No speed limit sign means no prosecution for speeding driver who killed cyclist on pedestrian crossing

Motorist struck Jaye Bloomfield as she crossed slip road on Mancunian Way last August

by Simon_MacMichael   June 4, 2014  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

A coroner’s inquest has heard that a speeding motorist in Manchester who struck and killed a cyclist as she was negotiating a pedestrian crossing escaped prosecution because signs notifying a change in the speed limit had been put in the wrong place.

Michael Campbell, aged 40, was travelling at between 41 and 49mph in his Seat Leon when he hit 44-year-old Jaye Bloomfield in August last year, reports the Manchester Evening News.

She died as a result of severe head and chest injuries shortly after the collision on a slip road leadinhg to the Mancunian Way. The location where the crash happened has a speed limit of 30mph, but the inquest was told that contractors had put signs in the wrong place.

Police Constable Ian Beaumont told the coroner: “The Mancunian Way is classed as a motorway, and when a motorway ends there should be appropriate signage of the speed limit.

“There should be a sign indicating the speed limit but this was incorrectly placed by the contractors.

“Improvements are being made to the signage so it is at the start of the slip road. A 30mph sign will be brought in next to the end of the motorway.”

According to witnesses, immediately before the collision, the cyclist was straddling her bike, using her feet to push herself forward.

The police officer added: “The pedestrian crossing is placed essentially in the middle of the motorway. It’s not meant for cyclists, but for the movement of pedestrians.”

The motorist was arrested following the fatal incident, but no charges were brought due to prosecutors deciding that in the absence of correctly positioned signs telling drivers of the change in the speed limit, he would not have been aware that he needed to slow down.

Giving evidence at the inquest, Mr Campbell said: “The traffic lights were green so I accelerated towards the Mancunian Way. I heard something hit the car and thought it had come from above.

“I stopped immediately in the middle of the road and looked to the left and saw someone in the road.

“I ran to the person. I was so confused. Two cars stopped and they called the police and ambulance.”

Returning a narrative verdict, the coroner, Fiona Borrill, said: “I shall be writing a letter to Manchester City Council to find out when the signs will be in place.”

Ms Bloomfield had entered into a civil partnership with Gemma Godden, her partner of eight and a half years, just under 12 months before her death and the pair were preparing to celebrate their anniversary.

In a statement issued through her solicitor, Ms Godden said: “I am grateful for the Coroner’s investigation in to the circumstances surrounding the accident that killed Jaye.

“I have lost the partner I loved and wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

"I miss her every day as do her family and friends. We both loved cycling but this terrible accident once again highlights the dangers cyclists face from motorists driving at speed.

"I urge drivers to respect the speed limit. If the driver who hit Jaye had been driving at 30mph or below as he should have been, he would almost certainly have seen her and been able to stop.

"I want police to clamp down on speeding drivers and I want drivers to realise that cyclists are all someone’s loved one. Please look out for cyclists and give them space on the roads.”

Her solicitor, Carol Jackson, added: “We are advising Gemma as to the possibility of a civil action against the driver of the car."

50 user comments

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David, that is the correct location, there is a crossing point under the motorway to the left of your co-ordinates. It has two sections, one from Rockdove avenue (colloquially named the redbricks) to under the motorway flyover, and then another section north of that to the hotel on th other side.

Jaye was killed on the first section, where the road leads towards the mancuanian way as it drops down to ground level. However it requires the driver to indicate out of that lane to join the motorway. The lane it's self continues upwards to join A roads at a large roundabout, so technically this lane is NOT motorway and doesn't join it either, there is no need for a person to accelerate hard at all

posted by GREGJONES [112 posts]
5th June 2014 - 9:49

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GMP have utterly smoke and mirrorsed this case. I've never been so appalled by the behaviour of an officer supposedly working on behalf of the people of Manchester and I have seen GMPs officers commit some truly awful acts.

posted by farrell [1394 posts]
5th June 2014 - 10:09

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David Portland wrote:
Anyone know which junction this was? The only one I can see on Google Earth with ped crossings on the slip roads is this one:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Mancunian+Way/@53.4703218,-2.2469628,145m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x487bb1eb414a487f:0x8f65dc5f26c77ecf

Yes - it is that one. As you say, and as with my previous post, all of the roads approaching the slip road are 30mph. There are no signs to the contrary until after the crossing. Ergo, it's a 30mph limit.

