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Benjamin Pedley's family calls for change to law to make pedestrians responsible for their actions...

The family of a Reading cyclist who died after a pedestrian stepped out into the road in front of him, causing a crash, were told he may have faced prosecution had he survived, it has emerged.

Benjamin Pedley, aged 26, died from head injuries sustained following the collision in Earley, near Reading, with Nathan Kellsell in March this year. At an inquest earlier this month, witnesses described how the pedestrian had walked into the road without seeing him.

> Berkshire cyclist died after pedestrian stepped out in front of him, finds inquest

Mr Kellsell was also injured and has no memory of the incident, and Mr Pedley’s brother William has told Get Reading that police informed him that had the rider survived, he could have been prosecuted.

However, he and his family believe that pedestrians who step into the road causing a cyclist to crash should be held to account for their actions.

"It is an incredibly sad but avoidable death,” he said. "But I spoke to police officers who said if Ben had survived and was healthy there would be a chance that he would be prosecuted as a road user.

"And yet there is no comeuppance for a pedestrian,” he continued. "At the moment there is no law to say that if you step out into a road you are responsible for your actions.

"Potentially one could step out in front of somebody you have a vendetta against and nothing would happen about it.

"Surely the law needs to be changed so that when you step into a road, you are responsible for your actions," he added.

The news comes in a week that London cyclist Charlie Alliston was sentenced to 18 months’ detention in a young offender institution in connection with the death of pedestrian Kim Briggs.

Last month, an Old Bailey jury cleared Alliston of manslaughter but convicted him of causing bodily harm by furious and wanton driving under the Offences Against The Person Act 1

Mrs Briggs had started to cross London’s Old Street as Alliston approached, with much of the prosecution’s case resting on the fact that his fixed wheel bike had no front brake, meaning it was not legal for use on the road.

That case, and the media furore surrounding it, prompted the government to announce last night an urgent review of the law regarding cyclists, including whether offences of causing death by dangerous or careless cycling should be introduced.

> Government announces cycle safety review in wake of Alliston case

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.

88 comments

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hawkinspeter [1131 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

I don't see much need for changing the law. How often do pedestrians think "I really want to spoil that persons day by stepping in front of them"? Never mind that the pedestrian is just as likely to get hurt as the cyclist/road user.

Surely assault laws could cover any instances of stupid malicious pedestrians.

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tugglesthegreat [53 posts] 2 months ago
17 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

How often do pedestrians think "I really want to spoil that persons day by stepping in front of them"?

Probably not often or at all but they do step out in front of you whether on their phones or not.  They step out on to the road in front of a cyclist where they wouldn't do the same infront of a larger vehicle.   How often, I see it almost every time I go commuting.

 

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burtthebike [1219 posts] 2 months ago
11 likes

I'm  sure the government's much delayed look at the road laws and punishments will be looking at this, not just making a new law for causing death by dangerous cycling.

Of course it will.  Almost certainly.  Well, possibly.  OK, it'll mention it once then go back to hassling cyclists.

After all, if such a law existed Charlie Alliston probably wouldn't have been prosecuted and found guilty.  Pedestrians should have just as much legal responsibility for collisions, and they certainly aren't always the innocent party, and I've got the bruises to prove it: three sets of bruises to be precise.

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kitsunegari [327 posts] 2 months ago
14 likes

The Police at their sensitive best.

Seriously, when did this institution become so bad at its core responsibility?

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Posh74 [22 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Charge pedestrians with 'walking without due care and attention' maybe..... Or have people forgotten the Green Cross Code?!? If the police did say they'd have probably prosecuted the cyclist had he survived surely that works both ways. What if the pedestrian had stepped out in front of a vehicle without looking and died, would the driver of said vehicle be prosecuted??

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jigr69 [15 posts] 2 months ago
25 likes

So a pedestrain walks out into the road without looking, collides with a cyclist and as a result, dies. The cyclist is then prosecuted and sent down for 18 months.

So a pedestrian walks out into the road without looking, collides with a cyclist and as a result, the cyclists dies. No further action taken.

Is it just me, or is this inequality within this?

Another cyclist was killed after a collision with a pedestrian, again walking into the road without looking, a couple of weeks ago, posted in another one of my posts, but nothing is done about it. 

Are cyclists seen as cannon fodder on the roads? Can be killed be pedestrians, without pedestrians facing any consequences and can be killed by drivers, without drivers facing any consequences.

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Christopher TR1 [154 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

Hell yes, pedestrians need to be responsible for their actions. The fuckwit who steps out in front of me while looking at their smart-phone is as much as a fuckwit as the Audi driving fuckwit who pulls out in front of me. 

