Motorist found not guilty of manslaughter in connection with death of London cyclist

Court had been told that tinting on windows reduced driver's visibility to 17 per cent of what it should have been

by Simon_MacMichael   December 14, 2012  

Broken bike (CC licensed image by garryknight,

A motorist from Surrey who was alleged to have opened his car door in the path of a cyclist without looking, causing him to be killed under the wheels of a bus behind him, has been acquitted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey, reports the BBC.

The victim, 25-year-old Sam Harding, had been due to move in with his girlfriend on the day he died in August last year in the incident on Holloway Road, north London.

Kenan Aydogdu, aged 32 of Hindhead, Surrey had denied the charge of manslaughter at his trial, in which the prosecution maintained that visibility from the Audi car he had bought a month earlier had been reduced to 17 per cent of what it should have been after he applied tinting film to the windows.

The verdict has been returned on the same day that the lorry driver in the Mary Bowers case was found not guilty of dangerous driving, but guilty of careless driving, in connection with the incident last November that left the Times journalist with life-changing injuries.


24 user comments

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£80 fine and 3 points is it..... Angry

If that ride is important to you, you'll find a way to get it in!

road slapper's picture

posted by road slapper [95 posts]
14th December 2012 - 17:20


A jury of his peers...

You can imagine it in the jury room: "If I knock someone off their bike, even if it's by opening my car door and they get crushed I can be done for manslaughter. No thanks" On you go Mr Aydogdu, let's not talk about this again shall we?

posted by Ad Hynkel [78 posts]
14th December 2012 - 17:33

1 Like

Would you get away with donning sunglasses and pushing random people under vehicles???? Apparently so. F#!king disgraceful the jury should be ashamed of themselves.

cidermart's picture

posted by cidermart [493 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:17

1 Like

While I don't know the full details I can't help thinking of all-white juries in the deep south acquiting white defendants for racially motivated hate crimes. I wonder how many of the jurors are regular cyclists.

posted by Actium [44 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:19


Aydogdu - unfortunate name....

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1616 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:24


Why was the bus driver driving so close behind the cyclist? Just a question...

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:24

1 Like

londonplayer wrote:
Why was the bus driver driving so close behind the cyclist? Just a question...

That is a very good point. The aspiration of the Highway Code - leaving the same amount of space when overtaking as you would for a car - would mean that the cyclist would have space to fall into without ending up under the wheels of he bus.

I do like to think that I wouldn't suffer the same fate. Having had two accidents from riding too close to parked cars, I now leave a large gap between me and them, even though it makes some following drivers irate.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1445 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:38


Opening a car door on a stationary vehicle must never become a criminal offence. Where would you draw the line on actions?

Humans, have always, and will always make errors. We need to design our environment for this (note: Sustainable Safety/Go Dutch).

Sadly, too many read this, and attack the individual, rather than stop to think about the human designed environment.

posted by IanPerry [7 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:39


Why did the prosecution cloud the issue with the tinted window stuff? The guy got doored because the defendant "opened his car door in the path of a cyclist WITHOUT LOOKING". Another sad day. I wonder what grounds the Jury gave for acquital?

posted by villageidiot [5 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:43


Would the jury have arrived at the same verdict had the car opened onto another car causing fatalities?

posted by Kebab Meister [12 posts]
14th December 2012 - 18:48


Disgusting decision. Flies in the face of the evidence provided by passengers on the bus.

posted by paulfg42 [395 posts]
14th December 2012 - 19:11


Because cyclists don't really matter

posted by Peter531 [5 posts]
14th December 2012 - 19:24


Opening a car door on a stationary vehicle must never become a criminal offence. Where would you draw the line on actions?

It already IS an offence and quite rightly so.
The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (reg 105)

The guy opened his door and, through his negligence, caused a series of actions that resulted in someone's death. You can argue all you want about whether the cyclist should/shouldn't have been riding where he was and we'll never know the exact facts about why the cyclist was at that precise point in the road but the crux is that the motorist is at fault for
a) having illegal windows and reduced visibility and
b) opening the door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person. (wording from the Law linked to above).

The bus driver is probably guilty of careless driving by being so close behind that he couldn't stop.

Except that cos it's a cyclist, it's quite alright to go round maiming and killing them as already proved many times over in the UK. Sad

posted by crazy-legs [654 posts]
14th December 2012 - 19:24

1 Like

Another appalling decision - the perpetrator deliberately obscures his and the cyclist's vision; cyclist gets killed; Audi owner of no fixed abode (!) gets slap on wrist.

What would have happened if cyclist had been carrying a Mark Rothko?

posted by Peter531 [5 posts]
14th December 2012 - 19:26


On what possible basis could this guy be acquitted? There were witnesses plus CCTV from the bus and he's impaired his vision by darkening his windows. Open and shut (no pun intended), surely? An absolute disgrace.


posted by AlexStriplight [75 posts]
14th December 2012 - 20:38

1 Like

The idea of a bunch of random strangers called Jury deciding about other peoples' lives is utterly ridiculous.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [249 posts]
14th December 2012 - 22:36


On one of our club members being doored, the driver just laughed and said it was not his fault, our quick thinking secretary told the grounded lad to stay down while an ambulance was called knowing the police have a duty to attend. The officer wiped the smile off the drivers face with the option a being charged or taking the drivers awareness course. Our member was injured but not too seriously.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
14th December 2012 - 22:45


Sadly, too many read this, and attack the individual, rather than stop to think about the human designed environment.

The environment didn't tint the moron's windows so that he couldn't even see his mirror and therefore had to open his door.


posted by psychle [20 posts]
14th December 2012 - 23:32


It is a wrong decidion on the part of the judge. I'm not sure how this decision was arrived at, but it was the wrong one

I believe the cyclist was in a cycle lane and bein doored threw him onto the path of the bus, which suggests that the bus was not following too close.

Perhaps more details will be available to explain this point.


posted by OldRidgeback [2576 posts]
15th December 2012 - 1:14


The judge, Mr Justice Saunders, told the jury: "This is a case where there are no winners. Everyone is a loser."

Such an insulting crass comment from a High Court Judge in the circumstances of the death of Mr Harding who, with his family and friends are losers here - (oh not forgetting the needs for justice which has also lost out).
I don't expect the unbelievably stupid Kenan Aydogdu feels he's a loser .


posted by Sudor [184 posts]
15th December 2012 - 9:55


And in the week in which Wlodzimierz Umaniec was jailed for two years for defacing a Rothko. Yet another example of how, when it comes to road fatalities, the legal system in this country is truly useless. A shameful reflection on the succession of self serving buffoons who we've had governing us for as long as I can remember.

And there rests the case for armed insurrection........


TiNuts's picture

posted by TiNuts [98 posts]
15th December 2012 - 11:16


Just an accident, could have happened to anyone, jailing him won't bring the cyclist back,...


posted by SpamSpamSpam [20 posts]
15th December 2012 - 13:02


Confused The judge appears to have seen the issue of tinted windows as a mere detail. I have long been frustrated at the growing number of cars with tinted windows because you can't judge the alertness or demeanour of the driver - for 'defensive' cyclists a great tool for riding safety.
It's also good for other drivers, pedestrians and motorcyclists so I don't see how it's even controversial. Road safety or car cosmetics? Duh!

posted by Gergaskman [2 posts]
15th December 2012 - 15:18


My view is tinted windows is a problem not because the killer couldn't see out but because a defensive cyclist couldn't see IN. With clear glass you can see someone in the car, maybe anticipate they will open the door.
To tint windows excessively is against the Law, so is clearly an aggravating factor.

posted by Gergaskman [2 posts]
15th December 2012 - 15:24