It beggars belief that the PC has given the evidence that he has (assuming it has been reported accurately). Looks like GMP spent a couple of minutes during a tea break preparing for it.

posted by dp24 [185 posts]
5th June 2014 - 10:13

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Quote:
The police officer added: “The pedestrian crossing is placed essentially in the middle of the motorway. It’s not meant for cyclists, but for the movement of pedestrians.”

I really don't see the relevance of the policeman's comment above, in the story.

Is he saying that it's all OK because it was a cyclist scooting across a non-toucan crossing rather than a pedestrian walking across it?

Surely if Mr Campbell was speeding (even if doing so inadvertantly #devilsadvocate) and didn't see Ms Bloomfield, then presumably exactly the same thing would have happened if she had been walking across as a pedestrian.

Would it have been still treated the same if she had been walking her bike across (as a pedestrian), or is the fact she was scooting across meaning that therefore she was a cyclist "illegally" using the crossing?

posted by brooksby [88 posts]
5th June 2014 - 10:31

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If the police had simply stopped this guy for speeding would he have got away with it because of the same reason, i very very! much doubt it?
The result of this case is astonishing & tragic, how very sad

posted by bfslxo [118 posts]
5th June 2014 - 10:39

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brooksby wrote:
Quote:
The police officer added: “The pedestrian crossing is placed essentially in the middle of the motorway. It’s not meant for cyclists, but for the movement of pedestrians.”

I really don't see the relevance of the policeman's comment above, in the story.

It's completely irrelevant and also completely untrue.

So, whilst giving evidence PC Ian Beaumont is either so totally unaware of whats happened or where it has happened that it gross incompetence or he had deliberately and purposefully misled the hearing with his evidence. Given that he is allegedly a "senior investigating officer" I would imagine a mistake of this magnitude would not be allowed to happen.

brooksby wrote:
Would it have been still treated the same if she had been walking her bike across (as a pedestrian), or is the fact she was scooting across meaning that therefore she was a cyclist "illegally" using the crossing?

I don't get why some people, not yourself, are attempting to highlight this, why the hell would cycling or scooting a bike across a crossing be in any way an issue? Why should you have to get off and walk just because you're on a bike?

Do we also expect babies and young children to get out of their buggies to use crossings? Or disabled people to rise up out of their wheelchairs like Lourdes miracles when the green man lights up? Of course not, it would be absurd, just as absurd as the notions being put forth by the nonsense from PC Beaumont.

posted by farrell [1394 posts]
5th June 2014 - 12:03

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farrell wrote:
brooksby wrote:
Quote:
The police officer added: “The pedestrian crossing is placed essentially in the middle of the motorway. It’s not meant for cyclists, but for the movement of pedestrians.”

I really don't see the relevance of the policeman's comment above, in the story.

It's completely irrelevant and also completely untrue.

So, whilst giving evidence PC Ian Beaumont is either so totally unaware of whats happened or where it has happened that it gross incompetence or he had deliberately and purposefully misled the hearing with his evidence. Given that he is allegedly a "senior investigating officer" I would imagine a mistake of this magnitude would not be allowed to happen.

brooksby wrote:
Would it have been still treated the same if she had been walking her bike across (as a pedestrian), or is the fact she was scooting across meaning that therefore she was a cyclist "illegally" using the crossing?

I don't get why some people, not yourself, are attempting to highlight this, why the hell would cycling or scooting a bike across a crossing be in any way an issue? Why should you have to get off and walk just because you're on a bike?

