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Teenager fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation to victim

A youth court in Mold, Flintshire, North Wales has fined a 15-year-old male cyclist £100 for dangerous cycling and ordered him to pay £200 compensation to a 56-year-old woman who was left unconscious after he crashed into her while riding a BMX bike which had no brakes.

The incident happened in July near Carewys this year when the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, rounded a bend as he descended on a bridle path.

As he did so, he rode into a group of seven walkers including Michelle Dowsett from Liverpool, who has a holiday caravan in the area, reports BBC News.

While her companions managed to get out of the cyclists’ path, she was catapulted into the air and landed on her face, the impact knocking her unconscious.

Mrs Dowsett spent four days in hospital at Bodelwyddan after suffering facial cuts as well as an injured thumb and abdomen in the incident. Prosecutor Alun Humphreys told the court that she had experienced flashbacks and headaches for several weeks afterwards.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, the cyclist tried to pick up his bike and make off, but was prevented from doing so, with defence counsel Dafydd Roberts saying in mitigation that he had been in tears at the scene and had apologised and shown remorse for his actions.

The court heard that the teenager had admitted that he had previously been warned by police about the potential dangers of riding his bike due to the absence of brakes, and that his mother had subsequently confiscated it from him.

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, a person is deemed to “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.”

According to the Pedal Cycle Construction and Use Regulations 1983, bicycles used on the public highway are required to equipped with two brakes, one front and one rear, with the rear wheel counting as a brake in the case of a fixed wheel bike, although it still needs to be fitted with a front brake to be legal.
 

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.

13 comments

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Kim [239 posts] 4 years ago
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Quite right too! Irresponsible behaviour should be discouraged.

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Paul M [361 posts] 4 years ago
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Not that I condone the youth's behaviour, but I question whether he has actually committed any offence, and I question the relevance of the two statutes you refer to.

The RTA states that "A person who rides a cycle on a road dangerously is guilty of an offence".

Note the word, "road". The word is not very helpfully defined in the interpretation sections of the act but you can get its meaning from the provisions for "use of motor vehicles away from roads" (sections 33&34) which refer to use of footpaths and bridleways.

Wasn't this incident on a bridleway, according to your report?

The construction & use regs also relate to standards for use on roads indeed they are more specific, and relate to use on a public highway. To get a successful conviction, the prosector woudl have to show that this bike was actually used for road use.

A bridle path is not a highway, public or private.

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STATO [514 posts] 4 years ago
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This should be a lesson to everyone, ride within your limits, be they tyres, brakes, or in this case Vision! If you can't see round a corner should you really be flying round it?
(this applies to cars too! Not that they realise it does)

Let's face it, kids BMX brakes are crap and slick tyres are rubbish on bridle ways so I doubt having working brakes would have prevented him ploughing into the walkers.
You could also argue that the walkers shouldn't be taking up the whole of a shared use path when approaching a blind bend, as other users may appear around it without warning, but I don't think that would neccisarilly have prevented the incident as we arn't required to stick to the left on bridle way :0)

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Simon_MacMichael [2467 posts] 4 years ago
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Paul M wrote:

A bridle path is not a highway, public or private.

Legally, a public bridleway is a "road."

The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 defines "road" as "... any length of highway or of any other road to which the public has access...".

There's no specific definition of "highway" but under common law it is deemed to include footpaths over which there is a public right of passage on foot.

A public bridleway is therefore a highway and, by extension, a road.

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mr-andrew [300 posts] 4 years ago
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Recently noticed loads of kids riding their BMX's brakeless - running their foot acroos the back tyre to stop. Definitely one of the odder fashions to have cropped up. One of the BMX forums has this gem though:

"screw brakes all they do is slow u down if u need to stop bad enough just use ur feet or wutever large abject happens to be front of u at the time lol"

Sadly one of the more literate comments on there...

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step-hent [723 posts] 4 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Legally, a public bridleway is a "road."

The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 defines "road" as "... any length of highway or of any other road to which the public has access...".

There's no specific definition of "highway" but under common law it is deemed to include footpaths over which there is a public right of passage on foot.

Makes a lot of sense - if the public has access, you should expect to come accross other people, and therefore to abide by the usual safety rules which are generally designed to ensure public safety.

If he genuinely was in tears and was remorseful, then maybe he'll have learned his lesson. Shame that he couldn't have listened before he hurt someone though...

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timlennon [210 posts] 4 years ago
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The cyclist is an idiot, frankly.

We all see more of them every day. Which, in a way, is a good thing, since one can infer that idiots are a fairly stable percentage of the biking population, and therefore if we see more idiots, there are more people cycling overall.

That's my version of a positive spin, anyway!

(For more negativity, I've taken up occasional blogging, instead: http://peoplesfrontofrichmond.wordpress.com/)

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localsurfer [202 posts] 4 years ago
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mr-andrew wrote:

Recently noticed loads of kids riding their BMX's brakeless - running their foot acroos the back tyre to stop. Definitely one of the odder fashions to have cropped up. One of the BMX forums has this gem though:

Nothing new - me and mates used to do that back in the 80's.

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OldRidgeback [2662 posts] 4 years ago
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I ride a BMX and the brakes are not crap STATO - the one on my GT works pretty well. The sidepulls on my old Mongoose were hopeless but I've fitted a proper v-brake on the GT. Anyone racing a BMX has to have a brake as it's in the rules. But a lot of people do ride skatepark BMXs without brakes, another stupid fashion just like the people who have fixies with no brakes. This lad has learned a lesson, unfortunately the woman suffered an injury in the process. Setting up a brake properly so it doesn't drag and slow you down might be beyond the skills of some of the skatepark bashers I've seen over the years - one kid used a brick and a bit of old wood as a drift to batter in a new headstock bearing at the skatepark once.

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Coleman [335 posts] 4 years ago
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Stupid boy.

Unfortunately this will indicate to Daily Mail readers that all cyclists are evil, steal from charity tins and blow raspberries at war heroes. Or sumfink.

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Recumbenteer [168 posts] 4 years ago
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I often see idiots with brakes that cannot work. Initially, I thought it was the result of DIY repairs, but it's a really stupid fashion.

The boy's an idiot.

As for the bridleway, it's open to the Public and that's it. IIRC, if one were driving a 4x4 on it without a valid car-tax disk, licence, MoT and insurance you could be done for all those as well, plus the offence of driving on a bridleway.

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fatbeggaronabike [839 posts] 4 years ago
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In the article it states that the lad was crying and trying to get away. I for one would probably be trying to do the same if I was surrounded by a group of scousers!

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The _Kaner [944 posts] 4 years ago
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FATBEGGARONABIKE wrote:

In the article it states that the lad was crying and trying to get away. I for one would probably be trying to do the same if I was surrounded by a group of scousers!

arrr ayy Calm Down, Calm Down!