Labour MP's anger after London cyclist leaves him bruised

Toby Perkins says he was left with "massive bruises" - but author Owen Jones defends capital's cyclists

by Simon_MacMichael   June 19, 2014  

Big Ben © Simon MacMichael

A Labour MP has spoken of his anger after being left with “massive bruises” when he was hit by a cyclist in Central London.

Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield and shadow minister for small and medium-sized enterprises, was heading to yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions at the time.

He tweeted:

It is unclear whether the cyclist was riding through a red light at the time, or whether Mr Perkins was crossing at a green pedestrian signal, although from a subsequent exchange, the implication is that the rider ignored a traffic signal.

Political commentator Owen Jones, author of the books Chavs and The Establishment, leapt to the defence of the capital’s bike riders, and received a reply from the MP which suggested the cyclist had ridden through a red light:

In November 2012, Mr Perkins announced he was supporting the road safety charity Brake's Go 20 campaign, aimed at making the roads safer for cyclists - and pedestrians.

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Leodis wrote:
Well thats me voting for UKIP then.

Please don't.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/recreational-cycling/10846025/Cycl...

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1188 posts]
19th June 2014 - 18:34

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It's entirely possible the cyclist was either filtering too fast or ignored a light. I don't know that, but it happens. Now why am I as another one of those "London cyclists" somehow associated with that in his broad catch all statement?

How many unassociated groups do you think you could get away with saying such a thing. Let's go straight for the obvious, and pick on race or religion, I'm sure that would go down well

posted by bikebot [456 posts]
19th June 2014 - 18:40

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Remember that this guy is a politician. They are very adept at choosing words carefully to give an impression which is quite contrary to the truth, without actually lying.

The fact that he could have said that the cyclist went through a light set at red, but that he did not say this, leads me to assume that in fact the lights were green for traffic and that he took the opportunity to cross because some other congestion, or a traffic signal further on, had brought traffic to a halt.

Of course, the cyclist would be well advised to proceed with caution in such a situation, but I am guessing he didn't actually commit any offence.

posted by Paul M [306 posts]
19th June 2014 - 19:11

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I was always under the impression that a pedestrian no matter the status of the light has absolute priority.

posted by freespirit1 [143 posts]
19th June 2014 - 19:48

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At least he could tweet about it, a car/bus/lorry would have killed him.

posted by mrchrispy [282 posts]
19th June 2014 - 20:54

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So is the MP going to tell us more details about what happened? Was he at a crossing? Was the cyclist jumping a light? Or was the MP crossing between stationary traffic and didn't see the cyclist? If it was the last case, then the cyclist would actually have right of way. Pedestrians are supposed to look out for moving traffic when crossing, and that includes bicycles. But it's impossible to tell from the information here.

I'm another of those London cyclists and have had numerous close encounters with pedestrians who may listen but don't look when crossing roads.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
19th June 2014 - 21:43

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freespirit1 wrote:
I was always under the impression that a pedestrian no matter the status of the light has absolute priority.

I'm sorry. Are you suggesting that pedestrians can just wander out onto a light controlled pedestrian crossing, if the traffic is temporarily stationary, and have right of way even if their light is on red?

I'd love to know where you read that.

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [586 posts]
19th June 2014 - 22:02

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We have no idea if the incident occurred on a pedestrian crossing or at a junction that did not have pedestrian phase (they do exist - here's one local to me http://goo.gl/maps/4EZD2 )If the traffic has come to a halt at a junction or there is no traffic the pedestrian can then cross with care. Lights only serve as an invitation to cross in relative safety, though motorists have been known to sail on through regardless which happened to me once when half way across a pedestrian crossing on the green man. Fortunately I was keeping an eye for such a possibility and was able to stop in time. A youngster or elderly person may not have been so lucky.

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posted by giff77 [1040 posts]
19th June 2014 - 22:44

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Telling that a politician didn't have the sense to look properly or have the balls to shove the chopper cyclist off his bike. I'd much rather read a story one here entitled 'politician shoves RLJ'ing cyclist under a bus then stamps on his jaw' than this sort of story.

P.s. Could we all stop defending the cyclist when we all know the probable truth.

posted by georgee [137 posts]
19th June 2014 - 23:52

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Quote:
I'd much rather read a story one here entitled 'politician shoves RLJ'ing cyclist under a bus then stamps on his jaw' than this sort of story.

Why? I don't know why it helps to gratuitously introduce imagined assaults into the story.

posted by HarrogateSpa [81 posts]
20th June 2014 - 6:34

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How about this then?

Labour MP is running late and in a hurry decides to cross the road weaving through the stationary cars. No problem , he is after all a 'by right' user of the highway.

He is so intent on reaching his destination that he fails to see another by right user [the cyclist] and react to the fact that their paths will cross causing a possible conflict. As he is the one crossing traffic flows then he is the one who has the main responsibility for avoiding collision. (See rules of the sea from time immemorial). Or put another way his actions directly caused the collision.

