Bristol cyclist warned by police after hitting child on pavement, but girl's mother not satisfied

Five year old needed five sitches after collision with pavement cyclist

by Simon_MacMichael   November 4, 2010  

Avon and Somerset Constabulary badge.gif

 A Bristol cyclist has been warned by police not to cycle on the pavement after he accidentally struck a four-year-old girl, but the child’s mother has expressed her dismay that no further action will be taken against the bike rider.

Olivia Churchill needed five stitches in her forehead after the accident, which took place on 28 September at around 3.30pm as she walked home from Barrs Court School with her sister Hollie and mother Natalie.

According to the Bristol Evening Post, the trio were just yards from their home in Frampton Court when a cyclist emerged from the cul-de-sac. "He came round the corner at a ridiculous speed," said Ms Churchill, who is aged 30.

"It knocked Olivia 5ft and I've never seen blood like it. Olivia was petrified and she's not been the same since. The scar will fade, but it's the fact she's going to have it for the rest of her life.

"At the time the cyclist was saying 'sorry, it was an accident', but he's not come round to apologise since," she added.

Police officers subsequently took a statement from Ms Churchill and also spoke to the cyclist involved.

The family has now received a letter from Avon and Somerset Police's Collision Support Unit that says: "I write to advise you that the police have decided to take no further action against the party involved. The decision was taken after careful consideration of all of the circumstances and evidence.

"However, it will be reconsidered if any further significant evidence is brought to our attention," the letter adds.

According to The Highway Act 1835, it is an offence to cycle on the pavement, which can now be punished with a £30 fine, while the Road Traffic Act 1991 says that it is an offence to ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner.

The Evening Post said that when one of its reporters visited the home of the cyclist yesterday, his mother said that he did not want to make any comment about the incident, adding that it has left him upset and describing it as a “"complete accident."

She added that police had issued her son, who is aged in his 20s, with a warning about cycling on the pavement, but that admonishment has failed to appease Ms Churchill.

"At the time, there were skid marks on the pavement,” she claimed. “The police have the name and address of the cyclist, we showed them where it happened, I don't understand what more evidence they need.

"In the city centre there are loads of signs saying don't ride on the pavements or you'll be fined, yet out here it's not being policed," she concluded.

18 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Agree with the mother.

Idiot should have the maximum fine thrown at him possible.

Also how he hasn't apologised is beyond me.

posted by gazzaputt [196 posts]
4th November 2010 - 10:59

1 Like

+1 ... what a complete little sh1te .... wonder how he'd
feel if it was his child he'd just knocked down ... grrr
the police would be talking to me about a slightly more
serious crime had the toe rag knocked down my girl or
disabled wife that would have been walking with her ....

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [926 posts]
4th November 2010 - 11:20


I know that cycling on the footway is illegal but we all do it from time to time. Particularly where roads join in a car friendly way that is insanity for a cyclist, ie a big traffic light controlled junction...or where a cycle path on the pavement disappears

But in these circumstances the correct behaviour is to go no faster than a pedestrian. Then any impact will be mitigated and collisions are easier to avoid

If I have a section of footway I have to go on for an extended distance I get off and push. I know it's a PitA for a usually empty bit of pavement but I don't see why I should ignore perfectly sensible rules just to save 30 seconds of journey time. I leave that sort of crap to car drivers

vorsprung's picture

posted by vorsprung [298 posts]
4th November 2010 - 12:35


Agree with all above, there should be retribution but the comments on the thisisbristol site are just scary, typical mail reading hysteria.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
4th November 2010 - 12:59


Thats the standard 'more hassle than its worth' letter from the police, i got one when a car completely failed to look when joining a roundabout at speed, leaving me on the pavement. Infact, unless someone is seriously injured (ie. hospital stay/death) then thats all you ever get from the police.

The cyclist did wrong, but then so does every car driver in any addicent, but rarely are they punished.

Punishment should fit the crime, not the outcome of the crime, which in this case is cycling on the path at a dangerous speed. Not sure what that should be but a telling off is maybe a little lenient.

STATO's picture

posted by STATO [468 posts]
4th November 2010 - 13:21


Maybe it is pragmatic to sometimes cycle on some pavements, however you know you are in the wrong so should take even *more* caution to avoid an accident.