Do we also expect babies and young children to get out of their buggies to use crossings? Or disabled people to rise up out of their wheelchairs like Lourdes miracles when the green man lights up? Of course not, it would be absurd, just as absurd as the notions being put forth by the nonsense from PC Beaumont.

Exactly!

So, is it equally legal to gun someone down because they've driven through a red light - NO!

Is it legal to stab someone to death because they committed fraud - NO!

Just because something is illegal doesn't make committing another crime legal.

Either that, or I've been living in the wrong country all my life...

The guy was driving carelessly, at the very least. Whether or not he was speeding is immaterial, he wasn't paying attention or driving at a speed that would have allowed him to stop for the crossing - whether it had a pedestrian, horse, errant shopping trolley, or "scooting" cyclist.

Angry

posted by Jimbonic [107 posts]
5th June 2014 - 13:06

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A few views, based on the fact...that there aren't too many facts published:

1) The guy was travelling at the limit and the lady left the pavement in front of him against a red man, driver had the green light and due to his speed and the bend in the road couldn't avoid it as he seen her too late. At 50mph, fatal, (at 30 probably fatal too)
2) He was indicted on what was the most easily proven offence - speeding, but the signs cocked that up and the CPS have had their chance?

....but...

I WAS prosecuted for speeding, on an on ramp, (no footway, ped crossing, street lights or anything) that had crash barriers etc. and no 30mph sign at all in any position, the Police got away with the fact that I had passed a 30 sign 4 MILES before the ramp, and the fact that the road was a new layout and looked like part of the motorway wasn't accepted as a defence, I did actually see the speed gun but reckoned it was a 50 from all the Armco etc. (I was done for doing 38) they still sit here 5 years later and 'do' drivers all day long, so if they can do this, why the hell cant this guy be prosecuted, especially speeding over a pedestrian crossing, which I'm fairly sure only exist only on 30mph routes

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [522 posts]
5th June 2014 - 13:35

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Flying Scot wrote:
driver had the green light

According to the driver. And you'll have to forgive my doubts about the veracity of anything he says.

It's very strange that he managed to override the pareidolia that is innate in humans and failed to make out the shape of another person, and their bicycle, directly in front of him yet manage to clearly see that the light was green.

posted by farrell [1394 posts]
5th June 2014 - 14:01

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Its all a bit off, I would be looking into 'who' this guy is.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [522 posts]
5th June 2014 - 15:00

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>due to his speed and the bend in the road couldn't avoid it as he seen her too late

Err..'don't go faster than the distance you can see to stop in' may be relevent in that case.

Plus the presence of a pedestrian crossing lights/zigzags, regardless of what the lights are set to, is a bit of a clue that a pedestrian might try to cross regardless.

posted by JonD [179 posts]
5th June 2014 - 15:36

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Flying Scot wrote:
A few views ... The guy was travelling at the limit and the lady left the pavement in front of him against a red man, driver had the green light and due to his speed and the bend in the road couldn't avoid it as he seen her too late.

I'm pretty sure that still doesn't give him licence to just plough through her...

Well, I was, until I read this story.

Basically, it all boils down to "not driving at an appropriate speed for the environment" or whatever the Highway Code says (=driving at below the expected standard, surely?). There's a reason they don't put pedestrian crossings (whether zebras or pelicans or toucans) on motorways...

posted by brooksby [88 posts]
5th June 2014 - 16:40

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How many more have to die or be maimed before something is done about our woefully inadequate justice system? If you want to see change, sign this: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65953

posted by Garrrrrr [7 posts]
5th June 2014 - 16:41

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Cyclists should be aware that motorists are no obliged to give precedence to them on a pedestrian crossing. You have to be off to and pushing to earn that - by being a pedestrian.
The speed issue has no bearing on the specific offence re the pedestrian crossing.
The speed issue would be good evidence towards an offence of dangerous/ reckless/ without due care etc, but the road signage appears to have put paid to that.
What you're left with is no stick to beat the driver with. Sad as the case may be, those are the facts - I didn't see any criticism of the police for the coroner?
It's not the justice system at fault here - it's the cyclist and the signage. Do people seriously think that the police would not prosecute if there was a case?
Should the cyclist have been seen - yes.
Should it have happened - of course not.
Importantly what we aren't told here is -
How is tech cars speed assessed? From the injuries?
Did the cyclist go into the side of the car of vice versa.
There's always more to know before getting out the pitchforks.

