A week before speed reduction comes into force, second cyclist killed on Surrey road

Reduced limit comes too late to prevent another death in West Byfleet

by Simon_MacMichael   May 26, 2011  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight, www.flickr.com)

A cyclist has been killed on a section of road at West Byfleet in Surrey just a week after the speed limit there was due to be reduced following a similar fatality at the same location.

John Austin, aged 57, died in hospital after being involved in a collision with a vehicle on the A245 Parvis Road at 7.45pm on Sunday evening. Police have arrested two men, one aged 35, the other 20, on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and failing to stop after an accident, reports the BBC.

Last October, Joel Semmens was killed as he rode his bike on the same stretch of road just three days before his 18th birthday. While speeding was not considered an issue in that case, his death did result in Surrey County Council deciding to reduce the speed limit along the road where the fatal accident took place.

Last week, 31-year-old Hannah James of Putney, London, was sentenced to 100 hours unpaid work after being charged with failure to stop after an accident and driving a vehicle with an unsuitable tyre.

She also had ten points put on her licence and was fined £85 costs. During the trial, the court was told that neither speed not alcohol were factors in the accident, and that Ms James turned herself in after realising the extent of damage to her vehicle.

The court was also told that there was insufficient evidence to bring a charge of dangerous driving, reports the Get Bracknell website.

Local Liberal Democrat councillor Will Forster wrote on his blog: “the speed limit along Parvis Road should have been lowered sometime ago but as a result of budget cuts at Surrey County Council and then due to electrical problems altering the signs – the change will not come into force until 1st June – sadly way too late.”
 

24 user comments

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Not sure this will do any good people regularly go 40mph on the 30mph stretch between the B374 roundabout and the A318. The part between Byfleet and West Byfleet after the M25 bridge is straight and wide just the place to encourage drivers to speed. As I was cycling along the Byfleet to West Byfleet stretch the other day I was envying the guy pedalling on the pavement on the opposite side in the same direction as the traffic whizzed past me including lorries and buses.

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posted by yarrump [15 posts]
26th May 2011 - 14:50

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"... Ms James turned herself in after realising the extent of damage to her vehicle" Angry

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posted by djcritchley [146 posts]
26th May 2011 - 15:10

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totaly .....
f*@k the poor sod she hit and left.
Its all about the car.......... At Wits End

posted by gareth2510 [136 posts]
26th May 2011 - 15:44

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If you look up this road on google streetview you can see a car following behind a cyclist, with the driver attempting to simulatneously read a paper balanced over the steering wheel.

posted by ribena [135 posts]
26th May 2011 - 16:25

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Another horrid piece of news which i sadly now expect at least every few weeks on road.CC

1000 hours community service, 10 points and an £85 fine !? disgusting!! How do the judges, local government and the police sleep at night?

I would say that the powers in charge of allegedly protecting all road users are also keen to keep as many motorist on the road, thus generating more revenue, which is when all said and done the most important thing to these people.

'They have been released on bail until 22 July pending further inquiries'

Where they can drive around equally aggressive as i'm sure they did here, endangering other peoples lives presumably?

Stricter sentencing and heavier fines for people who are involved in incidents with cyclists. Why do we put up with this?

Only yesterday as i was riding through a small lane on the outskirts of a village, a 4 wheel vehicle approached me from the opposite direction at speed, i gesticulated with my flat hand to the ground as i do, pushing towards the floor, asking him to slow down. He ignored this gesture, only to slow down as he passed, looking at me as he stuck his two fingers up towards me
mouthing 'f*ck off'

In my experience on the road, this *is* the general reaction of motorists who are male, between the ages of 18 - 50, either drive 4 Wheel drive vehicles,
'hot hatches', are either in Vans, lorries, buses or trucks. Although very general, i'm sure there are drivers who fit this category who are not as ignorant. Most are completely unaware that cyclists are on 9lb - 30lb pieces of Aluminum/Steel that wouldn't fair very well if confronted with a 3000lb vehicle.

Fines need to reflect the crime, so by extending their driving bans, and in some cases banning from driving altogether with a zero tolerance for persistent offenders.

Why are drivers that have killed or seriously injured cyclists allowed to get in a vehicle less than 6 months later and thus are given carte blanche by UK law, to do the same thing again.

