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Sentences only days apart highlight discrepancies in the justice system

A court in Solihull has, in the same week as it  gave a £35 fine to a driver who killed a cyclist, handed down a £110 fine to a woman who hit a parked vehicle and drove off.

Solihull Magistrates Court gave 54 year old Ichhapal Bhamra a £35 fine and three points on his licence for driving without due care and attention.

He hit 20-year-old Tom Ridgway, then carried on driving a further 90 metres, with the cyclist on his Toyota Previa, hitting traffic signs along the way until finally colliding with a tree.

In  comparison, Donna Lloyd, 27, hit a parked car in a multi-storey car park and drove away. She was fined £110, asked to pay £80  costs and £15 victim surcharge, and give seven points on her licence - four more than Bhamra.

The discrepancy in sentencing in the same courtroom was spotted by Bikebiz's Carlton Reid, in the Solihull News.

While the level of charge brought was a disappointment to Mr Ridgway's family it is also worth noting that Solihull magistrates did not impose the maximum sentence available to them for the offence. According to the sentencing guidelines those found guilty of careless drive can be given 9 penalty points on their licence and a fine usually amounting to 150 per cent of the defendant's weekly income.

The magistrates based their sentence on all the evidence presented to them - while our impressions of the case come from the report in The Solihull News, but even so both the charge and the sentence handed down will be seen as troubling by cycle safety campaigners and many in the wider cycling community.

Solihull MP Lorely Burt said she was “shocked and disgusted” by the sentence and pledged to look into the case. Last month representatives of CTC, British Cycling, and RoadPeace met with Justice Minister, Helen Grant to call for a review of sentencing guidelines, in cases where drivers kill or injure more vulnerable road users. At the meeting Department for Transport official agreed to back "a cross-stakeholder meeting with the different agencies involved to discuss a review of the system and how it might be improved."

As yet no date has been announced for a follow up meeting,

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

40 comments

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Tony Farrelly [2919 posts] 5 years ago
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Fair enough LokinKontroll you're not a troll and nor is OldRidgeback an employee of this website; and no-one is trying to bully you in to silence.

I'd have to add though, that looking back at your commenting history the robust way you choose to freely express yourself does seem to include a fair amount of belittling and insulting of other commenters' views. I'd suggest that if you went a little easier on the bile or even added a touch of politeness to the mix your freely expressed views wouldn't get mistaken for trolling.

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lokikontroll [51 posts] 5 years ago
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Fair enough and I will endeavor to be more mindful.

Please understand that English for many, many years has not been my major spoken language. In CH, NL & DE the communication style is far more direct and I have been forced to adapt.

Partially though, I am purposefully "robust" in my tone and language as I feel the spectrum of debate in the UK is far too narrow which only serves to suit those who wish nothing meaningful to change; particularly as this relates to the safety of cyclists in the UK.

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OldRidgeback [2855 posts] 5 years ago
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lokikontroll wrote:

Perhaps you'd care to outline what comments of mine you found offensive (apart from my referring to you as "a little englander")?

I likewise find your posts offensive and maintain that it was you who were not prepared to accept my opinions in good faith.

There were a couple of points that you made that I accepted. You made no concession...only offering a blind, nationalistic defense of England.

I take particular issue with your slander about child abuse cases in Belgium and Austria; and therefore not wanting to raise your children in either of these countries. This is of course what you were getting at and it's repugnant.

Again, I find in hard to believe that my mild rebuke in calling you a "little englander" has really offended you.

However, if you are sincere, then I apologize for using that choice of wording but your attempts in "defending" the UK through false statistics, ill-informed comparisons with our european neighbors in order to bolster your assertions does this country no good.

One should be free to be critical of their country without being thought of as a lesser patriot.

I still dont believe that you have no connection with Farrely Media though.

All of this is a direct insult:

"OldRidgeback, you sound like a little Englander with your weak, ill informed defense. Your soft bigotry of low expectations for British people only ensures to keep the UK as a low performing european country. "

I made my points and disagreed with you, but at no point was I insulting or offensive.

