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Tipper truck driver guilty of death by careless driving

David Cox, the driver whose tipper truck crushed to death cyclist Brian Dorling at Bow Roundabout in 2011 has been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for a year, according to The Docklands and East London Advertiser.

The 49-year-old pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving after he drove his lorry into Brian Dorling, 58, on the morning of October 24 2011. [Editor's note: the case was originally misreported as causing death by dangerous driving.]

Mr Dorling was on his way to work at the Olympic Park at the time, using the blue cycle lane by which Cycle Superhighway 2 traverses Bow Roundabout. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

At the Inner London Court on Monday, Cox was sentenced to 24 weeks in prison, suspended for one year; disqualified from driving for two years; and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

Det Supt Helen Lambert, from the Metropolitan Police’s road death investigation unit, said: “Brian Dorling’s family have been left devastated by his untimely and sudden death.

“This was a tragic incident involving two different road users and it highlights the vulnerability of cyclists who ride alongside large vehicles.”

Many commenters on Twitter expressed surprise and outrage that Cox was not jailed and did not recieve a lifetime driving ban.

However, Tom Edwards, Transport and Environment Correspondent for BBC London pointed out that Cox has not driven since the accident and that Brian Dorling’s widow Debbie did not want him jailed.

“You can see he’s remorseful and see that he’s haunted. He is a broken man, said Debbie Dorling. “Putting him in prison is not going to achieve anything.”

Sara Dowling of campaign group Road Peace drew our attention to the error in the the original reporting of this case, and commented: "Causing death by careless driving is a charge that rarely results in a custodial sentence, in fact less than 30% of drivers charged with causing death by careless driving get a  custodial sentence. And RoadPeace would argue that increased use of longer driving bans is a much more appropriate response to careless driving than prison.

"The real issue here  is the misuse of the careless driving charge – time and time again we see it being used for cases that should be considered dangerous. In this case the driver went through a red light, surely falling far below the standard of a careful and competent driver. But yet again the CPS shifts towards the more lenient charge. A guilty plea means no trial and fewer costs.

"But even with a causing death by dangerous driving charge a longer driving ban would be unlikely as the courts are very reluctant to ‘punish’ drivers in this way – nearly half of drivers who kill receive no disqualification (12.7% endorsed, 33.6% need to retake test so can drive with a qualified driver)."

Bow's deadly roundabout

Dorling was the first of two people on bikes to be killed by trucks on Bow roundabout in 2011. Less than three weeks later 34-year-old Svitlana Tereschenko was killed by a tipper truck at approximately 4.45pm on the evening of Friday, November 11.

The inquest into Ms Tereschenko’s death returned a narrative verdict.  Deputy coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe ruled that Ms Tereschenko died "as a result of traumatic road death". Although the driver, Gurpreet Shergill failed to indicate and was talking on a mobile phone at the time, Dr Radcliffe went on to conclude "that nobody is to blame".

The two deaths led to improvements to Bow roundabout, including the fitting of advance traffic lights to allow cyclists to move off ahead of dangerous motor vehicles.

London Cycling Campaign had warned before Cycle Superhighway 2 was built that routing cyclists through Bow roundabout was extremely dangerous, and that the rest of the route, largely an intermittent blue stripe on the road was totally unfit for purpose.

After the deaths of Mr Dorling and Ms Tereschenko it emerged that in the planning of Cycle Superhighway 2, Transport for London had ignored recommendations from the civil engineering firm, Jacobs Consultancy to install traffic signals specifically for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as separate cycle tracks.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

55 comments

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andybwhite [250 posts] 3 years ago
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WTF!

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jova54 [653 posts] 3 years ago
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WTF indeed.

The man pleads guilty to causing death by dangerous driving and gets let off, completely. Yes, I know they get a lighter sentence if they plead guilty but this is no punishment. He has killed someone and he is at liberty to do it again.

Also noticed that he has been disqualified from driving, not banned. Does this mean he will get his licence back and be able to kill legally again?

I know a guy named Brian Dorling, who lives in London and about the same age and when I saw the initial report of Mr Dorling's death my heart sank. It was not the same man and I felt guilty for being relieved as the dead Mr Dorling's family had to come to terms with his death and now to add insult to injury the laughable 'punishment' of his killer.