I'm old - not dead.

posted by Eebijeebi [33 posts]
5th June 2014 - 19:08

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Cyclists should be aware that motorists are not obliged to give precedence to them on a pedestrian crossing. You have to be off to and pushing to earn that - by being a pedestrian.
The speed issue has no bearing on the specific offence re the pedestrian crossing.
The speed issue would be good evidence towards an offence of dangerous/ reckless/ without due care etc, but the road signage appears to have put paid to that.
What you're left with is no stick to beat the driver with. Sad as the case may be, those are the facts - I didn't see any criticism of the police from the coroner?
It's not the justice system at fault here - it's the cyclist and the signage. Do people seriously think that the police would not prosecute if there was a case?
Should the cyclist have been seen - yes.
Should it have happened - of course not.
Importantly what we aren't told here is -
How is the cars speed assessed? From the injuries?
Did the cyclist go into the side of the car of vice versa.
There's always more to know before getting out the pitchforks.

I'm old - not dead.

posted by Eebijeebi [33 posts]
5th June 2014 - 19:12

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Eebijeebi wrote:
Cyclists should be aware that motorists are not obliged to give precedence to them on a pedestrian crossing. You have to be off to and pushing to earn that - by being a pedestrian.

Really? A person on a bike in the road has to 'earn' the right to not be mown down? That's certainly an interesting interpretation the law.

Eebijeebi wrote:

The speed issue would be good evidence towards an offence of dangerous/ reckless/ without due care etc, but the road signage appears to have put paid to that.

If you bother to read the comments above, you'll understand why the argument about signage is nonsense.

Eebijeebi wrote:
Do people seriously think that the police would not prosecute if there was a case?

I don't know, but what is for certain is that the comments from the PC involved in the inquest demonstrate a stunningly cavalier attitude to the matter.

Eebijeebi wrote:

There's always more to know

Yes, quite.

posted by dp24 [185 posts]
5th June 2014 - 20:24

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Hmmm, seems like Mr. Campbell's driving warrants a present. I'm in that area and have lots of old kit that I can cobble together to make a reasonable bike.
With any luck, sooner or later and hopefully sooner, he'll get what he deserves.

K Stand Ken

posted by K Stand Ken [43 posts]
5th June 2014 - 20:47

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A road traffic death. Coroners court. The officer, unless a witness to the incident, which it sounds like there were none to except prior to and after the event, is going to be a highly trained accident investigator.
If you think he's wrong pick up the phone and start an enquiry.
With the limited information I'll put my faith in them, not emotive rantings thanks.

I'm old - not dead.

posted by Eebijeebi [33 posts]
5th June 2014 - 21:23

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Eebijeebi wrote:

With the limited information I'll put my faith in them, not emotive rantings thanks.

Good job i'm not ranting then. Again, if you bother to read the comments above you, you'll see that the issue with the PC's comments has already been pointed out. Seems like you'd rather snipe at people than inform yourself.

posted by dp24 [185 posts]
5th June 2014 - 21:56

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posted by Eebijeebi [33 posts]
5th June 2014 - 22:34

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Eebijeebi wrote:

It sounds to me a strong possibilty that the accident was on the off slip.

It wasn't on the off slip, no matter how strong a possibility that you think it may have been

Now you can choose to believe that or not, but when doing so, bear in mind that one of us can say they use said road at least twice a week.

posted by dp24 [185 posts]
5th June 2014 - 22:45

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I've just found the above link, so I believe you indeed (hence the post has gone).
Looks horrible - but isn't that a traffic light controlled crossing?

