dictates that he had less than a metre to apply brakes anyway.

    Why has this never been raised in the court case or any article?!

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    1. I think the point others are making is that any slowing down might have reduced the severity of the injury. The rider did not try to slow down it seems. That is their point and it is reasonable maybe even at a metre. There can be no proof either way of course but it is a reasonable supposition really.

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    2. "That dictates that he had less than a metre to apply brakes anyway."

      If he had time to shout twice (and that's his story, not the prosecution's), then he had time to brake for at least a significant proportion of that time.

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    3. Agreed, and using that blunt "thinking distance" measurement is inadequate. But so is quoting a 3m stopping distance.

      It is totally possible to shout out twice in 2 metres while slowing down - and the prosecution accepted that he did slow down - "up to 14mph" when he hit her.

      The point is that to argue anybody could have stopped is unfair. He simply could have slowed down marginally more - but who knows what difference that would have made. On any other day, the amount he slowed would have saved her life. She was extraordinarily unlucky :(

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    4. "It is totally possible to shout out twice in 2 metres while slowing down"

      Alliston was reported to have posted this last year just after the incident:

      'Hey guys, yeah this was me. The pedestrian stepped off of the pavement and as she did I warned her to stop, she acknowledged me but ignored me and proceeded to go further.

      'I'd call it the 'safe zone' as there was a lorry parked in a loading bay which came out quite far. Once she passed that I warned for a second time to pretty much get the fuck outta my way, which she didn't.

      'Because traffic was flowing she stopped dead in my path. I didn't have enough time to fully slow down. And if I'd of gone left, I would have gone straight into the back of the lorry, if I would of gone right I would of potentially gone head on into an oncoming vehicle.

      'When she got sorta to the lines in the road I thought ok cool she's out of my way, but no. She stepped back into my way and as I said I couldn't have gone round her so I went straight into her."

      And you reckon all that took place in about a second?

      How long does it take you to shout "get the fuck outta my way"?

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    5. The CCTV shows he was 6.5 metres away when she stepped out, traveling at 18mph... That's undeniable evidence whether his account is entirely accurate or not.

      I'm not sure his account can possibly an accurate representation of what happen (although this probably doesn't help his case!) which is understandable given a)how quick it happened and b) the obvious emotional response in such a tragic situation

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  50. One aspect of this that seems to have been hardly mentioned is why the police have been so unwilling to take action to prosecute riders of fixies with no front brakes. It is now acknowledged that since the 1980s such bikes have been illegal for use on the road. Why so long to face up to it?

    I know from my own experience, after I was seriously injured by a rider jumping a red light at full tilt on a brakeless fixie, the police refused to take any action. This was despite witnesses, a police presence and the illegal bike being there for inspection. The attitude shown by the police then was to treat this cyclist-on-cyclist crash as a minor thing and they even declined to acknowledge that my assailant’s bike was illegal. At the time, I raised a formal complaint to the police about the way they has had mismanaged this case and took it up with the Borough Commander of Police and the Commander of the London Safer Transport Command, but all to no avail.

    That was in 2013 – had the police taken action then, against my assailant and other riders of brakeless fixies, then maybe Kim Briggs would still be alive today.

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    1. That is really very interesting. Are you able to supply me with details? Enforcement of existing laws before a tragedy is always better than a reaction when too late.

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    2. Martin, thanks for your interest. I'll send you an email with more information. Presumably the email address for you is@2tg.co.uk.