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lfgaspar [6 posts] 5 years ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:

eastern European nations have far, far higher annual fatality rates on their roads, so do Greece and Portugal, although the latter is improving.

Although Portugal is no shiny example of cycling or road infrastructure, the fatality rates are much lower that I sometimes see trumpeted around. Out of 6 million cars insured there were fewer than 600 deaths on the road during 2012, a number of casualties only found in the 1950's, when about 150K cars were around, and a 15% decline in respect to 2011.

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lokikontroll [51 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:
lokikontroll wrote:

Perhaps you'd care to outline what comments of mine you found offensive (apart from my referring to you as "a little englander")?

I likewise find your posts offensive and maintain that it was you who were not prepared to accept my opinions in good faith.

There were a couple of points that you made that I accepted. You made no concession...only offering a blind, nationalistic defense of England.

I take particular issue with your slander about child abuse cases in Belgium and Austria; and therefore not wanting to raise your children in either of these countries. This is of course what you were getting at and it's repugnant.

Again, I find in hard to believe that my mild rebuke in calling you a "little englander" has really offended you.

However, if you are sincere, then I apologize for using that choice of wording but your attempts in "defending" the UK through false statistics, ill-informed comparisons with our european neighbors in order to bolster your assertions does this country no good.

One should be free to be critical of their country without being thought of as a lesser patriot.

I still dont believe that you have no connection with Farrely Media though.

All of this is a direct insult:

"OldRidgeback, you sound like a little Englander with your weak, ill informed defense. Your soft bigotry of low expectations for British people only ensures to keep the UK as a low performing european country. "

I made my points and disagreed with you, but at no point was I insulting or offensive.

Oh boy here we go. And I thought this was over.

Yes you were offensive, and yes your words were xenophobic and nationalistic. I disagreed with your rebuttal and you couldn't handle it. So I guess theres no room for debate with you is there? Once you say something that must be the end of it, correct? Only you can have the last word on an issue.

You alluded to two european countries (Belgium & Austria) as having paedophelia problems such that you would not raise children there. You made very few valid points but instead chose to make up stories about education in the UK and Germany that you know nothing about; all in order to lend support to your tenuous assertions.

If I am not mistaken you've also claimed in the past that London/England cannot possibly have Dutch/Danish style cycle lanes because the streets are too narrow. Again, low expectations of UK apparently.

And since you claimed to be so very offended after I called you a "little englander" I apologised. And yet here you are continuing this nonsense.

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Pitstone Peddler [104 posts] 5 years ago
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To be honest, hitting a parked vehicle and driving off might only warrant a £110 fine. Least without knowing how hard it was hit! However, the thought that if I speed at say 48mph in a 40mph zone, I am fined IRO £60 and or asked to attend a safety refresher makes a £35 fine and 'that's that' sentence for killing a cyclist quite incredible. Surely even at the most base level, anyone can see that this is plain wrong. Given the driver carried on for 90 metres with the cyclist on his car and yet still in court, his ability to drive or control a vehicle safely is not questioned beggars belief  13

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OldRidgeback [2855 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
lfgaspar wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:

eastern European nations have far, far higher annual fatality rates on their roads, so do Greece and Portugal, although the latter is improving.

Although Portugal is no shiny example of cycling or road infrastructure, the fatality rates are much lower that I sometimes see trumpeted around. Out of 6 million cars insured there were fewer than 600 deaths on the road during 2012, a number of casualties only found in the 1950's, when about 150K cars were around, and a 15% decline in respect to 2011.

Portugal and France have achieved the best success in the EU in lowering the annual fatality rates in road crashes. The EU set a target of halving the 2010 fatal accident levels in road crashes by 2010. In Portugal and France, a lot of the success has been made through tougher enforcement, particularly of speeding and drink driving. Portugal has also benefited from its new multi-lane highways, which have centreline dividers and replace the old two lane routes between many of the major cities. because there are centre line dividiers, there have been far fewer head-on crashes than in the past.

I don't have separate figures for Portugal's cycling fatalities though.