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
26th May 2011 - 17:04

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used to ride that way to work everyday. never had an issue with traffic.
did get knocked off my bike by an old fella at the roundabout coming down from weybridge station past brooklands, bike totalled, me bruised, old boy in state of shock. he pulled out into me, as i was coming round with traffic, so it's not as if i was hiding or sneaking round, i was in lane and had cars in front and behind me.

posted by hounslowrob [27 posts]
26th May 2011 - 21:05

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Ms James sentence beggars belief - she appears to have thought she would get away with killing someone but realised that the damage to her vehicle would mean she would probably be found out so (presumably advised to) she owned up to the Police.

I wonder what the latest pair will say about leaving the scene.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [481 posts]
26th May 2011 - 21:52

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Damn... this is pretty bad.

I get images of cyclists going on a strike at some point with all this BS.

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posted by koko56 [319 posts]
26th May 2011 - 23:11

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ribena wrote:
If you look up this road on google streetview you can see a car following behind a cyclist, with the driver attempting to simulatneously read a paper balanced over the steering wheel.

link? (streetview can provide a link to the exact spot you're looking at)

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
27th May 2011 - 8:23

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Leaving the scene is appalling, but sadly seems common. It sounds like that 31-yr old did think she'd get away with it or something, until she saw the front of her car.

Or she just didn't think at all, which is why we have this problem in the first place.

The only time I've been hit (relatively gentle rear ender), I had to wave and shout frantically ("Stop Stop Stop") at the driver, who had hit me with her front left side and was continuing around. It looked like she were going to drive off for a moment.

The difference in how the collision is experienced may have something to do with it. When your vehicle weighs over a ton and hits <100kg of bike and rider, especially a glancing blow, maybe it feels like a little tap and the driver just shrugs it off? (I've no idea, never driven a vehicle into a person in my life, don't intend to either).

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
27th May 2011 - 8:30

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posted by ribena [135 posts]
27th May 2011 - 9:13

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I note that in the Google streetview image, the reg palte of the car is visible. Hands up who wants to point this out to the cops?

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2172 posts]
27th May 2011 - 10:28

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ok, that is terrifying. thanks for the link. what do people think, would a police visit to the driver be enough?

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
27th May 2011 - 11:01

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PJ McNally wrote:
ok, that is terrifying. thanks for the link. what do people think, would a police visit to the driver be enough?

No, he's still drive like a tw@t, but i'm sure being doorstopped by the law and having absolutely no idea what they were talking about, until that is they provided evidence. He'd be ashamed at least, and surprised at their tenacity.

Maybe an email to the BBC link in the article would better highlight it, there is also a local gov link of which i have posted the ink.

There was an incident last night at our local TT meeting, driver speeding and nearly hit a cyclist unconnected to the event. What proceeded was just random. He essentially called 999 on himself, they turn up, gave him a stern talking to and he left. Some drivers are just psychopaths (in the true sense of the word) and they have absolute disconnection when it comes to these things.

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
27th May 2011 - 11:24

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I have sent the link to surrey police via their website.

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
27th May 2011 - 12:19

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I can't believe she can get away with "turning herself in because of the damage to her car!" I thought a hit and run was an offence? Coming over Vauhall bridge (London) and a car clipped a young lady riding her bike, and drove off. I caught up with him and blocked him in with my car so he couldn't go anywhere.

He was mid-50's and seemingly "respectable" ... when I asked "do you know you hit a cyclist back there?" he replied "yes, but she didn't fall off so what's the problem?"

My pointing out the bleeding obvious then caused this seemingly "respectable" 50-something to start telling me to "f*uck off, what's it got to do with you, mind your own business" etc.

What's the world coming to?? I'm becoming more afraid to ride my bike every day Sad

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posted by Mark Clarke [20 posts]
27th May 2011 - 18:33

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The frightening question is - why didn't the prosecution service charge her with 'causing death by careless driving'? Surely a dead body and mangled bike is enough evidence to suggest lack of care.
Maybe they thought a Surrey jury would not convict someone for only killing a cyclist, and she did give herself in after a day or so.
Why didn't the magistrate refer the case to crown court for a stiffer sentence, why didn't the prosecution insist on it?

posted by charlie_lcc [5 posts]
27th May 2011 - 20:25

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Isn't Parvis Road on the Olympic road race route? Good job they close the road for that.

posted by rickgregory [39 posts]
27th May 2011 - 22:04

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Leaving the scene of an accident HAS to be seen as a far more serious crime then the 'accident' itself.
Accidents need to stop being called that - they are generally not accidents, they are incidents with serious outcomes that are the result of pss poor driving standards and a lack of accountability.