So you mean to tell me that Charlie Alliston would have been in the shit anyway, even if he had had a functioning front brake? Wasn't Mrs Briggs distracted by her phone at the time?

Is it not blindingly obvious that you should not step out in front of traffic? And isn't learning to cross the road safely one of the 1st things we learn as children?

In the case described by the article, Mr Kellsell directly caused the death of the cyclist and should be made responsible for his actions. This is obvious, and if the law doesn't agree then the law needs chinging! We're not talking about a parking ticket ffs, somebody died!

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LastBoyScout [332 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Not so much just the odd pedestrian, either - I've had whole families step into the road in front of me.

- dead straight road with good visibility, 40mph speed limit, no other vehicles around. Extended family on left pavement, some of whom crossed ahead of me - they had plenty of time to get across the road before I got there, so so far, so good.

Remaining family, including woman with small child in pushchair, wait at side of the road, looking at me, so I know they've seen me. By then, I'd moved out towards the centre of the road and it was just as well I had, as woman with pushchair waits until last possible second before pushing pushchair out into the road! Got past ok, but what sort of moron pushes a pushchair in the path of a road user?

- Another occasion, approaching a mini roundabout. Again, straight road, good visibility, no other vehicles around. Mother with 3 kids waiting on pedestrian island on the right of my lane just before the roundabout suddenly decides to walk off island practically on top of me. She was very apologetic, but what the hell was she thinking at the time?

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Critchio [239 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

The pedestrian should be prosecuted for something. Manslaughter, causing danger to other road users, there must be something?

Whilst pedestrians are the most vulnerable of road users and attract a higher duty of care from other road users, an adult person of sound mind should not be unaccountable for their actions.

In these circumstances the pedestrian stepping out caused a person on a bicycle, riding presumably lawfully and properly on the road, to lose his life.

Yet the Police in their wisdom decide to tell the grieving family their lost one could have been prosecuted had he survived?

Assholes.

I would heartily suggest a private prosecution.

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billymansell [29 posts] 2 months ago
11 likes

I was nearly taken out by two squirrels the other day who stepped out into the road.

Where do I go for judicial retribution against this wildlife menace? They just wander around the countryside treating it as if it's their home.

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kil0ran [597 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Wondering if there are any driver KSIs attributed to pedestrians (swerve, hit tree, etc). I would imagine there are some.

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brooksby [2703 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Between this story and the response to the Alliston/Briggs story, I'm really beginning to worry that something wicked this way comes...

I'll get my (tinfoil) hat...

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theloststarfighter [57 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

To get a wider perspective, does anyone know how the law in more cycling enlightened countries handle this?

Questions of road use, right of way, due care and attention and general responsibility supported by law.

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DrG82 [201 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Critchio wrote:

The pedestrian should be prosecuted for something. Manslaughter, causing danger to other road users, there must be something?

Whilst pedestrians are the most vulnerable of road users and attract a higher duty of care from other road users, an adult person of sound mind should not be unaccountable for their actions.

Are pedestrians any more vulnerable than cyclists? I'd say cyclists are the most vulnerable road users, we haven't got pavement to walk on and are expected to mix it up with the lorries, and in a crash between pedestrians and cyclists the cyclists comes off as badly if not worse in most cases I've seen. Perhaps we should introduce laws against jaywalking? That way if a pedestrian steps out in front of a cyclists then there's clarity.

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schneil [7 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

In 2003 a pedestrian ran into my lane whilst I was driving.

She was running across the road.  She hadn't seen me as she was looking behind her.

Despite approaching a red traffic light and only doing 10-15mph and swerving away from her,I couldn't stop in time.  She ran straight into the passenger side wing, fell across the bonnet, and smashed her head on the windscreen, then rolled down the side of the car.  She suffered a fractured skull and had no memory of anything up until 3 weeks before the collision.  The car required a new wing, wing mirror and windsceen.

The police investigated the collision and decided that  had no case to answer.  The pedestrian never pursued  an insurance claim against me.

So no you are not automatically prosecuted for hitting a pedestrian.