He when arrives at his destination after berating the person he has assaulted and then proceeds to denigrate the victim via social media and whinge about his self-inflicted injuries. Note: He makes no mention of his victims injuries as he didn't endeavour to find out and doesn't care.

"How dare this Pleb get in my way! Doesn't he know I'm a very important person - I'm a Member of Parliament!" aka Pompous Git. Devil

Just a thought. Big Grin

posted by levermonkey [341 posts]
20th June 2014 - 6:37

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I hope the cyclist apologised for his carelessness. When cycling (or driving) you've got to think for everyone else but above all always give way to pedestrians. Just remember any crowd you've ever tried to walk through in a hurry...random motion.

We'll never know what happened and it's always possible that Mr Perkins walked out from behind a slab sided van into the cyclist's path. However the cyclist should have been travelling at a speed that would have enabled him to stop, or at least limit the damage.

Careless cycling will not win supporters for this excellent mode of transport.

posted by oliverjames [15 posts]
20th June 2014 - 7:39

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Nothing is ever a politician's fault - you only have to look at this idiot Perkins' Labour collegues' reaction to what's happening in Iraq to see that

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posted by Northernbike [118 posts]
20th June 2014 - 7:50

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those pedestrians going through static traffic without caring are so annoying
even when there is zero pedestrian path they run through cars.. and jump in the bikes. and of course they're completely wrong to do so.

sounds like this is the stuff that happened there.

posted by muffies [12 posts]
20th June 2014 - 8:17

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oliverjames wrote:
I hope the cyclist apologised for his carelessness. When cycling (or driving) you've got to think for everyone else but above all always give way to pedestrians. Just remember any crowd you've ever tried to walk through in a hurry...random motion.

We'll never know what happened and it's always possible that Mr Perkins walked out from behind a slab sided van into the cyclist's path. However the cyclist should have been travelling at a speed that would have enabled him to stop, or at least limit the damage.

Careless cycling will not win supporters for this excellent mode of transport.

So, we don't know what happened, but the cyclist should apologise. It could have been a van blocking his view, but the cyclist should have been going slower?

Basically we know nothing so how on earth can we ascribe "could have" or "should have" to anyone?

posted by bendertherobot [253 posts]
20th June 2014 - 8:27

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If red light jumping cyclist (95% of which in my experience are not cyclists as defined on here but casuals) then throw the book at them. They are a minority in London regardless of what people think but I'm sick of them.

If they were legally filtering when some d*ckhead walked out in front of them without looking then I hope he reads this article and decides to sue.

I 100% agree with giving pedestrians priority and forcing vehicles including cyclists to stop if they can but you simply can't overcome the laws of physics - I've seen this too many times and they always think they're in the right in the heat of the moment

posted by StoopidUserName [25 posts]
20th June 2014 - 8:41

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It's got a touch of the Brick Tamlands this thread.

posted by farrell [1319 posts]
20th June 2014 - 9:06

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Pedestrians only have right of way if they are already crossing a road in which you are turning. Rule 1 for pedestrians states, "If you have to step into the road, look both ways first. Always show due care and consideration for others." Rule 18 states, "always check that the traffic has stopped before you start to cross or push a pram onto a crossing." 12 states, "You should only start to cross the road when the green figure shows."

Of course we don't know if there was a light or not, but if this was me I would have stated that the lights were red if they had been. It could have just as easily been a motorbike coming down there, in which case the MP would be tweeting from a hospital bed.

jaunty angle: bikes and communications
http://ragtag.wordpress.com

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posted by ragtag [154 posts]
20th June 2014 - 9:13

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Sounds to me as if he was in the wrong...

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

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posted by jmaccelari [144 posts]
20th June 2014 - 9:15

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If it was a red light, he would have said so. Here, he just implies it and allows the association that lights + cyclist = RLJ without saying so. It is a classic politician spin technique. He can't be called up for lying if he didn't say that he was hit by RLJ. therefore, it is very safe to conclude that he was not RLJ, but was crossing through stopped traffic and stepped in front of the cyclist who quite rightly and legally was filtering.

posted by md6 [154 posts]
20th June 2014 - 10:16

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in fact, just checked his twitter feed and he hasn't answered someone ask if the cyclist was RLJ, so I've asked him again...lets see if he replies/confirms that as i expect, the cyclist was not RLJ

posted by md6 [154 posts]
20th June 2014 - 10:20

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
ribena wrote:
It sounds too me as though the cyclist was filtering and Toby Perkins has walked through the stationary traffic to cross the road.

This happens a lot in London.

He did say it was "at lights" - he just didn't clarify which colour they were...

yeah traffic stationary at lights. Cyclist filtering or quite properly passing stationary traffic, dozy pedestrian not looking.

I can guarantee that had the cyclist been doing anything remotely wrong then the dozy pedestrian would have quoted it chapter and verse.

Toby Perkins just needs to follow the Green Cross code.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [505 posts]
20th June 2014 - 12:21

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jova54 wrote:
freespirit1 wrote:
I was always under the impression that a pedestrian no matter the status of the light has absolute priority.

