Red light jumping cyclist convicted of careless cycling causing brain damage to pedestrian

Victim says he is only 40% of the man he used to be after red light jumper hit him

by Sarah Barth   July 5, 2012  

red traffic light.jpg

A cyclist has been convicted of running down and severely injuring a pedestrian after jumping a red light.

Andrej Schipka, whose trial we covered earlier this week, ran into Clive Hyer at around 26 mph at a junction in central London and sent him flying into the road.

Mr Hyer suffered brain damage and has been told he is unlikely to be able to fully resume his career in law.

City of London Magistrates’ Court was shown CCTV footage of the incident on July 5 last year, in which Schipka hit Mr Hyer in Holborn Viaduct. The crash resulted in Mr Hyer suffering a fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage.

In a witness impact statement he said that he was only 40 per cent of the person that he had been before the incident, The Times reported.

Mr Hyer said: “A statement of this kind can only scratch the surface of the problems and difficulties created by one cyclist’s carelessness and recklessness. There is barely a moment of any given day that does not result in my feeling the impact of the damage.”

Schipka was found guilty of careless cycling and was made to pay a fine of £850 plus £930 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Hyer's wife, Susan, told the paper after the conviction: “I want the whole world to know that cyclists have a duty of care to behave like human beings.

“It’s about time people stopped worrying about cyclists being killed by lorries if they do not conduct themselves in the right manner. He nearly killed my husband.”

Schipka, 44, has cycled in London for more than 10 years. He was on his way to work as an IT manager with Commerzbank at the time.

Witnesses said he shouted "Oi, move" when Mt Hyer stepped into the six-lane junction, which has no pedestrian lights.

German citizen Schipka said that he did not jump the red light, and disputed that he had not given due consideration to the pedestrians waiting to cross at the junction. Gaye Cheyne, chairwoman of the bench, said that as well as not showing care and consideration to the pedestrians waiting to cross, he had been riding at an 'unsafe speed'.

A number of mainstream media outlet featured the story, with commentators saying that cyclists should be licenced and tested to use the roads, much like car drivers.

Stephen Glover wrote in the Daily Mail that the case made his 'blood boil'.

He said: "The maximum penalty for careless cycling is a £1,000 fine. For dangerous cycling it is £2,500. By contrast, someone convicted of careless driving faces a maximum fine of £2,500 and possible disqualification, whereas a person found guilty of dangerous driving is automatically disqualified and can be sent to prison for up to two years.

"Causing death by dangerous driving can carry a long jail sentence."

He went on to say: "Rather as the internet can turn usually polite people into howling monsters, posting vile or threatening comments or blogs, so bicycles can have a similarly transformative effect on the mild-mannered and law-abiding. It’s bizarre.

"As most of us know, Lycra-clad young men and women on racing bikes tend to be the most prone to outbursts of aggression and to strings of expletives. Woe betide if you get in the way of one of these tartars after they have jumped a red light!"

But cyclists hit back in the comments below the article. One said: "When I was a British Cycling member we had something like £10 million liability insurance. It came free as part of the membership. I asked BC "why so cheap" and their reply was that the insurer looked at all the statistics and data and determined that there was an 'insignificant risk posed.'"

34 user comments

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SideBurn wrote:
£2000 fine for causing life changing injuries? After shouting "oi move"? Thats pathetic.....

AFAIK, the fine for careless dangerous driving is not much worse.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [1038 posts]
5th July 2012 - 20:52

6 Likes

Careless drivers are so common that they don't make the news alas. But it does seem that this cyclist was carelese. He will get sued and can expect a very large claim against him. I'm not very sympathetic to him. Despite what he claims, CCTV evidence did apparently suggest he had jumped the red light.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2288 posts]
5th July 2012 - 21:18

4 Likes

Stephen Glover, I've never hit a pedestrian yet but I'll watch out for you on the streets of London - and accelerate when I see you

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
5th July 2012 - 21:20

7 Likes

He may be sued, but if he has no third party insurance and few assets, then the victim, given the case is proved, will have a job to recover anything. A fact that from the victim's point of view is sad but true.
The comments by the victim's wife are understandable, as reported, but not entirely helpful, depending on how you read them.
So far as comments in some of the odder newspapers, just read the headline on any day and then figure out how daft they can make themselves.
The essence of the speed comment was poor, to qualify it with something like "inappropriate for the situation" would be better. We all know that speed is not of itself dnagerous, it's inappropriate speed - and use of it by ANY vehicle driver/rider - that is the issue.
Sadly a feed by the judge to the sillier media.

