Pavement cyclist who injured child says road too dangerous to cycle on

Magistrates say putting own safety ahead of that of others is no excuse

by Simon_MacMichael   March 3, 2010  

Gavel

A Grimsby man who was fined £750 when the bike he was riding on the pavement struck a five-year-old child has claimed that he was forced to ride there because the adjacent road was too dangerous.

The Grimsby Telegraph says that the child who was struck has been left scarred despite reconstructive surgery following the collision, but added that the cyclist, 29-year-old David Cox, insisted that he was only cycling on the pavement because of the dangers presented by the road.

Mr Cox said: He said: "I have lived in the area all of my life and I know that the road is dangerous, so I always cycle on the path. A friend of mine was killed on the crossing on the road, so I don't want to ride on it."

However, presiding magistrate David Stenton said that was not an acceptable excuse, telling the cyclist, who was found guilty of cycling without consideration, and of assaulting the child: "By not cycling on the road you put your own safety ahead of others, and the consequences of this could have been much worse. People have been killed by cyclists in similar incidents."

While that final sentence may be true, official statistics reveal that more than 250 times more pedestrians have been killed in Britain over the past decade in collisions with motor vehicles compared to those involving cyclists.

Last year, Jim Fitzpatrick, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons that 29 pedestrians had been killed in Britain in accidents involving cyclists between 1998 and 2007, compared to 7,692 who were killed in collisions with motorised vehicles.

Nevertheless, the family of the child injured in Grimsby are calling for police to do more to enforce laws against people cycling on the pavement, and the Grimsby Telegraph is inviting readers’ views on the subject through the story’s comments thread.
 

23 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Those figures for pedestrians killed by cyclists are at least three times higher than I had heard before. I thought it averaged out at less than one per year.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 11:54

like this
Like (1)

"This is David Cox. He's a 29-year-old man who'd rather mow down children than grow a pair and ride on the road. HTFU David." Seriously though, 750 pounds fine for permanently injuring a child is a ludicrous sentence. This man should be doing jail time, as should anyone whose puts their convenience over other people's safety (to a substantially greater degree than all drivers do everyday.)

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 11:54

like this
Like (1)

It is not a ludicrous sentence when a driver can get a £500 fine and 6 month driving ban for killing a cyclist.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 12:04

like this
Like (2)

+1 for doing time .... if he'd done that to my daughters
though he wouldn't be "able" to do time !

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [662 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 12:07

like this
Like (1)

So it wouldn't matter so much if the victim was a 75 year old man?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 12:24

like this
Like (1)

I'd say that in any case like this whether it's a driver or cyclist it's easy to have a knee jerk reaction and call out the lynch mob (a bit like the Grimsby Telegraph) without knowing all the facts, and as none of us were in court we don't. If it had been say a teenage girl riding to school on the pavement "because the road was too dangerous" what would the reaction be then?

As to the ministers figures on pedestrians killed by cyclists - I've been looking at those stats every year for most of this decade and the've usually been somewhere between 2 and 0, 2007 was a bad year when there were 3 deaths in 2008 according to the DfT it was back down to 1.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/st...

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/ca...

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4130 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 12:40

like this
Like (1)

IF he felt he had to ride on the pavement because it was too dangerous (I invite him to travel my route every day - that IS dangerous) then he should have been riding at a reasonable speed - giving himself enough time to stop before even reaching the child.

Shame on him for not doing that.

Am sure the Daily Mail are going to have a field day with this story.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 13:12

like this
Like (1)

Shame on him if he could see the child, and a shame for the poor kid either way. But the I see nothing in the Grimsby Telegraph report that says he could or couldn't see ahead. The child could have stepped out from behind something, he still should have been going slower though.

hammergonewest's picture

posted by hammergonewest [105 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 13:25

like this
Like (1)

No - he shouldn't have been on the pavement.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 13:27

like this
Like (1)

cat1commuter wrote:
It is not a ludicrous sentence when a driver can get a £500 fine and 6 month driving ban for killing a cyclist.

It is. they're both ludicrous and one doesn't excuse the other.