I'm sorry. Are you suggesting that pedestrians can just wander out onto a light controlled pedestrian crossing, if the traffic is temporarily stationary, and have right of way even if their light is on red?

I'd love to know where you read that.

Highway code Rule 66 and 67.

Is there anything that says a pedestrian can not cross a road? No? Then de facto they have right of way.

It is not mandatory for pedestrians to cross only when there is a green man, there are no jay-walking laws in this country.

posted by kie7077 [434 posts]
20th June 2014 - 12:23

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md6 wrote:
in fact, just checked his twitter feed and he hasn't answered someone ask if the cyclist was RLJ, so I've asked him again...lets see if he replies/confirms that as i expect, the cyclist was not RLJ

I doubt he'll answer. His post was dishonest in that it mentioned traffic lights in order to trigger the whole RLJ meme, but never stated RLJ or what he was doing in the road with the stationary traffic at the time.

he's just dishonest.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [505 posts]
20th June 2014 - 12:26

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The pedestrian SHOULD exercise proper care when crossing the road - whether at a crossing point or not and whether or not traffic is stationary. Clearly here not all of the traffic was stationary as there was a moving bike (which as we all know is traffic).

However the cyclist just like all other road users should always be aware of what is going on all around them. If you are filtering you still need to maintain awareness and if passing a vehicle that limits your ability to see then you slow down accordingly. If you do that you don't generally hit pedestrians (even idiot MPs - note I'm basing "idiot" on his policies not his road crossing ability).

When a motor vehicle is being driven a bit too quickly for what they can see, or makes manouvres where they don't have clear vision and hits a cyclist because they couldn't stop we quite rightly get upset and angry about that. So lets not get too defensive of cyclists before we know the full facts.

Shay

posted by shay cycles [211 posts]
20th June 2014 - 12:38

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I go through here every day. Due to tourist levels (and no doubt to assist politicians in getting back to Parliament from their other places of employment nearby) there are two sets of lights and two Pedestrian crossings there. I have seen plenty of jumpers, and plenty of people stepping into the road, deep in conversation or just plain lost. Most of the crossings run up near Parliament itself, and are within 30 yards of armed uniformed police manning barriers and suchlike. If an MP had been left with "massive bruising" I am sure someone would have gone to his aid, and that more of a story would have resulted. With no other info at hand, this smells a little bit like - "look constituents - still working hard - and taking risks for you" Is there an election in the offing?

Why is there never a tailwind?

posted by What Mid Life Crisis [14 posts]
20th June 2014 - 13:36

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Its impossible to discuss this without knowing what actually happened. If the cyclist was jumping a red at the time that's a very different thing from if they weren't.

If he was then my sympathies are 100% with the MP, but if not, then responsibility is more-than-likely a bit mixed (I do tend to think pedestrians always have priority, but if someone literally steps out right in front of a vehicle there's not much that can be done about it).

Main thing is, typically for a bike accident its just bruises and people being annoyed, and not a death. Also - would it be wrong to point out that it was probably the presence of large motorised vehicles that obscured everyone's lines of sight?

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [640 posts]
20th June 2014 - 13:49

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Was the MP wearing high visibility and a helmet?

The comment about cyclists not wanting to stop shows a fundamental misconception of most cycle policy and a cause for poor infrastructure design.

Forcing a cyclist to stop from 25 kph is equivalent to making the rider do an extra 100 metres in terms of energy used. To encourage more people to switch to cycling should be designed to minimise this impact to cyclists by making red lights "Give Way" and granting cyclists priority over pedestrians on shared routes and over motorised traffic on roads. In a large city this could be done with vastly bigger, 15-20 metre, ASL zones at busy junctions.

posted by Initialised [105 posts]
20th June 2014 - 16:56

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Initialised wrote:
...and granting cyclists priority over pedestrians on shared routes ...

Lol, you can grant all the priority you like, the bastards will still walk on the bike path even if it is exclusively for bikes with a footpath next to it.

Ring
Ring
Ring ring
Ring Ring

HHHHOOOOONNNNKKKK, Airzound for the win!!! Devil

posted by kie7077 [434 posts]
20th June 2014 - 17:40

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kie7077 wrote:

Highway code Rule 66 and 67.

Is there anything that says a pedestrian can not cross a road? No? Then de facto they have right of way.

IIRC, there is no 'right of way' in the HC - it's priority, which is a different thing. Much as people confuse 'must' and 'should' in the HC.

66/67 not withstanding,

http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/highway-code-rules-103-158
"The rules in The Highway Code do not give you the right of way in any circumstance, but they do advise you when you should give way to others."

Which is why there is specific priority assigned to pedestrians when they're already crossing a side road (lost on some drivers *rolleyes*), which doesn't apply otherwise - ie those on the carriageway they're crossing have priority - ie you can't jump out into the traffic (other than on a pedestrian crossing) and expect someone to instantly stop.
There's a similar case with vehicles pulling out into traffic from a side road and expecting traffic to stop for them - if there's a collision they *will* be deemed at fault because they don't have priority.

posted by JonD [177 posts]
21st June 2014 - 11:30

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