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
5th July 2012 - 21:35

6 Likes

doc wrote:
He may be sued, but if he has no third party insurance and few assets, then the victim, given the case is proved, will have a job to recover anything.

On the former point, he's an IT manager at the London branch of a major overseas bank; on the latter point, the guy he left injured is a partner in a city law firm.

That red light could end up costing a lot more than a £30 fixed penalty notice...

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8388 posts]
5th July 2012 - 22:14

4 Likes

Why even quote the daily hate in this article? Or in fact ever? Is it just in the name of balance because they represent the polar opposite to reason and objectivity?
The single positive for the mails existence is that it acts like flypaper for frothy mouthed loons that would otherwise trouble the rest of the internet with their twattery, no need to encourage anyone else to visit.

on topic - I have every sympathy for the victim but this is only a news story because it's such a rare occurence. I'd be curious to see how many pedestrians are killed or injured by pedestrians annually.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [877 posts]
5th July 2012 - 22:16

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The widows comments, while obviously driven by the circumstances, are still bang out of order. Riders should just be killed left right and centre until the minority obey the law? There's a reckless minority in every pastime and reckless drivers cause significantly more damage than cyclists. What would happen if the government said that they're not protecting pedestrians until they stop crossing roads where there isn't a pedestrian crossing?

posted by drheaton [3429 posts]
6th July 2012 - 5:39

6 Likes

Who's this stain on humanity Glover, and who made him an authority? I can categorically state that Lycra clad roadies are the least likely to be caught hopping a red light, it's the fair weather/BSO riding/Barclays bike folk that meander through the stop signs due to a lack of road sense. Funilly enough these are also the ones who come over all Stephen Glover frothy mouthed when you ask them what they're playing at. I've long given up caring about these people, one less idiot to undertake me when they get taken out by a lorry.

posted by Nick T [837 posts]
6th July 2012 - 7:50

4 Likes

I am a keen road cyclist so I don't want to come across as hating cyclists, far from it, it is a passion of mine but the amount of so called cyclists (so called as in my opinion they are not cyclists just idiots on bikes) I see jumping red lights and going back and forth from pavement to road without looking is appalling!

I was nearly hit by a 2 men on cycles yesturday when going to cross the road, at a junction for whereby it was green man for me to cross, then a few yards down the road , they were on the pavement, weaving through a busy city centre pavement!! This is not on at all and something needs to be in place so people like this will be fined, this I think would start to put people off doing it, also you should have to pass a simple cycling test to be allowed on the road, it should be relatively cheap and last as long as the driving licence.

It really annoys me and readin this gets to me even more as it gives fuel to people's arguments who already hate cyclists. I, and many other law abiding cyclists, do not need this, I have already been hit twice by cars (both times not my fault and one was a hit and run incident) so do not need these idiots on bikes jumping red lights encouraging drivers to dislike cyclists!!

posted by ridetheroad123 [7 posts]
6th July 2012 - 7:53

4 Likes

I agree, 9 times out of 10 when a cyclists jumps a red light it is NOT a roadie but someone on a rubbish £50 'mountain' bike wearing a track suit or something completely inappropriate for cycling. I am a roadie and I always stop at a red light and I stop at zebra crossings too

posted by ridetheroad123 [7 posts]
6th July 2012 - 7:56

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And again we're back to the point of grouping disparate people together. 'Cyclists' don't have control over one another in any more meaningful sense than 'drivers' have control over one another. If an idiot decides to jump a red light, I can't stop him (much as I might like to try) - whether he's on a bike, motorbike or in a car. But I get lumped in with him just because I look vaguely similar on the road.

I actually wouldn't have an issue with the same penalties being applied to dangerous cycling as to dangerous driving - provided, of course, that the sentencing reflected the impact of the offence and also provided that the law was enforced consistently across all road users.

posted by step-hent [697 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:14

6 Likes

Surely provenance, occupation, age or indeed any other material condition of the cyclist is not a factor in the application of law.