 

 

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ConcordeCX [508 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
kil0ran wrote:

Wondering if there are any driver KSIs attributed to pedestrians (swerve, hit tree, etc). I would imagine there are some.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32622465

 

 

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ChrisB200SX [565 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Critchio wrote:

The pedestrian should be prosecuted for something. Manslaughter, causing danger to other road users, there must be something? Whilst pedestrians are the most vulnerable of road users and attract a higher duty of care from other road users, an adult person of sound mind should not be unaccountable for their actions. In these circumstances the pedestrian stepping out caused a person on a bicycle, riding presumably lawfully and properly on the road, to lose his life. Yet the Police in their wisdom decide to tell the grieving family their lost one could have been prosecuted had he survived? Assholes. I would heartily suggest a private prosecution.

I'd back a private prosecution in this case, another cyclist's life needlessly lost due to non-cyclists using the road without due care and attention.
CDF maybe, is there a Just Giving page or something?

I would write to the local MP (John Redwood), but he's a selfish Toad Working At Toadhall who isn't interested unless it affects him. (He voted to leave the EU despite the vast majority of his consituency voting against leaving the EU in the referendum, and he told us so beforehand becuase that's what he wanted to do).

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hawkinspeter [1131 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
Christopher TR1 wrote:

Wasn't Mrs Briggs distracted by her phone at the time?

I believe the defense tried to push that, but it was withdrawn, so there can't be any evidence that she was using her phone. I think she was just generally distracted.

I'm not convinced that extra legislation would make much difference and we certainly don't have the numbers of police to be able to enforce it.

I must say that I am often shocked by the incredibly poor situational awareness that most people seem to display.

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KINGHORN [24 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
billymansell wrote:

I was nearly taken out by two squirrels the other day who stepped out into the road.

Where do I go for judicial retribution against this wildlife menace? They just wander around the countryside treating it as if it's their home.

 

little bastards keep running through my wheels, will get one one day!

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Yorkshire wallet [1573 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

We are now prosecuted (in theory) for using a phone whilst driving but yet are able to wander around head down, phone out, in zombie mode, with no comeback when it causes an accident.

There needs to be a sea-change that as a pedestrian you don't have blanket immunity for all responsibility because 'pedestrians have right of way'. If you step out in front a lorry that swerves and then causes another accident and 10 people die then you need to be punished rather than just 'oh well'.

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Milkfloat [54 posts] 2 months ago
10 likes
karlssberg wrote:

I've been in a number of collisions with pedestrians (and have also been guilty of being an ignorant pedestrian that wasn't looking where I was going, but not with any serious consequences).  Personally I think cyclists are the ones that need extra (legal) protection as they are more likely to be knocked flying into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle or something equally unpleasant.

Below are some of my collisions with pedestrians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4f32X3LtgY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dM6K8Ps4rs

 

 

Are you including these examples as how not to ride?

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srchar [706 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I don't see much need for changing the law. How often do pedestrians think "I really want to spoil that persons day by stepping in front of them"? Never mind that the pedestrian is just as likely to get hurt as the cyclist/road user.

Surely assault laws could cover any instances of stupid malicious pedestrians.

I think we'd all agree that negligence rather than malice is the issue with innattentive pedestrians. It's this negligence that should be prosecuted if it brings harm to someone else. Not malice.

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angriest [23 posts] 2 months ago
17 likes
Milkfloat wrote:
karlssberg wrote:

I've been in a number of collisions with pedestrians (and have also been guilty of being an ignorant pedestrian that wasn't looking where I was going, but not with any serious consequences).  Personally I think cyclists are the ones that need extra (legal) protection as they are more likely to be knocked flying into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle or something equally unpleasant.

Below are some of my collisions with pedestrians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4f32X3LtgY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dM6K8Ps4rs

 

 

Are you including these examples as how not to ride?

I just watched both those videos .  In the zebra crossing one,  you are 100% in the wrong.  You do not enter the zebra crossing until it's clear (precisely because of this eventuality).  Second video, you can see kids playing, you need to be aware.  Move out to take the centre of the road.

If you think these examples show that you are a good responsible rider, please reconsider.

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burtthebike [1219 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

We are now prosecuted (in theory) for using a phone whilst driving but yet are able to wander around head down, phone out, in zombie mode, with no comeback when it causes an accident.

Indeed, and the biggest problem now on shared use paths is pedestrians with head down looking at mobile phone, closely followed by the dog on a 5m lead.  Would you be charged with causing death by dangerous driving if you collided with a phone-walker?  Would a dog owner be charged with causing death by dangerous dog walking if a cyclist hit the lead, fell off and died?

Both probably about the same risk as a cyclist killing a pedestrian in a 14mph collision.

This review is going to be very interesting.

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zanf [966 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
KINGHORN wrote:
billymansell wrote:

I was nearly taken out by two squirrels the other day who stepped out into the road.