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  51. looks like a smug little prick with a huge gold watch. deserves some prison time

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  52. I live in Spain and accept that the lawas may be slightly different, but have problems with cyclists who believe that come what may, they have right of way.
    Close to the village there is a newspaper shop where I used to go to buy my Sunday newspaper. There is no pavement and the road is frequented by lots of cyclists. The entrance is on a corner, but having to walk facing the oncoming traffic, I have to cross over. At the crossing I can see at least 100 yards in one direction and about 60 in the other. One Sunday, having assured myself that there were no cyclists in sight, I crossed the road, only to be nearly hit when I was a yard from the other side. The cyclist fell off, scratching himself and slightly damaging his bike. He claimed that I came out of nowhere, yet could have seen me from at least 60 yards away. He said he was training for a race, so I believe he had his head down until the last moment. The Guardia Civil claimed that the cyclist had right of way, since I was not on a pedestrian crossing, but there are none on this rural road. In the end I heard nothing more of it, but the cyclist was adamant that I was in the wrong.
    In the towns (Valencia), there are lots of cycle paths and where there are not, cyclists are allowed on the pavement as long as the pavement is 6 metres wide and the pedestrian has right of way. Otherwise they should go on the road, normally in the bus lane, which is what I do. Many cyclists insist on using the pavement and get upset if they have to stop because I will not cower against the wall.
    It seems that both in Spain and the UK, many on bikes assume that they are not on road vehicles, and have as much or more right than pedestrians, when they are on their bikes.

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  53. "the prosecution case was that Alliston was 6.53 metres away when Mrs Briggs stepped out"

    I find this puzzling, and crucial. The prosecution appears to have alleged that Alliston was travelling at 8m/s and had only 6.53m to stop, which clearly means less than a second to react and avoid the accident. Leaving aside the questions this raises about Alliston's claims that he shouted two warnings to Mrs Briggs, one must wonder how anyone could be expected to control any vehicle in a literal split second. Are these numbers correct? If so, I am baffled as to how Alliston was found guilty of anything other than breach of The Pedal Cycle (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983.

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    1. "the prosecution case was that Alliston was 6.53 metres away when Mrs Briggs stepped out"

      You are not the first to have questioned that fact (as it appears here and in The Guardian). Other reports - including in The Guardian - are that that was the point at which Alliston swerved. In the absence of further comment or clarification I have asked The Guardian and the CPS if they can help. The way the point has been seized upon by many cyclists to claim everything from police/CPS incompetence to conspiracy must be upsetting for Mr Briggs et al.

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    2. I think this evidence combined shows that his own account of the situation can't be taken at face value - which is fair given the emotional state you'd probably be in after finding out you've injured someone fatally.

      I'm pretty sure anyone who's had a split second accident can admit their memory of it is now what actually happened - the use of helmet cameras prove this time and time again.

      I believe he's remembered it slightly wrong to place the blame on her - but in doing so condemned himself in court!

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  54. 18mph is a high speed on a bicycle not a cautious speed.
    Your very first premise is fatally flawed.

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    1. The bike he was riding was quite literally designed to cruise at 30mph. (Admittedly on a track)

      For any experienced cyclist 18mph is not fast on a flat let alone a slight descent.

      Finally, would you have claimed that if any other traffic had hit her at that speed in the same place?

      18mph is a cautious speed for traffic. Whatever the vehicle is.

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  55. This may have been commented earlier, but this cyclist deliberately removed a brake - I have no doubt that if a car driver had killed someone after doing this he would have been heavily penalised. I am concerned there is an increasing culture in which some cyclists protest their rights are not being met, whilst ignoring bylaws and regulations at will. I recently saw 4 cyclists cylcle past a "cyclists dismount", 2 go through a pedstian crossing when the lights were against them and one cycle against the traffic on a dual carriageway, all within 5 minutes of each other. IT is this concern that makes me pleased that this cyclist was successfully prosecuted and hope that this prosecution will be followed with a harder line against cyclists who ignore their responsibilities.

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    1. He didn't remove the brake - there was no front brake fitted in the first place to this track bike (A pure track frame, as this was, has no drillings to take a brake on its front fork). That particular offence was therefore ignorant rather than wlful (although of course nonetheless an offence). Incidentally, rectangular 'cyclists dismount' signs are advisory, not mandatory.

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    2. Most Cyclists Dismount signs do not comply with the DfT guidance as to when they should be used. They are erected by highways officers to to shift the responsibility for the bad infrastructure. One example near me is where a ford had a very dangerous surface under the water. After an incident the local highway authority erected cyclists dismount signs instead of repairing the ford bed. "Not our fault guv".