He ran the light, he hurt someone badly, of course he should be charged, there's no wiggle room on it. All vehicles and their drivers have accountability and responsibility, this guy is discovering that. He caused the victim *brain damage* not a graze.

It's not us guys, it's those guys over there. Yeah right. It comes down to ME at a moment of decision, knowing the law and making the choice.

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [286 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:20

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I'm not convinced that a cycling test or licence is the right way to go about things, it goes against the right to use the public highway on foot or by self propelled mechanisms like bicycles. As soon as we start licensing cyclists it gives more weight to these nonsense "road tax" claims from those who do use the roads under licence in their motor vehicles and think cyclist should contribute, for some reason, to Vehicle Excise Duty.

posted by Nick T [837 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:23

4 Likes

While the whole incident is unfortunate for everyone involved, there's also the fact that this guy stepped out into the Holborn Viaduct and not at a crossing. Had the light been green and his injuries were the same, the whole argument would be completely different. Had a car been travelling at 30mph and killed him that's a drivers life affected, I don't know how I'd cope with that kind of trauma. I do t like red light jumpers and I also don't like people stepping into the road without proper care. With a bit more attention from both parties this could have all been avoided.

posted by Nick T [837 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:33

4 Likes

I didn't mention road 'tax' for cyclists, that does not come into the equation as I do realise cycles do not emit any emissions therefore would never be subject to 'tax' but I do think it is appalling and damn right dangerous that idiots are allowed to jump on a cheap un road worthy bike and nearly cause an accident everytime they use it as they are allowed to be ignorant to the rules of the road.

Perhaps the test would not be a test as such, in regards that you need to pass, just that you say you have read the highway code and understand the rules of the road when on a cycle, focusing on safety for the cyclist. I really believe a lot, not all, of people on bikes who run red lights, jump back and forth from pavement to road, do not understand that cyclists are meant to stop at red lights, are not meant to ride on the pavement, that a lifesaver,can surprise surprise save your life, that you have to give way to traffic on your right at a roundabout, reason being they simply don't have to be aware of these rules if they choose not to do so!!!

posted by ridetheroad123 [7 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:34

6 Likes

Nick T wrote:
While the whole incident is unfortunate for everyone involved, there's also the fact that this guy stepped out into the Holborn Viaduct and not at a crossing. Had the light been green and his injuries were the same, the whole argument would be completely different. Had a car been travelling at 30mph and killed him that's a drivers life affected, I don't know how I'd cope with that kind of trauma. I do t like red light jumpers and I also don't like people stepping into the road without proper care. With a bit more attention from both parties this could have all been avoided.

Eh? It seems Mr Hyer stepped out in front of a red light - which gave him a perfectly reasonable expectation that no traffic would be coming, because for it to do so would be illegal.

The RLJer, on the other hand, was the one ignoring the law and his illegal action resulted in him hitting someone. Difficult to see how anyone but Mr RLJer is responsible here - he didn't need to 'pay a bit more attention', he needed to obey the rules of the road to avoid hurting someone (which is, after all, what they are there for).

posted by step-hent [697 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:40

3 Likes

The guy was a dick and deserved more, but given you can kill a cyclist and get a £200 fine, the daily mail rantings are wildly out of touch with our warped criminal justice system!

posted by georgee [139 posts]
6th July 2012 - 8:55

4 Likes

I don't know exactly where on the road he stepped out, all the information that given is "Holborn Viaduct". Could be the middle of the road, could be under the lights, could be at a multiple entry crossroads with bad visibility, could be Holborn Circus where there's 6 or 7 roads meeting up and no crossings. Do you know the exact location? I'm not trying to excuse this guys actions either by the way, he's clearly guilty, just trying to give some balance and say that everyone needs to be on the lookout and not make bad decisions.

posted by Nick T [837 posts]
6th July 2012 - 9:05

3 Likes

26mph not a bad sort of speed I wonder if he was on a carbon bike,
.............. Seriously tho a bike is a weapon at any speed we need to be carefull.