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2855 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
lokikontroll wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:
lokikontroll wrote:

Perhaps you'd care to outline what comments of mine you found offensive (apart from my referring to you as "a little englander")?

I likewise find your posts offensive and maintain that it was you who were not prepared to accept my opinions in good faith.

There were a couple of points that you made that I accepted. You made no concession...only offering a blind, nationalistic defense of England.

I take particular issue with your slander about child abuse cases in Belgium and Austria; and therefore not wanting to raise your children in either of these countries. This is of course what you were getting at and it's repugnant.

Again, I find in hard to believe that my mild rebuke in calling you a "little englander" has really offended you.

However, if you are sincere, then I apologize for using that choice of wording but your attempts in "defending" the UK through false statistics, ill-informed comparisons with our european neighbors in order to bolster your assertions does this country no good.

One should be free to be critical of their country without being thought of as a lesser patriot.

I still dont believe that you have no connection with Farrely Media though.

All of this is a direct insult:

"OldRidgeback, you sound like a little Englander with your weak, ill informed defense. Your soft bigotry of low expectations for British people only ensures to keep the UK as a low performing european country. "

I made my points and disagreed with you, but at no point was I insulting or offensive.

Oh boy here we go. And I thought this was over.

Yes you were offensive, and yes your words were xenophobic and nationalistic. I disagreed with your rebuttal and you couldn't handle it. So I guess theres no room for debate with you is there? Once you say something that must be the end of it, correct? Only you can have the last word on an issue.

You alluded to two european countries (Belgium & Austria) as having paedophelia problems such that you would not raise children there. You made very few valid points but instead chose to make up stories about education in the UK and Germany that you know nothing about; all in order to lend support to your tenuous assertions.

If I am not mistaken you've also claimed in the past that London/England cannot possibly have Dutch/Danish style cycle lanes because the streets are too narrow. Again, low expectations of UK apparently.

And since you claimed to be so very offended after I called you a "little englander" I apologised. And yet here you are continuing this nonsense.

Me too Loki and I do find that name ironic - you asked a question so I gave you an answer, which you didn’t like. You’ve called me a little englander (sic) and now you’ve called me a xenophobe and a liar as well.

You are right about one thing only, that I spend too much time in here.

I’m curious now what makes you tick, but not that curious.

I've got a question for you now -

What's the difference between a chicken?

Carry on without me.

Have a nice life.

Avatar
lokikontroll [51 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:
lokikontroll wrote:
OldRidgeback wrote:
lokikontroll wrote:

Perhaps you'd care to outline what comments of mine you found offensive (apart from my referring to you as "a little englander")?

I likewise find your posts offensive and maintain that it was you who were not prepared to accept my opinions in good faith.

There were a couple of points that you made that I accepted. You made no concession...only offering a blind, nationalistic defense of England.

I take particular issue with your slander about child abuse cases in Belgium and Austria; and therefore not wanting to raise your children in either of these countries. This is of course what you were getting at and it's repugnant.

Again, I find in hard to believe that my mild rebuke in calling you a "little englander" has really offended you.

However, if you are sincere, then I apologize for using that choice of wording but your attempts in "defending" the UK through false statistics, ill-informed comparisons with our european neighbors in order to bolster your assertions does this country no good.

One should be free to be critical of their country without being thought of as a lesser patriot.

I still dont believe that you have no connection with Farrely Media though.

All of this is a direct insult:

"OldRidgeback, you sound like a little Englander with your weak, ill informed defense. Your soft bigotry of low expectations for British people only ensures to keep the UK as a low performing european country. "

I made my points and disagreed with you, but at no point was I insulting or offensive.

Oh boy here we go. And I thought this was over.

Yes you were offensive, and yes your words were xenophobic and nationalistic. I disagreed with your rebuttal and you couldn't handle it. So I guess theres no room for debate with you is there? Once you say something that must be the end of it, correct? Only you can have the last word on an issue.

