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Criticism comes as lorry driver pleads guilty to causing death of two men on Land's End-John O'Groats ride...

The wives of two cyclist killed while taking part in a charity ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats have said that road traffic laws in the UK are too “lenient” making it difficult or even impossible for the families of many victims of road traffic collisions to secure justice. The criticism came as a lorry driver pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death by dangerous driving in connection with the incident in July last year.

Andrew McMenigall, aged 47, and Toby Wallace, 36, were 40 miles into their 960-mile ride, aimed at raising money in memory of a work colleague who had died of cancer, when they were struck by a lorry driven by 32-year-old Robert Palmer near Newquay.

According to the Daily Mail, in a joint statement issued after Palmer had pleaded guilty the victims’ widows, Claire Wallace and Anne McMenigall, said: “There are no words to describe the devastation and loss that we, and both families, feel following the deaths of our husbands, they were exceptional and giant men in every sense of the word.

“It is a tragedy that so many other families are also mourning loved ones who have been killed on Britain’s roads, particularly when many of these deaths were completely avoidable.

“So many of these families do not ever see this charge brought against the person who has killed their husband, their child, their brother, their father.

“UK transport laws are lenient, charges are difficult and onerous to attain and less and less resource is being dedicated to road traffic collisions.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported us and been involved in getting us this far.

The statement concluded: “Toby and Andrew loved cycling, we believe that the rise in the popularity of the sport must be met by those with the responsibility to improve our transport infrastructure and improve education for drivers.”

Ex-army officer Mr McMenigall lived with his wife and daughter in Edinburgh, where he worked for Aberdeen Asset Management.

Mr Wallace, who was born in the UK and helped Cambridge win the Boat Race while studying there, worked for the same firm in the United States.

Their charity ride aimed to raise money for the Kirsten Scott Memorial Trust, set up in memory of a colleague who had died of cancer in 2011 at the age of 25, and for an Edinburgh-based charity, It’s Good 2 Give.

During yesterday’s hearing at Truro Crown Court, Palmer, from Bude, also entered a guilty plea to another count of dangerous driving relating to an incident near Okehampton in September last year.

He will be sentenced on 1 September.

National cyclists’ organisation CTC has published a series of reports under its Road Justice campaign that focus on the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of road traffic offences where the victim is a vulnerable road user.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

19 comments

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Peowpeowpeowlasers [380 posts] 2 years ago
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I would like to see permanent driving bans. If you abuse animals, you can be permanently banned from keeping them. If you abuse children, you can be permanently banned from being near them.

But if you cause someone's death while driving, even when your driving is far below the standards expected, you can be back on the road in months, or a year or two.

That needs to change. If a person has a track record of driving poorly and kills someone, they should be permanently banned from driving. Forever.

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dreamlx10 [157 posts] 2 years ago
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Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

If a person has a track record of driving poorly and kills someone, they should be permanently banned from driving. Forever.

And how is the motoring and fuel industry supposed to make their profits if we start taking drivers off the roads ? Cyclists don't buy cars and fuel, we don't count, end of story.

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Das [242 posts] 2 years ago
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I agree. Pleading guilty, or to be found guilty, on a charge of Death by Dangerous Driving(which lets face it is as close to a charge of Murder as you'll find) should carry a mandatory Life Time Driving ban.

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GrahamSt [167 posts] 2 years ago
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Please take 30 seconds to sign this:
http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/police-petition

And consider getting more involved here:
http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/get-involved

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Cyclist27 [13 posts] 2 years ago
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You only have to look at the websites of "driver groups", one of which bills itself as a "road safety group" to see shameless opposition to mandatory speed limits and camera enforcement. Add in their opposition to punishing the outcome of bad driving - they want only the nature of the bad driving to be punished. Regular talk of the police "persecuting" drivers - as if! We must counter these odious people and fight for justice for all road victims.

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Simmo72 [603 posts] 2 years ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

If a person has a track record of driving poorly and kills someone, they should be permanently banned from driving. Forever.

And how is the motoring and fuel industry supposed to make their profits if we start taking drivers off the roads ? Cyclists don't buy cars and fuel, we don't count, end of story.

WTF? We are talking about drivers that kill or maim people whilst driving dangerously. thats less than 0.0001% of the driving population. Cyclists pay income tax, income tax is used to maintain and build roads....are you really that blinkered or just trolling?

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willvousden [36 posts] 2 years ago
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Simmo72, I think you missed the satire in that comment.

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notfastenough [3684 posts] 2 years ago
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Simmo72 wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

If a person has a track record of driving poorly and kills someone, they should be permanently banned from driving. Forever.