posted by chromo1990 [43 posts]
6th July 2012 - 9:12

4 Likes

What I don't understand is how the cyclist had time to shout out "Oi move" but not have time to avoid hitting the pedestrian, so he was aware of the poor victim but still hit him?

posted by belgravedave [212 posts]
6th July 2012 - 9:36

3 Likes

Nick T wrote:
I don't know exactly where on the road he stepped out, all the information that given is "Holborn Viaduct". Could be the middle of the road, could be under the lights, could be at a multiple entry crossroads with bad visibility, could be Holborn Circus where there's 6 or 7 roads meeting up and no crossings. Do you know the exact location? I'm not trying to excuse this guys actions either by the way, he's clearly guilty, just trying to give some balance and say that everyone needs to be on the lookout and not make bad decisions.

It was a six-lane road with no pedestrian lights - but it is all irrelevant given the the cyclist would not have been in anyone's way had he not jumped the light.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [1038 posts]
6th July 2012 - 9:38

3 Likes

If I step out onto the A406 and a car doing the usual 55mph when it's a 40 zone is unable to brake within the braking distance and hits me, who is most to blame? I thought he was doing 40 and could have got across in time if that were the case, but no.

I'm all for punishing those who jump red lights or other similar wrecklesness but I'm not so into the idea of obeying the rules so that others don't have to. Everyone needs to take responsibility of themselves.

posted by Nick T [837 posts]
6th July 2012 - 10:22

2 Likes

Nick T wrote:
While the whole incident is unfortunate for everyone involved, there's also the fact that this guy stepped out into the Holborn Viaduct and not at a crossing. Had the light been green and his injuries were the same, the whole argument would be completely different. Had a car been travelling at 30mph and killed him that's a drivers life affected, I don't know how I'd cope with that kind of trauma. I do t like red light jumpers and I also don't like people stepping into the road without proper care. With a bit more attention from both parties this could have all been avoided.

Nick - there are two posts on here from you that both try hard to imply fault with the victim and reduce the blame on the cyclist. I'm a cyclist and - like many of you - I get pretty miffed about the lack of judicial response to the way we are treated by car drivers and road-planners and such-like. But what you are doing here is counter productive - not all cyclists are saints, and this guy is so far in the wrong that there is no excuse. None whatsoever.

If you jump a red light - you are in the wrong, period! He even had the time and wherewithal to shout at the poor guy he hit. This stuff about a 'bit more care and attention from both parties' is - excuse me but - total bollocks. The cyclist was wrong. Completely and utterly. He sounds like a bit of a shit too, but that's speculation. Trying to muddy the water and assign blame elsewhere doesn't do us any favours as a group - this is clear cut. The cyclist was wrong - end of.

Had the light been green the argument would have been different? Well - duh! Of course it would. But the light was red - and he jumped it. Had he missed hitting the bloke and not given him brain damage then the story would also have been different...what's your point? Anything is different assuming you change enough facts. A bizarre position.

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
6th July 2012 - 11:24

4 Likes

The only "6 lane junction" on Holborn Viaduct I know of is the circus and you have to go quite a bit out of your way to get to any pedestrian crossings to go round. It's bloody busy there at times and it's impossible to know for sure which road has a green light and which has a red to enter the roundabout, let alone see clearly where the traffic is coming from. It's one thing crossing at a red traffic light knowing nothing is coming and quite another when it's a multi-phased lighted junction with limited visibility. Personally I think if you try and sneak a shortcut across there you are taking your life into your own hands.

None of this is in defence of the cyclist who flouted the law, I just think it strange that it's somehow ok to step into the road like that.

posted by Nick T [837 posts]
6th July 2012 - 12:28

3 Likes

This is a sad story on both sides. Sorry to hear the extent of the pedestrian injuries. And the cyclist was wrong to jump a light – fellow cyclists please stop doing this, a case in point that you tar the rest of us with same brush.

However the comment about lycra wearing cyclists is so far off the mark. Thats like me saying negative against all drivers because a few jump zebra crossing outside my local school as people step into the road. Can we all except that there are bad drivers just like there are bad cyclists, and just all raise your game as someone else's live is on the end of our wrong decisions on both sides.

posted by DaveLondon [2 posts]
6th July 2012 - 12:29

4 Likes

drheaton wrote:
The widows comments,....

