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https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/14/cyclist-charlie-alliston...

So how come this guy is facing manslaughter charges whereas if he'd been driving a car he'd be able to say the sun was in his eyes and just walk away... (probably).

123 comments

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KevM [43 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

We read almost daily on here about another cyclist being killed by poor driving and drivers not being punished. One cyclist kills one pedestrian and the whole world looses their shit.

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rogermerriman [121 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

I suspect that the fact that it's unusual plus the guy has a illegal (to use on the road) bike and has frankly said some unwise things.

 

ie has failed the attitude test!

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Internet Pawn [17 posts] 1 month ago
12 likes
rogermerriman wrote:

I suspect that the fact that it's unusual plus the guy has a illegal (to use on the road) bike and has frankly said some unwise things.

 

ie has failed the attitude test!

I agree, and I find it hard to have much sympathy for him, but for anyone looking for a precedent, Helen Measures blamed her victim Denisa Perinova in court, despite the fact that she was overtaking on a blind bend and made no attempt to brake or avoid the cyclists.  She wasn't even charged with manslaughter and was acquitted by the jury of careless driving.

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Woldsman [179 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Do be mindful that this is an ongoing trial in a UK court. I would imagine that the story will soon make its way to the news section of road.cc where it will appear - as it does on the Guardian's web site - with comments switched off.  

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brooksby [2507 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes
Internet Pawn wrote:
rogermerriman wrote:

I suspect that the fact that it's unusual plus the guy has a illegal (to use on the road) bike and has frankly said some unwise things.

 

ie has failed the attitude test!

I agree, and I find it hard to have much sympathy for him, but for anyone looking for a precedent, Helen Measures blamed her victim Denisa Perinova in court, despite the fact that she was overtaking on a blind bend and made no attempt to brake or avoid the cyclists.  She wasn't even charged with manslaughter and was acquitted by the jury of careless driving.

The Grauniad's article paints him as so awful because he ran off and started victim blaming on the Internet, as if that had never happened before, but the first thing I thought of when I read it was the Helen Measures case, too...

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Vehlin [39 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

It's a manslaughter charge because there is no death by dangerous cycling charge that can be brought. If you killed someone in a car that was built for the track with no breaks you'd be facing a DbDD charge. The sentences are largely similar.

Th e fact that he's admitted to removing the front brake from his last bike is gonna damn him imo

Edit to add: if this had been on a construction site and someone had died because of an accident involving machinery to which legally mandated safety features had been removed or not installed prior to use you'd be seeing a similar case being brought.

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oldstrath [829 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Vehlin wrote:

It's a manslaughter charge because there is no death by dangerous cycling charge that can be brought. If you killed someone in a car that was built for the track with no breaks you'd be facing a DbDD charge. The sentences are largely similar. Th e fact that he's admitted to removing the front brake from his last bike is gonna damn him imo Edit to add: if this had been on a construction site and someone had died because of an accident involving machinery to which legally mandated safety features had been removed or not installed prior to use you'd be seeing a similar case being brought.

But the maximum possible sentences are different, and the message sent to lay people is probably aslso different - manslaughter is generally seen as a more serious thing surely?

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Vehlin [39 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
oldstrath wrote:

But the maximum possible sentences are different, and the message sent to lay people is probably aslso different - manslaughter is generally seen as a more serious thing surely?

More serious yes, but harder to prove. There's nothing stopping someone causing death by dangerous driving being charged with manslaughter instead but it is a harder charge to prove.

What you will also find is that while Manslaughter technically can attract a life sentence it almost never does, sentences are typically between 2 and 10 years. Max sentence for DbDD is 14 years. So there's nothing to stop the judge giving the same sentence for both offences.

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jh27 [93 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
rogermerriman wrote:

I suspect that the fact that it's unusual plus the guy has a illegal (to use on the road) bike and has frankly said some unwise things.

 

ie has failed the attitude test!

It would have been a lot less interesting story if his mouth (or keyboard rather) had brakes and it would have gotten a lot less news coverage.

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simonmb [493 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm curious about bikes fitted with coaster-brakes. Do they require an additional brake to be in place too? Regardless, a tragedy without doubt. And no one in their right mind would ride fixed without at least one other brake.

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Vehlin [39 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes
simonmb wrote:

I'm curious about bikes fitted with coaster-brakes. Do they require an additional brake to be in place too? Regardless, a tragedy without doubt. And no one in their right mind would ride fixed without at least one other brake.

Pedal Cycle Construction and Use Regulations 1983. You must have two independent braking systems, one for each wheel. A coaster brake or fixed gear system would count as a brake for the back wheel, you'd still need a front one to be legal.