Witnesses as to the phase of the lights?
Witnesses to the accident at all?
Incorrect signage of speed limit making speed not enforceable.

Was he not paying attention or was she not?

Don't get me wrong, I have no presumption of driver innocence (or responsibility in this case), but I don't see where the police are in the wrong here or the officer's attitude is cavalier, or what they have done to be slated and derided as letting people down.

So often you see complaints that the police operate outside of the law so we can't blame them when the law trips itself up.

I'm old - not dead.

posted by Eebijeebi [33 posts]
5th June 2014 - 22:55

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Those pictures put into perspective how bad the road layout is, the lights are hidden on the exit of a 2 lane, one way blind corner on a motorway on slip, you know, on slips...the kind of place cars usually accelerate.

I suspect the guy has took that corner too fast and didn't know there was a crossing there, it's a one way 2 lane into one road, thus requiring a bit of mirror work, so speeding, and got caught out.

If he was, however, familiar with the road, he can't blame the layout, as stupid as it is, you can reasonably expect people on to be on crossings and shouldn't go charging into them.

I suspect there is a file on this road that could be pulled on freedom of information staying that it's dangerous and this could probably have been used in a defence should the driver find himself on a more serious charge.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [522 posts]
5th June 2014 - 22:56

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Eebijeebi wrote:
but I don't see where the police are in the wrong here or the officer's attitude is cavalier, or what they have done to be slated and derided as letting people down.

Because people are rightly concerned that, on what has been reported, the driver seems to have been excused, based on the comments of an officer referring to a piece of road on which the accident did not occur.

There is no excuse in relation to signage that is applicable to his speed in this case.

posted by dp24 [185 posts]
5th June 2014 - 23:15

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Of course one of the huge and bitter ironies of all this was that this poor woman was an employee of Manchester City Council.

Now, one would hope, that after the needless death of one of its employees the City Council would be jolted into doing something to improve the welfare of cyclists across.
Sadly this isnt the case and tired and lame excuses for inactivity are trotted out, opportunities are wasted, money is wasted and nothing ever improves.
The tide of bullshit about Manchester becoming a 'cycling city' continues to come out of the town hall and yet people keep on dying because of woeful infrastructure, apathetic councillors and incompetent leadership.

I think that at least deserves a At Wits End

posted by Some Fella [741 posts]
5th June 2014 - 23:51

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dp24 wrote:
Eebijeebi wrote:
but I don't see where the police are in the wrong here or the officer's attitude is cavalier, or what they have done to be slated and derided as letting people down.

Because people are rightly concerned that, on what has been reported, the driver seems to have been excused, based on the comments of an officer referring to a piece of road on which the accident did not occur.

There is no excuse in relation to signage that is applicable to his speed in this case.

4 sentences reported from the whole of an accident investigators evidence. This is the same guy who gave you your estimated speed but you don't query that. Do you seriously believe that through all the investigation, the enquiry into the signage and through the coroners hearing that no one would have raised an eyebrow - yet people on here thought it form four sentences?
Too quick to damn.

I'm old - not dead.

posted by Eebijeebi [33 posts]
6th June 2014 - 7:32

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Flying Scot wrote:

Those pictures put into perspective how bad the road layout is, the lights are hidden on the exit of a 2 lane, one way blind corner on a motorway on slip, you know, on slips...the kind of place cars usually accelerate.

It's pretty awful, certainly, but the presence of traffic lights on the slip road is signposted on the approach to the roundabout as well as at the entry to the slip road itself. It also says SLOW in massive letters on the slip road and there are zig-zags on the approach. All of which the driver appears to have either not noticed or just ignored. There's only so much that road design can do when faced with that level of incompetence or ignorance. I mean, really, how is "he may not have known what was around the corner" any kind of defence? If you don't know what's around the corner, drive accordingly. "I don't know what's around this blind corner, so I'll assume it's completely clear and also speed up a bit, just to be sure" doesn't really cut it.

posted by David Portland [88 posts]
6th June 2014 - 11:12

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clayfit wrote:
I'm hoping that Carol Jackson will be able to use the civil route to pursue the driver.
How about suing the contractors who screwed up here?

posted by arowland [84 posts]
6th June 2014 - 18:33

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Quote:
I don't get why some people, not yourself, are attempting to highlight this, why the hell would cycling or scooting a bike across a crossing be in any way an issue? Why should you have to get off and walk just because you're on a bike?