I'm with handlebarcam: HTFU. i bet he's got friends who've died in car accidents too - i know i have. does he *drive* on the pavement?

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [301 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 13:41

like this
Like (1)

tony_farrelly wrote:
As to the ministers figures on pedestrians killed by cyclists - I've been looking at those stats every year for most of this decade and the've usually been somewhere between 2 and 0, 2007 was a bad year when there were 3 deaths in 2008 according to the DfT it was back down to 1.

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/st...

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesgbar/suppletablesfactsheets/pedestrian2008.pdf

So how come we now have 29 over 9 (or is it 10) years?

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1321 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 14:10

like this
Like (2)

Seriously though, 750 pounds fine for permanently injuring a child is a ludicrous sentence.

I agree - but it is a legal verdict so the guy has been judged guilty of the crime. Which means the kid's family will have a much easier time suing him for damages.

: P

posted by Pierre [79 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 14:20

like this
Like (1)

jobysp wrote:
No - he shouldn't have been on the pavement.

So in all cases, no matter or who a cyclist should be on the road?

I used to think pretty much along those lines, and I never ride on the pavement myself but lately I'm not so sure - I've seen young, new or inexperienced cyclists taking to section of pavement on busy roads and I can't blame them all these people are being encouraged to get on their bikes and get on the road, but in many cases the roads are frightening and properly dangerous places - chuck 'em out with the left turning HGVs and the boy racers then?

Blokey should have been riding slower and more carefully, he doesn't sound like he is a very good cyclist and we don't know the accident history of that road. Presumably although thoughtless he wasn't so thoughtless that he didn't stop so hardly an arch criminal then.

hammergonewest's picture

posted by hammergonewest [105 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 14:50

like this
Like (1)

tony_farrelly wrote:
without knowing all the facts, and as none of us were in court we don't.

We don't have to have been in court. He has been found guilty. Commenting on his sentence at this point is perfectly valid, as long as it doesn't include incitement to violence. The age is significant. As large man in my thirties, I have the maturity to be on the lookout for idiots, not to mention the weight and strength to make collisions with pavement cyclists (or skate boarders, or texters) more likely to hurt them than me. A five year old child - or a 75 year old man - doesn't have all these advantages. And nor should they have to. The pavement is meant to be a safe environment for all ages, not just to travel along but for play and recreation (so were the streets before the mass adoption of the car.) And our lack of knowledge of the environment in which this incident occurred is not relevant either. Even if this pavement was alongside a motorway, which it would have been illegal for him to cycle on, he had a third option: to push his bike.

tony_farrelly wrote:
If it had been say a teenage girl riding to school on the pavement "because the road was too dangerous" what would the reaction be then?

I started seeing parents literally screaming at their kids to get on the pavement whenever their tyres touched tarmac about 15 years ago. Nowadays, I have to put up with 20 year old asshats shouting at me to get off the road on a far more regular basis than ever before. Connection maybe?

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 16:07

like this
Like (1)

hammergonewest:
i see your point but we can't defend this guy - law broken, could have killed a child. Thankfully he didn't.

I used to take my daughter to nursery on the back of my bike and refused to use the roads - this lead to some adolescent cockhole screaming down my ear out of the blue and sent me and my daughter flying (she couldn't see I had my daughter on the back) so I had to stop taking my daughter to nursery that way.

I didn't cycle at speed as the pavement wasn't where I was supposed to be. When coming up to people I slowed down, gave enough room in case of emergency and we all got along swimmingly. Indeed, I still speak to a pedestrian every morning that I used to bump into this way.

I'm waiting with baited breath if this appears on the Mails website though Smile

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 17:17

like this
Like (1)

He was found guilty and a sentence which the magistrate thought proportionate to the offence was passed - the sentence was based on all the available facts, your point seems to be that because he was guilty he should go to jail end mine is that without all the facts how do you know? I'm not defending him btw - he was guilty and now he's got a record + the knowledge that he injured a child on his conscience.