Er.... for one, shes not *widowed*. Clive Hyer survived the collision!

Pedantry aside, you are completely right about her remarks. Its an incredibly dumb thing to say and I think she should be held to account for it, publicly withdraw them and apologise.

What Mrs Hyer hasnt considered is that pedestrians have the nasty habit of walking out into traffic any any place they feel like it, without looking and most times whilst they have a phone glued to their ear. Just last night, my flatmate ended up on the deck after colliding with a pedestrian who decided to walk through paused traffic and cross a cycle lane without looking.

There are untold people who decide on a daily basis to break every traffic regulation, whether its RLJ, driving without insurance, driving while intoxicated or just crossing the road (at inappropriate places) without looking.

Before Mrs Hyer gets her knickers in a twist and demands withdrawing sympathy for cyclists killed by lorries that had absolutely nothing to do with her husbands collision, maybe she should look at the bigger picture or just STFU in the first place.

zanf's picture

posted by zanf [589 posts]
6th July 2012 - 13:23

3 Likes

Where does this hive-mind theory come from? Thinking

It pops up, not only when people wish to rant about cyclists, but also in discussions on immigration, sex/gender and age. Its a pretty sad indictment of society that we cannot see the bigger picture, that we're prone to these mad stabs in the dark.

Whilst repetition does not make truth - I think every cyclist who has ever ridden in traffic needs to make a stand - in person or in epistolary means. I suggest spamming the inbox of the Daily Mail - letters@dailymail.co.uk - and tell them:

- "I am no law breaker"
- "I have no respect for those that do"
- Stephen Glover glosses over the fact that killer driver very, very rarely get prison
- Glover glosses over the fact that the law is different between motoring and cycling because of the risks posed (at the same speed of 15mph a car can do far, far more damage - simply physics)
- Glover also falls prey to confirmation bias with regards the numbers he sees

- tell the Daily Mail that the comments left on the website, often in their letters and articles - make you feel for your safety. That such a population is out there, that is so vehemently against you simply riding, and so angered by our mere presence.

- tell the Daily Mail about the experiences you've had, despite following the rules.

At the very least it will tie up their inbox for a short time.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
6th July 2012 - 14:04

5 Likes

Nick,
Quite right, squire. In fact there's surely a case for compulsory helmets on pedestrians' noggins. Bloody nuisance, they are, walking across junctions at dangerously high speeds, innit. And helmets on drivers and their passengers---all prone to head-injuries in shunts.
Car hits dog....where's its hard-hat? Ye godz, where will it all end? Sympathy to the pedestrian in this case, though. I have a shout at RLJ "cyclists" when I see them: "OY! GO ON--GIVE US ALL A BAD NAME!"...
Any takers?
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [304 posts]
8th July 2012 - 1:50

4 Likes

mattbibbings wrote:
Ok, he should not have jumped the red and we should all take heed of the impact of such carelessness in light of the injuries caused here.

But (there is always a but....)

26mph is an 'unsafe' speed?

I wholly disagree. The cyclist didn't stop. The defence alleged he made no effort to stop. The action of jumping the light was unsafe, the speed was a contributory factor in the seriousness of the injuries. The speed of 26mph (or faster for that matter) is NOT inherently unsafe.

The judges comments should have been made in relation to the incident specifically. It sounds to me that she is stating as fact that 26mph is an unsafe speed to travel on a bicycle at anytime and that is an ill informed statement.

That is fine for a car which can stop safely in an emergency, I am guessing it will probably take longer for a cycle to stop at that speed and will be a less controlled stop because of rear wheel slide and road surface conditions.
To impact at 26mph wouldn't be good as unfortunately demonstrated here.

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [84 posts]
8th July 2012 - 9:35

5 Likes

There are just too many factors involved. Even a car can struggle to stop at 26mph (hills, the wet, the same diesel we suffer from)

As I said elsewhere - I wouldnt want to hit a pedestrian at any speed, they could very well still fall and crack their temple. That still could be game-over.

I would like to know how they measured the speed?

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
8th July 2012 - 11:03

1 Like