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sergius [447 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for the chap, if someone is on a pedestrian crossing in front of you - you have to be prepared to stop for them.  Shouting at them to move doesn't count.

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Crampy [29 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

Im a bit confused; was he breaking the speed limit? Why is 20mph being reported as excessive when in reality it is 10mph short of what a car would have been doing? Was there a 20mph zone here?

Furthermore, how would a front brake have helped? If this was a situation where she stepped out in front of him, then all a front brake would have done was send him OTB and right on top of her. How is that better? 

If the pedestrian crossed the road whilst on a mobile phone, not paying attention at all, then in reality this is on her, isnt it? Arent you taught as a child to look both ways before crossing? 

I can see the comparison to a track car being used on this thread too, but to be honest that isnt really an apples with apples comparison, is it? The rider can lock the back wheel on a fixie, creating a very effective braking mechanism. A track car usually is lightened, has softer and wider tyres and / or has a more effective braking system installed. These mean that you shorten your braking distances considerably. 

It really seems that the Guardian is trying to paint this guy as a "Premium Rush" type dangerous cyclist (and to be honest the internet comments he made dosent help) and the deceased as an innocent victim.

Except  from where Im sitting it looks like she stepped out right in front of him glued to her mobile. 

She was at fault for not looking where she was going but he was at fault for removing his front brake (contrary to the law) and posting like an eejit afterwards. 

At least thats my take. 

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Rapha Nadal [575 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

No helmet or hi-viz on the pedestrian at the time? Tut tut.

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Crampy [29 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
sergius wrote:

I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for the chap, if someone is on a pedestrian crossing in front of you - you have to be prepared to stop for them.  Shouting at them to move doesn't count.

Maybe I missed it, but where is a pedestrian crossing mentioned?

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wellsprop [317 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Can't say I have an awful lot of sympathy for him either. The law is quite clear, you need brakes front and rear (rear fixed wheel counts as a brake).

Posting online probably didn't do him any good.

Totally agree that pedestrians are utterly clueless and ignorant when crossing roads - I've collided with two when cycling around Bristol... First was someone crossing a road when the red man was showing at the crossing - a car passed and they stepped out behind it (in front of me) without looking. The second, someone crossed the road (not at a crossing) whilst staring at their phone and walked straight into my path.

I stayed upright on both occasions. The first pedestrian and the phone didn't.

Doesn't take a lot to be at least a little aware of vehicles on roads...

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sergius [447 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Crampy wrote:
sergius wrote:

I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for the chap, if someone is on a pedestrian crossing in front of you - you have to be prepared to stop for them.  Shouting at them to move doesn't count.

Maybe I missed it, but where is a pedestrian crossing mentioned?

 

One of the articles I read on the subject said she was on a pedestrian crossing, maybe that's incorrect though.  He had time to shout at her to move = he had time to brake though.

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Duncann [1080 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Crampy wrote:

Furthermore, how would a front brake have helped?

Perhaps read a bit more about the case?

"If Mr Alliston had been riding a bike with proper brakes, he would have been able to avoid the collision with Mrs Briggs, prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said."

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40927791

The prosecution's assertion may be disproven but it wouldn't be an issue in the first place had the accused had not removed it.

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Vehlin [39 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes
sergius wrote:

One of the articles I read on the subject said she was on a pedestrian crossing, maybe that's incorrect though.  He had time to shout at her to move = he had time to brake though.

https://metrouk2.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/capture12.png is the photo the Metro put up at the time. I suspect that had the cyclist run a red light here (thus the ped having RoW) the papers would be full of "red light running cyclist" etc.

With that said, the fact that he was twice heard to shout for her to get out of the way does indicate that there should have been sufficient time for him to stop had he actually had front brakes.

With regards to the poster further above, a skidding stop on rear brake alone is less efficient than stopping on front brake alone (due to the way weight transfer affects braking) and way less efficient than using both together.

 

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brooksby [2507 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Crampy wrote:
sergius wrote:

I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for the chap, if someone is on a pedestrian crossing in front of you - you have to be prepared to stop for them.  Shouting at them to move doesn't count.

Maybe I missed it, but where is a pedestrian crossing mentioned?

I don't think there was, and I think sergius has misunderstood it.  There was a pedestrian who was crossing, not "a pedestrian crossing".

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brooksby [2507 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
wellsprop wrote:

Totally agree that pedestrians are utterly clueless and ignorant when crossing roads - I've collided with two when cycling around Bristol... First was someone crossing a road when the red man was showing at the crossing - a car passed and they stepped out behind it (in front of me) without looking. The second, someone crossed the road (not at a crossing) whilst staring at their phone and walked straight into my path.