Leaving the scene of an RTI should be considered a selfish act showing no compassion whatsoever and be answered with a driving ban, no questions, no argument in court.

Why are car users excused for almosty anything just like the plagues of drunks using up hospital resources and the damage smokers are able to do to themselves? It's all ok, cos the govt has a vested interest in it all.

posted by james-o [190 posts]
30th May 2011 - 11:24

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I just looked at that google street view link - it looks like an a4 piece of paper that may well be a note on directions. in the grand scheme of bad driving, it's hardly registering imo.

if it is, then are we asking to ban road maps, smoking while driving, eating while driving, car radios etc? they all produce the 'momentarly lapse of concentration' that is the defense lawyers little gem. It's not so much the action as the resulting effect on the driving and that is variable.

What is needed are higher consequences for RTIs and more accountability to produce better awareness and responsibility in the first place. A bit of general respect for other people in general would help in many cases.

the cycling silk's blogspot is a good read on this subject. you'll be waiting forever for people to change by their own nature, what's needed is pressure to overhaul the legal system that deals with RTIs of all types.

posted by james-o [190 posts]
30th May 2011 - 11:42

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james-o wrote:
I just looked at that google street view link - it looks like an a4 piece of paper that may well be a note on directions. in the grand scheme of bad driving, it's hardly registering imo.

Tip of the iceberg, would you not agree?

james-o wrote:
if it is, then are we asking to ban road maps, smoking while driving, eating while driving, car radios etc? they all produce the 'momentarly lapse of concentration'

Road maps whilst driving!? Yes, trying to read *anything* whilst driving is just ridiculous. It means that you are concentrating on the thing you are reading and not the road, otherwise you wouldn't need to be reading it, right!?. As far as smoking, eating and drinking and using the radio goes - These are things that 'have' caused serious incidents, as have falling asleep at the wheel. You shouldn't really be doing any of them quite frankly, but we all do. It isn't the basic 'act of' it's all the other things associated with the above, like scrabbling around the passenger seat looking for your lighter, or looking in a bag of food on the passenger seat, or getting a tape from the glove box.

These incidents become Police matters, and they just don't want the paperwork and thus advise that not pursuing is the best option. Once the driver has then 'got away' with it, after a few weeks it's a distant memory for the driver, he then slips back into his normal driving way. Agreed, bigger fines and consequences are needed for any RTI.

But to say that reading, whether it be an A4 piece of paper or a road map whilst driving is not worth registering, is frankly irresponsible.

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
30th May 2011 - 12:38

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It was only 100 hours community service. And she argued about that because she had holiday and work commitments that she felt were more important. She showed no remorse and that is because she feels she is the victim. She callously left a boy to die at the side of the road and cant be charged for anything other than failing to stop because that is the only evidence available. She did not come back of her own accord , she was brought back by a family friend who has more guts than she has to accept right from wrong. What she did was wrong. How can she pretend otherwise? I hope she has the guts to live with that.

posted by ByfleetMum [1 posts]
2nd June 2011 - 21:01

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There was a campagn some years ago to apply a presumtion of guilt on the driver of a notor vehicle in event of an "incident" with a non-motorised victim. I fought against this on the basis it would encourage idiots to jump lights, etc and that people should be judged on their own actions at the time. However, when people end up dead on the road and there are such derisoriy penalties I really do need to reconsider. The presumtion of guilt is already written into H&S law. Maybe it's about time that RTIs were treated in the same manner.

posted by Posh [46 posts]
4th June 2011 - 12:37

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A while back I sent the Google link to surrey police to see what they thought of it. I followed on a few emails as i hadn't had a reply suggesting that they weren't taking road safety seriously.

I received this reply a few days ago

Thank you for your email you sent to us on the 27th of May regarding the inconsiderate driver on the Parvis Road, Byfleet.

As you are aware this road is one of Woking’s main priorities. The Casualty reduction officer and the Road’s Policing Unit and I spend vigorous amounts of time on the road carrying out speed enforcement and road side education and the offenders are dealt with robustly.

But unfortunately on this occasion we are limited on how we can deal with this. For us to prosecute the driver for driving without due care and attention we would need to send out a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) within 14days of the offence. With the limited information given to us such we do not have a exact date or time of the offence we are unable to look into this any further.

I would once again like to thank you for the time you have taken to contact us.

Kind Regards,

Cervelo S1, Zipp 404, SRAM Rival/Force, Rotor crankset and Vittoria.

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posted by stuartpeck1 [98 posts]
8th July 2011 - 1:52

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