And how is the motoring and fuel industry supposed to make their profits if we start taking drivers off the roads ? Cyclists don't buy cars and fuel, we don't count, end of story.

WTF? We are talking about drivers that kill or maim people whilst driving dangerously. thats less than 0.0001% of the driving population. Cyclists pay income tax, income tax is used to maintain and build roads....are you really that blinkered or just trolling?

That beeping you can hear is your sarcasm detector indicating that it's time for a service...

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levermonkey [664 posts] 2 years ago
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I think we need a "Tongue firmly in cheek" emoticon. But only because I'm feeling generous and prepared to give PPPLasers the benefit of the doubt.  4

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picko [69 posts] 2 years ago
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Killed 2 cyclists in July but despite being under charge for those offences, was still allowed to drive in September when he committed another act of dangerous driving, putting more lives at risk?! Surely in these cases the accused drive should be temporarily banned from driving until the case has been heard?
I understand that a person is innocent until proven guilty and personal liberty is important, but where allowing this would put a significant number of other people at increased risk, the safety of the majority has to come first.

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fatbeggaronabike [815 posts] 2 years ago
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I await the screams of anguish on the 1st when the driver is allowed to walk free with only a few points and a paltry fine.

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dreamlx10 [157 posts] 2 years ago
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Simmo72 wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

If a person has a track record of driving poorly and kills someone, they should be permanently banned from driving. Forever.

And how is the motoring and fuel industry supposed to make their profits if we start taking drivers off the roads ? Cyclists don't buy cars and fuel, we don't count, end of story.

WTF? We are talking about drivers that kill or maim people whilst driving dangerously. thats less than 0.0001% of the driving population. Cyclists pay income tax, income tax is used to maintain and build roads....are you really that blinkered or just trolling?

I was trying to make a point in an ironic way, maybe not too well, but a point nevertheless about how cyclists have no power or influence.

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IanW1968 [271 posts] 2 years ago
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They say you can't put a price on a life.

Well you obviously can- economic impact of properly enforcing, prosecuting and punishing traffic offences divided by however many people we are allowing to be killed .

Work that out, it's the price of your life.

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Housecathst [464 posts] 2 years ago
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I bet solicitors representing motorists being charged with causing death by dangerous driving are just telling everybody to pled guilty regardless of the circumstances as all they'll get in a year suspendend sentence.

You give a sob story about needing your driving licence to drive some relative to the doctors once in a blue moon and they judge hands you back your licence to go about your murderous driving ways.

Whatever the outcome I hope what goes round, comes round for this guy.

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banzicyclist2 [299 posts] 2 years ago
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I think it's past time the government stopped talking, commissioning yet another report, and actually did something.

Death by dangerous driving MUST mean a perminent driving ban! Also serious driving crime should mean a "long" driving ban followed by retaking the driving test to get your licence back.

A driving licence should be a priverledge and not a right.

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gazza_d [460 posts] 2 years ago
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We absolutely need to clamp down hard.

Any driver suspected of dangerous driving needs to be banned from driving asap until(if) and verdict and they are cleared.

The vehicle needs to be seized and impounded until after the trial (it may be but I doubt it). For a transport company that would mean loss of a vehicle, but if they are allowing their drivers to act like that then they are equally culpable.

Any incident where someone driving as their job is charged with dangerous driving, MUST also see the employer charged as well.

Then we may see "professional" drivers have to tighten up.

Too many have died and suffered. Enough is enough

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levermonkey [664 posts] 2 years ago
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The below linked article may highlight the problems and issues. I hope you don't mind Bez.

http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/the-problem-with-good-people/

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brooksby [1276 posts] 2 years ago
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banzicyclist2 wrote:

I think it's past time the government stopped talking, commissioning yet another report, and actually did something.

Death by dangerous driving MUST mean a perminent driving ban! Also serious driving crime should mean a "long" driving ban followed by retaking the driving test to get your licence back.

A driving licence should be a priverledge and not a right.

I completely agree with your sentiment, if not with your spelling  1

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brooksby [1276 posts] 2 years ago
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gazza_d wrote:

The vehicle needs to be seized and impounded until after the trial (it may be but I doubt it). For a transport company that would mean loss of a vehicle, but if they are allowing their drivers to act like that then they are equally culpable.

Any incident where someone driving as their job is charged with dangerous driving, MUST also see the employer charged as well.

Then we may see "professional" drivers have to tighten up.

I think that there actually is a charge of corporate manslaughter available, where a company is held responsible for the actions of its employees... Can someone confirm this?