This MUST receive a judicial review, surely!!

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mrmo [2073 posts] 3 years ago
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Who do you write to get a appeal lodged? I am sure anybody can contest a sentence if they feel it is unduly lienent.

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colinth [191 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

Who do you write to get a appeal lodged? I am sure anybody can contest a sentence if they feel it is unduly lienent.

It happened in Scotland recently but not sure it's the same in England. It's just incredible, I thought things might start getting better but they're getting worse.

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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dear oh dear, the madness continues, murder and he gets away with it ...

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JonD [401 posts] 3 years ago
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From http://road.cc/content/news/76282-family-cyclist-killed-tottenham-consid...

"Victims, their families and other members of the public who believe a sentence in a given case is unduly lenient can complain to their local Crown Prosecution Service office, which may then decide to refer the issue to the Attorney General to consider whether an appeal should be lodged.

There is a 28-day limit between the date of sentencing and the case being referred by the Attorney General to the Court of Appeal, with no possibility of extension."

BUT this seems to conflict with that:
https://www.gov.uk/complain-about-low-crown-court-sentence

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Bez [593 posts] 3 years ago
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jova54 wrote:

Also noticed that he has been disqualified from driving, not banned. Does this mean he will get his licence back and be able to kill legally again?

Correct. He received a two year ban:
http://www.wharf.co.uk/2013/07/motorist-admits-killing-cyclis.html

The fact that killing people through negligent use of a vehicle does not attract a mandatory lifetime ban says everything about the country's attitude to driving. It's a god-given right; and, no matter how matter how much collateral damage is caused through incompetence or infirmity, no mere man dare deny you that right.

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mrmo [2073 posts] 3 years ago
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I think I will send a letter tonight. It has to be worth doing if only to get the courts to understand this kind of sentence is unacceptable.

If you don't say anything there isn't a problem. Isn't that the argument used about not voting?

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:

I think I will send a letter tonight. It has to be worth doing if only to get the courts to understand this kind of sentence is unacceptable.

If you don't say anything there isn't a problem. Isn't that the argument used about not voting?

and you think they're going to listen to your opinion, do u?

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jova54 [653 posts] 3 years ago
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http://road.cc/content/news/88888-ask-your-mp-attend-parliamentary-debat...

Add this travesty to the list of things you want your MP to speak about during the upcoming debate.

Follow the link above to the related article.

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700c [902 posts] 3 years ago
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They've sentenced within the guidelines, albeit at the more lenient end of what is possible.

As others have said, the attitude and behaviour of motorists will not change until prosecutions come with meaningful sentences for taking a life.

Lobby your MP

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ScotchPoth (not verified) [368 posts] 3 years ago
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Its the judiciary and the old scrote judges,they do not cycle,they are motorists,they are cunts

They doll these lenient sentences out because they do not want to set a precedent whereby putting the onus of responsibility onto the motorist-its called corruption

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LondonCalling [149 posts] 3 years ago
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Where to.start? Speechless,.angry, pissed off doesn't even describe how I feel about this fucking joke! And the otherone was on his mobile and did not indicate and still got off??? Come on!!! No wonder the killings don't stop happening...

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fatbeggaronabike [813 posts] 3 years ago
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Very Emotive subject But... There are better ways of expressing your point of view especially as this is an open forum with no age limits/adult only filtering.

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A V Lowe [575 posts] 3 years ago
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We do not know the whole story in either case but the reports that Cox is a broken and haunted man, suggest that his sentence through his own mores and conscience is far greater than any court could impose. Given time I suspect that he could provide a more powerful advocate for managing the risks out of this HGV-cycle issue than any of us who have never been through such an experience.

Back in 1973 I knocked down a small boy who ran out in to the path of the car I was driving. The fact that I'd slowed down because I'd seen the group messing about on their way to school, and just managed to avoid any wheel going over him, meant he had a very sore head from hitting the headlight cowl, and was taken in to the nearby mill nurse's room to recover, before the ambulance came to take him for a check-up. But I can still vividly recall the shocked eyes looking up over the front of the car as he realised the situation he'd run in to.