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  56. The main factor is that bikes are often not seen by pedestrians. I don't cycle much, but I've had quite a few people step out in front of me over the years when I'm on my bike. 18mph is way too fast to be riding a cycle on any road where there are pedestrians around, let alone without proper brakes. Sure it was unlucky (any accident is unlucky), but he was completely reckless and manslaughter charge was appropriate as far as I can see.

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    1. Dude if it's appropriate for cars to go at 18mph (which of course it is!) It's also acceptable for a vehicle a 10th of its mass

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    2. Hi Salimah,

      I worry about that too. I have come to think it is a combination of the small visual size of the bike compared to other road vehicles and the lack of noise to alert the pedestrians to look. I want bikes to be safer than cars both for pedestrians and for riders; what can we practically do? I agree a lower speed limit for bikes might be an option. The pedestrians do interact differently with cycles I don't think 'respect' has anything to do with it though. The visual and aural space taken up by a bike is just much smaller than that taken by a car and so as a human will focus on the greater danger they just miss the cyclists too often.

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    3. No longer a 'mistrial'?

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    4. Salimah Mahomed 26 August 2017 at 16:27
      “The main factor is that bikes are often not seen by pedestrians.” If pedestrians don’t see the cyclists they should get themselves a white stick and a guide dog or simply follow the recommendations/instructions of Highway Code.
      Highway Code section 7a shows, in fact commands “Where there is a crossing nearby, use it.” “Otherwise choose a place where you can see clearly in all directions.” Kim Briggs did not use crossing that was apparently 10 yards away. I trust 10 yards away it means nearby in context of a road. She also did not find herself a place where she can see in all direction because apparently she was starring at her mobile. Therefore she should at least share blame for the collision.
      According to Metropolitan Police website 23 Aug 2017 Detective Inspector Julie Trodden said:” It should act as a reminder to all road users that they have a responsibility to look out for each other and to travel safely at all times." That is more balanced view in sharp contrast to apparent witch hunt conducted against cyclist in this case. “all users” means all users including pedestrians.
      “18mph is way too fast to be riding a cycle on any road where there are pedestrians around,”
      Pedestrians are not allowed just generally being around on the road. Just being around on road might lead to charge of Obstructing Highway. Highway Code indicates and regulates behaviour of pedestrians on roads.
      18mph is not way too fast where the accident happened. In fact it is a normal speed on section of Old Street with three lanes of road.
      “manslaughter charge was appropriate” . Hardly appropriate. Criminal manslaughter charge is judged by principle of “beyond reasonable doubt” and in case of other side bears largest blame for the accident it is in my opinion extremely difficult to convict.

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    5. Jan once again another lie peddled by your little hero. He admitted in court he'd made up that she was on her phone.

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    6. If pedestrians cannot see cyclists as easily as cars why aren't our hospitals full of pedestrians who have walked out in front of bicycles? Cyclists tend to avoid pedestrians and cars because it hurts when you hit one. Why the obsession with no front brake? Residents from outside the U.K can legally ride track bikes without them, anyone can ride a penny farthing without any brakes at all, you can ride a tricycle with two brakes on the front wheel that won't stop you in 20 yards.

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  57. Over 3 billion people can enter the UK as a temporary visitor and bring a track bike with them and ride it legally in the UK. Statutory Instrument 1983/1176 section 9(2)b refers. Under the same paragraph I can legally ride a penny farthing without brakes or a recumbent tricycle with a braking system far inferior to a track bike with no front brake.

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  58. and motorbikes which have a similar profile?