Worst area for that in Bristol is the road between "old" Broadmead and Cabot Circus.  The one that's supposed to be buses, cycles, taxis, and "access only". 

Pedestrians just walk across from shopping area to shopping area without looking, just going on whether they can hear a bus coming, I think.  And that's even people with pushchairs/prams.

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peted76 [690 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out in the courts.. the onus has to be on the cyclist as he couldn't stop in time, avoiding ignorant, stupid pedestrians on mobile phones is part of the game. 

At only 20years old now, I just hope his life isn't ruined forever from this, although there's no going back for the 44year old mum and her family. Shame shame shame.

The express has a particualry horrid headline: 'Cyclist ‘on danger bike blamed victim after killed 20mph crash’

 

 

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Billj [17 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Crampy wrote:

It really seems that the Guardian is trying to paint this guy as a "Premium Rush" type dangerous cyclist (and to be honest the internet comments he made dosent help) and the deceased as an innocent victim.

Except  from where Im sitting it looks like she stepped out right in front of him glued to her mobile. 

She was at fault for not looking where she was going but he was at fault for removing his front brake (contrary to the law) and posting like an eejit afterwards. 

At least thats my take. 

 

Crampy - I don't think The Guardian is trying to 'paint' anything. As it is in a court case they can only report what is said in court and as the case opens with the prosecution it will be critical of the defendant. Whilst papers can't editorialise at this stage (it would be contempt of court), any bias can be seen in how much prominence they give when reporting the defence which I doubt will make front page of The Sun.

At this stage you also shouldn't apportion blame as you could be charged. However, in general, if cyclists are in an area with pedestrians, who may step out, then they have a duty of care towards vulnerable road users just as motor vehicle users should towards cyclists & pedestrians.

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hawkinspeter [905 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Billj wrote:

However, in general, if cyclists are in an area with pedestrians, who may step out, then they have a duty of care towards vulnerable road users just as motor vehicle users should towards cyclists & pedestrians.

And you should take special care  if you've just removed your most effective brake.

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Yorkshire wallet [1347 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Just remember it was a PLANET X, CARBON FRAMED bike as well. Apparently akin to SOMETHING USED IN A VELODROME! Without this pure-bred race machine underneath him he may have only been able to reach 19.8mph rather than 20!

The whole line the prosecution are playing with the fixie thing is pissing me off. Look at the fucking moron headplanting the van earlier today, looked like he was on a BSO and still managed a decent speed. Good job he wasn't on one of those velodrome race bikes or he'd be dead.

 

 

 

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CXR94Di2 [1723 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

IF, he'd been riding a bike without brakes, then he was riding dangerously. Deserves everything coming his way. His attitude certainly didn't help his position.

Roadworthy bike would of transferred onus of fault probably into pedestrian not looking or listening, but a unroadworthy bike trumps that

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jh27 [93 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
sergius wrote:

I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for the chap, if someone is on a pedestrian crossing in front of you - you have to be prepared to stop for them.  Shouting at them to move doesn't count.

 

I don't  recall seeing anything about the pedestrian being on a crossing.  The lastest DailyFail article quotes a witness that states the collision took place about 30 feet after the crossing.

 

But regardless, a cyclist needs the ability to stop quickly. Not sure if that makes it 'his fault', but pedestrians stepping into the road without looking isn't a new thing.  Certainly shouting at people, ringing a bell etc, is pretty pointless - if that they don't have earphones in and actually hear you, what are the chances that they are going to do something sensible? - much more likely that they'll stop in their tracks, you'll set a course to avoid them and then they'll move into your path again, in an attempt to move out off your way - which is what sounds like happened here. 

I don't know what the statistics are, but I'd have thought that it is generally the cyclist who comes off worst in a collision with a pedestrian (all things being equal).  In my opinion, he's lucky we aren't reading about cyclist killed by pedestrian - not that it is likely to have made it to court.

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jh27 [93 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
wellsprop wrote:

Can't say I have an awful lot of sympathy for him either. The law is quite clear, you need brakes front and rear (rear fixed wheel counts as a brake).

Posting online probably didn't do him any good.

Totally agree that pedestrians are utterly clueless and ignorant when crossing roads - I've collided with two when cycling around Bristol... First was someone crossing a road when the red man was showing at the crossing - a car passed and they stepped out behind it (in front of me) without looking. The second, someone crossed the road (not at a crossing) whilst staring at their phone and walked straight into my path.

I stayed upright on both occasions. The first pedestrian and the phone didn't.

Doesn't take a lot to be at least a little aware of vehicles on roads...