Where do I go for judicial retribution against this wildlife menace? They just wander around the countryside treating it as if it's their home.

little bastards keep running through my wheels, will get one one day!

If you're going to get between a squirrel and its crack, you're just asking for it!

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Bluebug [227 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes
angriest wrote:
Milkfloat wrote:
karlssberg wrote:

I've been in a number of collisions with pedestrians (and have also been guilty of being an ignorant pedestrian that wasn't looking where I was going, but not with any serious consequences).  Personally I think cyclists are the ones that need extra (legal) protection as they are more likely to be knocked flying into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle or something equally unpleasant.

Below are some of my collisions with pedestrians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4f32X3LtgY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dM6K8Ps4rs

 

 

Are you including these examples as how not to ride?

I just watched both those videos .  In the zebra crossing one,  you are 100% in the wrong.  You do not enter the zebra crossing until it's clear (precisely because of this eventuality).  Second video, you can see kids playing, you need to be aware.  Move out to take the centre of the road.

If you think these examples show that you are a good responsible rider, please reconsider.

I agree with you 100%.

General rule if you see children or animals especially dogs on leads you slow down as they are unpredicatable.

 

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3mkru73 [60 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes
angriest wrote:
Milkfloat wrote:
karlssberg wrote:

I've been in a number of collisions with pedestrians (and have also been guilty of being an ignorant pedestrian that wasn't looking where I was going, but not with any serious consequences).  Personally I think cyclists are the ones that need extra (legal) protection as they are more likely to be knocked flying into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle or something equally unpleasant.

Below are some of my collisions with pedestrians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4f32X3LtgY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dM6K8Ps4rs

 

 

Are you including these examples as how not to ride?

I just watched both those videos .  In the zebra crossing one,  you are 100% in the wrong.  You do not enter the zebra crossing until it's clear (precisely because of this eventuality).  Second video, you can see kids playing, you need to be aware.  Move out to take the centre of the road.

If you think these examples show that you are a good responsible rider, please reconsider.

Amen to that, I'd be ashamed to have these videos on my hard drive. 

 

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DaveE128 [955 posts] 2 months ago
10 likes
angriest wrote:
Milkfloat wrote:
karlssberg wrote:

I've been in a number of collisions with pedestrians (and have also been guilty of being an ignorant pedestrian that wasn't looking where I was going, but not with any serious consequences).  Personally I think cyclists are the ones that need extra (legal) protection as they are more likely to be knocked flying into the path of an oncoming motor vehicle or something equally unpleasant.

Below are some of my collisions with pedestrians:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4f32X3LtgY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dM6K8Ps4rs

 

 

Are you including these examples as how not to ride?

I just watched both those videos .  In the zebra crossing one,  you are 100% in the wrong.  You do not enter the zebra crossing until it's clear (precisely because of this eventuality).  Second video, you can see kids playing, you need to be aware.  Move out to take the centre of the road.

If you think these examples show that you are a good responsible rider, please reconsider.

This. I watched the videos and was baffled that you'd post this as evidence that cyclists need legal protection from pedestrians. If you run into a pedestrian on a zebra crossing, you're in the wrong. You ran the crossing after seeing someone step onto it, and undertaking a car that was blocking your view of people crossing the other way. Even if the pedestrian hadn't done something odd, you could easily have run over someone crossing from the right. In the second one, you had plenty of time to see the kids were running around in the road. You just assumed that they were not going to go round again despite seeing one go round towards the back of the car. An easy mistake to make if you're not paying close attention (I could easily have made the same error if distracted) but ultimately you had a good chance to avoid it. If the kid had appeared from no-where in the same gap, I'd have had a lot more sympathy for your situation, and this does happen. Another good reason for riding primary position past parked cars - gives you a slightly better chance to brake before hitting such kids, so the chances of serious injury to either of you are lower. You may avoid them altogether.

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Duncann [1158 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I don't see much need for changing the law. How often do pedestrians think "I really want to spoil that persons day by stepping in front of them"? Never mind that the pedestrian is just as likely to get hurt as the cyclist/road user.

Surely assault laws could cover any instances of stupid malicious pedestrians.

It's not just about malice though - the bigger issue is due care and attention. I'm not sure what criminal law would apply to pedestrians as they do to motorists and cyclists, although there might be the option of a civil case for compensation should a careless pedestrian cause injury or damage to another. Never heard of it happening though.

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hawkinspeter [1131 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes
Bluebug wrote:

General rule if you see children or animals especially dogs on leads you slow down as they are unpredicatable.

I don't think we're supposed to keep children on leads these days.

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