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  59. The case raises related issues, and I would welcome if the transcript of the case be shared, and the specific circumstances be more clearly understood. As I understand the cyclist was on the south side heading in a westerly direction, near the junction with Charlotte Road here (based on www.crashmap.co.uk )

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5268187,-0.0811601,3a,62.9y,245.83h,80.69t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sZPu2DP_v9kpI2NTHjaekgw!2e0!5s20150501T000000!7i13312!8i6656

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5267207,-0.0820396,3a,49.3y,89.03h,90.28t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sFGIvOtUYKSQDOb5xXkc5aA!2e0!5s20140701T000000!7i13312!8i6656

    Have the circumstances and vehicle positions, and pedestrians, at the time around the collision been clearly presented? This is a TfL Red Route and busy A-Road. Its loading bay is right next to the pedestrian crossing, where a lorries create a narrow single lane for a cyclist to move/align into, immediately after the signalled junction.

    Alliston was reported to online after the collision:
    “The pedestrian stepped off of the pavement... I'd call it the 'safe zone' as there was a lorry parked in a loading bay which came out quite far. Once she passed that I warned for a second time… Because traffic was flowing she stopped dead in my path. I didn't have enough time to fully slow down. And if I'd of gone left, I would have gone straight into the back of the lorry, if I would of gone right I would of potentially gone head on into an oncoming vehicle…

    From the trial, it’s been reported:
    ‘Charlie Alliston, 20, hit 44-year-old Kim Briggs at between 15mph and 18mph as she crossed Old Street in Shoreditch in her lunch hour on 12 February 2016’ (CPS)
    ‘He was a minimum of between 6.65 and 9.65 metres away from Mrs Briggs’ (Metro)
    ‘He was a minimum of 6.65 metres away as Mrs Briggs stepped out into the road when he swerved and tried to take evasive action’ (Newshopper)
    ‘prosecution case was that Alliston was 6.53 metres away when Briggs stepped out’ (Guardian)
    ‘Alliston was doing between 10mph and 14mph as he tried to avoid the collision’ (Metro)
    ‘Mrs Briggs stepped into the road 3.8 seconds before the crash’ (Sky)
    ‘the collision occurred approximately 30 feet [~9m] after the crossing’ (Standard)

    Alliston was reported to be an estimated 6.65 metres away when Alliston ‘swerved’, and Mrs Briggs ‘stepped out’. But it’s not clear where Mrs Briggs was before she (a) ‘stepped out’, how she (b) ‘stepped into the road’, as the two don’t appear to be at the same place.

    I ask, as the cyclist was reported to be traveling at approx 18mph (8m/s) on approach, and it was reported that 3.8 seconds later he was doing about 10 - 14mph (4.5m/s - 6.3m/s) at time of impact. The 3.8 calculates to a distance of between 17 - 30 metres (at the min/max speeds given), when Mrs Briggs ‘stepped into the road’ in front of the cyclist. Or in Highway Code parlance, between 4 and 7 car lengths away before collision. Where average car length is 4m (13ft) as used in the Highway Code.
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/559afb11ed915d1595000017/the-highway-code-typical-stopping-distances.pdf

    Many factors can impact stopping distances, cyclist’s weight, body position over bike, tyres, road surfaces, medication, attentiveness etc. As this was also a track bike, it may also have had been geared differently making it harder to slow suddenly from 18mph through the pedals, compared to other fixed wheeled road bike set ups. Specific to this case, Allison chose not to fix a front brake, and had intent to ride with reduced breaking ability on a track race bike. This makes his risk to others more dangerous when cycling. It is also an illegal bike to use on public road.

    Often such tragic collisions arise from a combination of contributory factors. The lack of a front brake was the most significant.

    I hope we all can learn from this tragedy by understanding the circumstances, and roads made safer for all vulnerable road users.

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  60. Why is the reaction time prior to initiating braking not being taken into consideration? At 15 mph that would be 4.5 metres.

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  61. He watched Mrs Briggs step into the road and was reacting by already braking before the collission, reducing his speed to approx 10 to 14 mph, during the 3.8 seconds before impact.

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  62. Anyone caught driving a car or a bicycle like a nobhead should be forced to ride a PonyCycle in the buff!!!

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