You alluded to two european countries (Belgium & Austria) as having paedophelia problems such that you would not raise children there. You made very few valid points but instead chose to make up stories about education in the UK and Germany that you know nothing about; all in order to lend support to your tenuous assertions.

If I am not mistaken you've also claimed in the past that London/England cannot possibly have Dutch/Danish style cycle lanes because the streets are too narrow. Again, low expectations of UK apparently.

And since you claimed to be so very offended after I called you a "little englander" I apologised. And yet here you are continuing this nonsense.

Me too Loki and I do find that name ironic - you asked a question so I gave you an answer, which you didn’t like. You’ve called me a little englander (sic) and now you’ve called me a xenophobe and a liar as well.

You are right about one thing only, that I spend too much time in here.

I’m curious now what makes you tick, but not that curious.

I've got a question for you now -

What's the difference between a chicken?

Carry on without me.

Have a nice life.

I never asked you a question so I don't know what or who you think you were answering.

You chose to jump in and take issue with one of my posts using xenophobia, nationalist sentiment, arrogance and a fair bit of lying. Considering the importance of the subject matter at hand I chose not to let this pass.

What compels you to constantly one-up people on this website with your "statistics" or opinions?

The data isn't ultimately important anyway. As far as I am concerned the importance is in the interpretation and then following that how one chooses to act. I simply care deeply about the safety of cyclists in the UK (as I am sure you do as well).

Now though you post again in my direction and are being deliberately provocative. I apologized for hurting your feelings and thought I made clear that I feel this thread should end.

You refuse to respect that and wont leave things alone. I find that not only are you a smug xenophobe but a bit of a bore as well.

Thanks for wishing me a nice life. This feels about as sincere as your claim to being offended by my calling you "a little Englander".

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Wolfloid [1 post] 4 years ago
0 likes

This case seems like an obvious travesty of justice, and I can only hope that our utterly inadequate justice system improves in the future. How often we hear of how utterly incompetent the CPS is.

As to the other matter of the verbal feud between lokikontrol and oldridgeback, I've read through the thread and would like to make a few observations.

I know neither of these people, but I do live and work in Germany, and have done for a number of years. While I do appreciate the cycle paths here, for safety reasons, they generally make for a more sterile kind of riding in comparison to, say, riding the Kent or Devon lanes or in any of the national parks.

As to the education system (and I work in it) I think Lokikontrol presents a very rosy and one-sided picture. I teach at a University and my experience is that the standards, at least in my area, are quite low. I can make a direct comparison with previously working at university in the UK. I also know many teachers - my wife comes from a family of German school teachers, and those teachers that I know complain loudly, vociferously and endlessly. Both Germany and the UK have serious problems in their education systems, and they both seem to be getting steadily worse. So not much good news there.

As to the bandying of insults, well, lokikontrol, I really think you need to do some honest self-examination.

You said: "OldRidgeback, you sound like a little Englander with your weak, ill informed defense. Your soft bigotry of low expectations for British people only ensures to keep the UK as a low performing european country. "

You also said: "Perhaps you'd care to outline what comments of mine you found offensive (apart from my referring to you as "a little englander")?"

Well what is it about the words 'ill informed' and 'bigotry' that you find acceptable when used against someone who simply sees things differently to you? To me this is purely insulting and offensive in tone.

There are so many statistics for so many areas of education; whether they are directly comparable is a different matter For instance you gave Transparency international stats (these are very rough and ready, by the way) to make your case that Germany was less corrupt than Britain. If, however, you were to look at official Euro Stats for the black economy, you will see that Britain's is at 11% whereas Germany's is at 17%. So it depends where you go for your information. Tax evasion in Germany is rife - OldRidgeback is quite right. Why do you think that Luxembourg has been allowed to exist as a tax haven within the EU for so long? Why is Switzerland only now being challenged (most effectively by the Americans)? Precisely because both places, and Austria and Lichtenstein, have been convenient for evaded German taxes. Of course, the UK has its own tax havens for its own corrupt elite, but your rosy picture seems to want to make a paradise of Germany, which from my perspective and most Germans I regularly talk to, it is not.

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