Do we also expect babies and young children to get out of their buggies to use crossings? Or disabled people to rise up out of their wheelchairs like Lourdes miracles when the green man lights up? Of course not, it would be absurd, just as absurd as the notions being put forth by the nonsense from PC Beaumont.

I also find it baffling how there are people who construct some justification for persecuting cyclists by treating them differently to other similar members of the public. Its as if the only way 'motorists' can justify their attitude to cyclists is by treating us like other motorists. They say we don't pay road tax and we don't follow the rules, so we deserve all we get. Totally bogus irrelevant arguments, in my view, but for some silly, small-minded reason there are more and more people who think like the anti-cycling petrol-head brigade.

In my view the law should be changed to an automatic assumption that the pedestrian or cyclist is not at fault when a motor vehicle hits someone. Cyclists are more like pedestrians than they are like motor vehicles, so why do the authorities not get it? In my view, so long as cyclists ride with due courtesy to pedestrians, they ought to be able to use pedestrian areas without the need for bye-laws. At the very least the default situation of shared pavements should be around pedestrian crossings, busy main roads and busy junctions.

In Twickenham they've been altering a busy junction to make it more cycle friendly. They have removed a bus lane, which may sound bad, but at the same time they have lowered the pavement to the level of the road all the way across the junction allowing cyclists to ride alongside pedestrians and negotiate the junction much more safely, whilst reducing delays at rush hour. These solutions are being implemented all over the country so why not go the whole hog and make all pavements, 'shared', where there is no room for a separate cycle lane. Obviously the rule should always be that pedestrians have the right of way, so cyclists ought to stop to allow pedestrians to pass and not ride at such high speeds to make the whole space unsafe, but it's got to be better than treating cyclists like a motor vehicle, which they clearly are not.

posted by BigBear63 [69 posts]
6th June 2014 - 21:33

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Eebijeebi wrote:
dp24 wrote:
Eebijeebi wrote:
but I don't see where the police are in the wrong here or the officer's attitude is cavalier, or what they have done to be slated and derided as letting people down.

Because people are rightly concerned that, on what has been reported, the driver seems to have been excused, based on the comments of an officer referring to a piece of road on which the accident did not occur.

There is no excuse in relation to signage that is applicable to his speed in this case.

4 sentences reported from the whole of an accident investigators evidence. This is the same guy who gave you your estimated speed but you don't query that. Do you seriously believe that through all the investigation, the enquiry into the signage and through the coroners hearing that no one would have raised an eyebrow - yet people on here thought it form four sentences?
Too quick to damn.

But the same argument applies the other way - why the blithe assumption that everything is fine?

In the absence of greater detail, why is it wrong to ask questions based on the obvious problems raised by the 'four sentences'. I guess some of us don't share the complacent faith in the "authorities", especially given what one sees all around in terms of car-centric thinking.

These questions seem valid to me - why is the signage critical when no sign told the driver that the previous speed limit no longer applied? And if the signage is such a big deal why are those responsible for it not in the dock?
And why is the fact the victim was straddling a bike relevant? Yes its against the rules, but that's not enough, it needs to be shown it affected the outcome. If a victim of such an event had had illegal drugs on their person, for example, that's also against the rules but would anyone say that somehow caused the accident?

Perhaps justice was done, but it would be nice if it were _seen_ to be done. It seems in general as though the aftermath of RTAs is rarely reported in sufficient depth for that to be the case.

It still seems to end up that someone is dead and yet again 'nobody is to blame'.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [657 posts]
7th June 2014 - 17:18

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