Having said that I would rather be hit by boyracer-on-a-bike than boyracer-in-a-car Sad

posted by zoxed [63 posts]
4th November 2010 - 13:35


We all have to hop pavements at times. However, appropriate speed is crucial. This guy clearly wasn't going at an appropriate speed and this sort of incident just adds fuel to the fire for cyclist hating Daily Mail readers. Stronger measures should've been taken by the cops.


posted by OldRidgeback [2586 posts]
4th November 2010 - 14:31


An HGV driver in Sheen (SW London) ran down an 85 year-old woman and then drove off, a couple of days ago. Police arrested someone later, and he's now on police bail. The woman has since died.

Surely that matches completely with the apparent police attitude to this? Bleeding all over the pavement? Never mind, it'll fix!

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
4th November 2010 - 14:42


The idiot should have been given a fine.
I hate the amount of abuse I cop on my bike because of morons like him.

But had the little girl been hit by a car driving illegally, it would probably resulted in a similar amount of inaction from the police (and less chance of being reported in the paper).

posted by thereverent [357 posts]
4th November 2010 - 14:47


at least you got a letter!!! the incidents i've reported to the police have resulted in nothing and on one occasion the response was 'what do you want us to do about it?' !!!

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1187 posts]
4th November 2010 - 15:06

1 Like

There are hundreds of ways we would prefer the police to be opperating. Sadly the synic in me suggests the cuts are not going to refocus the police (as they should) but serve as even more excuses as to why they cant actually enforce the law of the land.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
4th November 2010 - 15:09


Agree with the mother, more should have been done. A child has been injured by a 'cyclist' acting recklessly and showing no regard for others. Maybe its as well he wasn't on the road as he would have most likely become one of those statistics that the Mail loves for proving cycling is a dangerous activity on the roads!!

Meanwhile in Cambridge we had cyclists being fined for cycling up a one way street and in Oxford for not having lights in my eyes lesser offences! tyhe whole thing is an a**e

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1187 posts]
4th November 2010 - 15:15


She needed stitches??? My God, how can he not apologise?????? What a bastard!!!!

That girl is going to grow up hating cylists!

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
4th November 2010 - 15:56


Sounds like the kind of thing strict liability would have easily dealt with: as the cyclist, it's his responsibility to be in control of his bike, especially around children ...

timlennon's picture

posted by timlennon [229 posts]
4th November 2010 - 16:48


The idiot shouldn't have been riding on the pavement in the first place. Gives us a bad name.

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
4th November 2010 - 19:09


Its wrong the person on the bike received nothing more than warning but giff77 highlights two examples where individuals were fined for breaking the law. If they had caused a collision or knocked a pedestrian over further down the because the authorities had done nothing you would all be on the 'Police do nothin as usual' band wagon. You can't have your cake and eat people. If the person on bike had just ridden on the pavement you would have expected some discretion, so if you ride on the pavement don't moan if you get fined. There is lack of consistency, the law is an ass and it comes down to opinions. What one person deems appropriate another person doesn't.

posted by IPFreely [32 posts]
5th November 2010 - 18:24


@ IPFreely if you haven't already have a wee look at the thisisbristol site It will give a bit more insight on the incident. Ignore the thread - its not worth reading!! I would hope that if an incident happened further down the road as you mentioned that the police would throw the book at that cylist!! It really winds me up when I see unlit, 'invisable' bike riders (theyare NOT cyclists!) careering along pavements with no concern for pedestrians and tarring cyclists with the same brush! meanwhile I keep to the roads, stay visible and have to deal with apathetic police officers who will not move vehicles parked in cycle lanes or follow through reports of dangerous driving with 'we can't do anything about this' Yet they are quite prepared to slap afine on me if I have broken any aspect of Highways Act!! (And yes I will hold up my hands IF I have broken the law and pay my fine!!)

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1187 posts]
5th November 2010 - 19:49


I pulled an old lady out of the way of a crazy adult cyclist bombing along the pavement - no consideration!

Accidents do happen and don't say none of you above have not made a mistake.

I think the mother should claim compensation for the childs injury - to pay for any plastic surgery needed for the scar at least and mental brain injury -hopefully she is fine.

It would wake cyclists to get 3rd party cover min and also to cycle safely in pedestrian areas.

(Ride on the road myself and consider others but I've still been knocked off by cars or pedestrians)

3rd party insurance - CTC -its worth it and stop cycling on the pavement.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [380 posts]
9th November 2010 - 16:05