It would be better if all our roads weren't ruled by the car and everyone could show some mutual respect, then maybe you wouldn't get shouted at by 20 year old asshats. And I agree the pavements should be a haven too, but in the absence of peace, love and understanding breaking out on the roads it's probably asking a lot of the parents of pavement cycling children that they shove their kids out on the road to dice it with the traffic ditto for older nervous newbie cyclists - they might argue that the pavement was a haven for them too I suppose.

Also, what about those places, like parts of Bath where the cycle lane is a painted line on the pavement?

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4130 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 17:29

like this
Like (1)

I admit to cycling on the pavement occasionally either because the road is too dangerous or simply, when commuting for examplem, it would mean sitting in a queue of cars for 15 minutes to cover a few hundred metres.

However when I am on the pavement I travel with much more caution and will either go back to the road or slow to a stop if there is a pedestrian around.

Without knowing the circumstances I wouldn't say that he should do time but as a general point anyone riding in a dangerous way deserves punishing. However I don't agree that simply cycling on the pavement is always in itself dangerous.

TheHatter's picture

posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 22:00

like this
Like (1)

He's been punished for riding irresponsibly. We don't know all the details and I bet most of the readers of the Grimsby Telegraph do either. When I've been out cycling with my kids, I've had people shouting at them because they're on the pavement, despite the fact that they're just seven and eight. A lot of pedestrians don't look where they're going. This child is just a child and should be safe on the pavement. But then rather more cars mow down pedestrians who are on the pavement every year, rather more than cyclists who hit pedestrians. And when a car hits a pedestrian, it's going to do more damage than a bicycle.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2107 posts]
3rd March 2010 - 22:31

like this
Like (1)

TheHatter wrote:
However I don't agree that simply cycling on the pavement is always in itself dangerous.

Hmm, well I think your approach to riding on the pavement- always adopting a walking pace or slower speed- is sensible.

But I have decided to not use the shared use cycle path that used to give me a traffic light free run up the busy town street on my commute.

It is safer dodging round the traffic than it is crossing numberous side roads with rights of way or avoiding slow inexperienced cyclists on the shared use cycle path.

When I get stuck behind traffic I figure it is safer to wait rather than trying to cut around on the pavement

As for the bloke that struck the five year old. If the road is unsafe then don't ride on it. No sympathy for him.

vorsprung's picture

posted by vorsprung [285 posts]
4th March 2010 - 11:27

like this
Like (1)

It's astonishing how much everyone is fundamentally agreed here. Basically, if you are on the pavement you ought to be riding sensibly and in such a way that you are not going to run into people. And if it is crowded - walk.

So why is it we always see _so_ many tossers doing otherwise? A bit like this numbnut who deserves everything that's coming to him, more or less.

Sounds like the cycling community is made up of as many different types as the driving community. The sooner we are all treated equally the better, which will probably only happen if all motorists and cyclists both drive and cycle, and possibly not even then.

londondailyphoto's picture

posted by londondailyphoto [73 posts]
4th March 2010 - 12:27

like this
Like (1)

Get 3rd party cover min by joining CTC?

If you're going to nip on the Kerb-walk or cycle ever so slowly or scooter' it.

Personally I'm avoiding pavements.

Zaskar's picture

posted by Zaskar [137 posts]
4th March 2010 - 23:57

like this
Like (1)

Its nice to see the well thought out erudite responses by many on the Grimsby Mail wesbite Thinking

Rode the E'Tape Caledonia - first sportiv ever and thoroughly enjoyed it

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
5th March 2010 - 16:36

like this
Like (1)

I think £200 wud b more appropriate considering how cheap ruinning sum1's life by car is. Perhaps kid was walking/running in a zigzag in disragard to his surrounding. Kids do that in the shopping mall and cinema as I've witness so perhaps there was no way for the cyclist to predict the wee kids movement.

Who knows, it's illegal to be on the pavement but statisticly it's logical to ride on the pavement with the death toll on the road. So I won't be that judgmental in lynching the guy that didn't ride away and took what he's due.

posted by Alankk [121 posts]
6th March 2010 - 1:35

like this
Like (1)