 

Probably teaching you to suck eggs, but as you've had to incidents, I'll continue.  In areas like this, it is a good idea to ride in primary.  It gives you extra time when they step off the kerb without looking and without warning - it also reduces the risk of this occuring whilst you are being overtaken by heavier vehicles (moving into the path of a lorry to avoid a pedestrian isn't likely to end well).  Obviously difficult if you are on cycle infrastructure that puts you next to pedestrians.

 

The last time this happened to me, it was a on one of the cycle superhighways in London - travelling about 20mph on a Boris bike with probably lot less stopping power than brakeless fixie.  She was stepped out onto the crossing (against the red man), into the cycle lane without even glancing. I'll admit, with hindsight, I should have tried to swap it for one with better brakes or kept my speed down.

 

Now, the cyclist with on the fixie.  He could have stopped quick with a working front brake - but what if he'd been on a road bike, with two brakes, travelling at 30mph.  Would the outcome have been any different?  I suppose we can only speculate.

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CygnusX1 [502 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
sergius wrote:
Crampy wrote:
sergius wrote:

I'm not sure I have a lot of sympathy for the chap, if someone is on a pedestrian crossing in front of you - you have to be prepared to stop for them.  Shouting at them to move doesn't count.

Maybe I missed it, but where is a pedestrian crossing mentioned?

 

One of the articles I read on the subject said she was on a pedestrian crossing, maybe that's incorrect though.  He had time to shout at her to move = he had time to brake though.

Some more details:

“It made me look up immediately, just in time to see a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian.”  [Mr Callan (witness)] said HR consultant Mrs Briggs was not using the crossing some 30 feet away.

Crash investigator Edward Small studied CCTV of the collision which was shown frame-by-frame in court.

He told jurors Alliston was seen in the footage beginning to swerve to take evasive action as he approached the pedestrian.

He was a minimum of between 6.65 and 9.65 metres away from Mrs Briggs and travelling at an average speed of 18mph, jurors were told.

Mrs Briggs stepped into the road 3.8 seconds before the crash, Mr Small said.

The investigator also carried out tests comparing the stopping distances of a police issue mountain bike, Alliston’s Planet X bike and a fixed wheel bike adapted with front brakes.

The court heard that Alliston was doing between 10mph and 14mph as he tried to avoid the collision.

Source:

http://www.hackneygazette.co.uk/news/crime-court/old-street-cycle-death-...

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wellsprop [317 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
wellsprop wrote:

Totally agree that pedestrians are utterly clueless and ignorant when crossing roads - I've collided with two when cycling around Bristol... First was someone crossing a road when the red man was showing at the crossing - a car passed and they stepped out behind it (in front of me) without looking. The second, someone crossed the road (not at a crossing) whilst staring at their phone and walked straight into my path.

Worst area for that in Bristol is the road between "old" Broadmead and Cabot Circus.  The one that's supposed to be buses, cycles, taxis, and "access only". 

Pedestrians just walk across from shopping area to shopping area without looking, just going on whether they can hear a bus coming, I think.  And that's even people with pushchairs/prams.

I avoid that area like the plague! When I have to cycle through/to there, I don't even bother cycling that part, easier to walk and push my bike.

jh27 wrote:
wellsprop wrote:

Can't say I have an awful lot of sympathy for him either. The law is quite clear, you need brakes front and rear (rear fixed wheel counts as a brake).

Posting online probably didn't do him any good.

Totally agree that pedestrians are utterly clueless and ignorant when crossing roads - I've collided with two when cycling around Bristol... First was someone crossing a road when the red man was showing at the crossing - a car passed and they stepped out behind it (in front of me) without looking. The second, someone crossed the road (not at a crossing) whilst staring at their phone and walked straight into my path.

I stayed upright on both occasions. The first pedestrian and the phone didn't.

Doesn't take a lot to be at least a little aware of vehicles on roads...

Probably teaching you to suck eggs, but as you've had to incidents, I'll continue.  In areas like this, it is a good idea to ride in primary.  It gives you extra time when they step off the kerb without looking and without warning - it also reduces the risk of this occuring whilst you are being overtaken by heavier vehicles (moving into the path of a lorry to avoid a pedestrian isn't likely to end well).  Obviously difficult if you are on cycle infrastructure that puts you next to pedestrians.

Yep, definitely sucking eggs - always ride in primary with hands covering the brakes where there's lots of traffic/pedestrians.

Funnily enough, both incidents were on the same stretch of road - Bristo City Centre Anchor Road/St Augustines Parade - nightmare. Two of the guys in the cycle club have had run-ins there too.

Comes to something with a pulsing 800-lumen front light isn't adequate to get you noticed prevent people walking out in front of you. I suppose mobile phones are just more interesting to most than road safety.

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