A teenage cyclist in Manchester has been fined for dangerous cycling following the death of a pensioner who had been a passenger on a bus that he caused to brake hard through his cycling. Louie Palmer, aged 79, broke her neck after the bus driver was forced to execute an emergency stop.
Salford Youth Court was told that the brakes on the bicycle belonging to 17-year-old Wesley Grech, who had ridden into the road at a pedestrian crossing set to red, were in poor condition, according to the Manchester Evening News.
Mrs Palmer, who had been traveling to an exercise class, died later in hospital despite attempts by medical students on the bus to save her life. A second passenger on the bus, which had been traveling at 25mph, broke her arm.
Julie Skinner, acting for the prosecution, told the court that Grech had been crossing the road to go to a cash machine and rode away following the accident, and was later tracked down by police after they released CCTV images.
Grech, who was reported to be “devastated” by the incident, admitted the charge dangerous cycling on Tuesday. His mother, present as his guardian, was told to pay a £250 fine plus £150 costs.
Judge Jonathan Feinstein told Grech that based on the evidence, dangerous cycling represented ‘the correct charge’ to be laid against him, adding: “From first to last you have held your head low, thoroughly ashamed and completely wrecked by what has happened in this sad and tragic case. I’m sure you also feel for the deceased’s family.
“Even an incident like this, which happened in a split second, has had consequences so profound and deep, it is impossible to calculate,” he added.
Mrs Palmer’s family told the Manchester Evening News: “We are pleased that Mr Grech has chosen to plead guilty and that we can now bring some closure to this tragic event.”
Under the Road Traffic Act 1991, a cyclist is regarded as riding dangerously if “the way he rides falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist” and “it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.”
The Act adds that “‘dangerous’ refers to danger either of injury to any person or of serious damage to property,” and that “in determining… what would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.”
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.