That has made me especially aware of schools and kids at play by the roadside. I was lucky, being alert, and slowing down avoided a real tragedy. Others have a heavier burden to carry.

From this I'd presume that the sentencing for Gurpreet Shergill has yet to take place but from the description, the failures to indicate and use of the mobile phone may be reflected in the sentencing.

Sadly TfL still ignores the most sensible solution of removing the cycle traffic entirely from the continued hazard of a left turning vehicle or a vehicle entering the roundabout, the solution that 70% of the cyclists going East-West at this point already use - cycling straight over the flyover - by far the safest route and since most of the motor traffic is actually turning on or off the A102 for the Blackwall Tunnel, there are times when there are more cycles crossing the flyover than cars! Any sensible traffic engineer would spend a little time making observations and through this make the appropriate changes.

NB the huge fudge of traffic movements at this junction has both East side slip roads with 2-way traffic and a mess of cut-through lanes, plus a set or traffic signals to make the mess work (after a fashion). Westbound also one of the 2 lanes on the flyover is (was?) permanently 'closed' by hatched lines, easily providing the space for a 3 metre wide walking and cycling route.

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jay27 [43 posts] 3 years ago
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How many more times do we have to read stories like this where a lenient sentence is handed out and there is no justice for the cyclist involved or his grieving family.Sadly this seems to be a weekly occurrence where a cyclist loses their life and the road is full of ignorant drivers so its never going to change any time soon.

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mrmo [2073 posts] 3 years ago
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Karbon Kev wrote:
mrmo wrote:

I think I will send a letter tonight. It has to be worth doing if only to get the courts to understand this kind of sentence is unacceptable.

If you don't say anything there isn't a problem. Isn't that the argument used about not voting?

and you think they're going to listen to your opinion, do u?

and are you going to do anything or just accept dangerous driving?

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tired old fart [77 posts] 3 years ago
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Well said.

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tired old fart [77 posts] 3 years ago
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mrmo wrote:
Karbon Kev wrote:
mrmo wrote:

I think I will send a letter tonight. It has to be worth doing if only to get the courts to understand this kind of sentence is unacceptable.

If you don't say anything there isn't a problem. Isn't that the argument used about not voting?

and you think they're going to listen to your opinion, do u?

and are you going to do anything or just accept dangerous driving?

Well said

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K Stand Ken [59 posts] 3 years ago
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I emailed my MP last week at the invitation of the "Times" Cities fit for Cycling campaign. I specifically mentioned that the judiciary was badly letting down the families of cyclists killed by drivers by handing down laughably light sentences.
I quoted to him that in my area, car owners who do not provide the name of a driver when required to do so by the police regularly receive fines of £600. I also cited two typical recent cases of killers of cyclists who were not jailed but received a slap on the wrist.
I also pointed out that he was part of the community with the wherewithal to change laws.
I did received a reply the same day which seemed as if it had already been composed in anticipation of the emails he would receive via the campaign. I'm perfectly sure he did not even read my message as it was full of platitudes and did not mention any of the specific points I made.

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Jonathing [72 posts] 3 years ago
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"After the deaths of Ms Dorling and Ms Tereschenko it emerged that in the planning of Cycle Superhighway 2, Transport for London had ignored recommendations from the civil engineering firm, Jacobs Consultancy to install traffic signals specifically for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as separate cycle tracks."

Could this be considered sufficient grounds for someone to sue TfL?

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daviddb [132 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm broadly in agreement but despite "the solution that 70% of the cyclists going East-West at this point already use - cycling straight over the flyover - by far the safest route" and I'd add QUICKEST route by far it can be tricky to the point of being unnervingly dangerous getting out of the inside lane to the middle lane to get onto the flyover. When traffic is dense it's easier but if it's free flowing and so at speed - say early in the morning - it can be a tad tricky to move over - sometimes one feels very vulnerable once committed to the manoevre.

Absolutely agree that a cycle lane - perhaps tidal - one side in the morning and the other in the evening is the way to go. But I fear it's a step too far too bold for tfl.

Yours ever

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Larryyosh [4 posts] 3 years ago
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i have been friends with dave cox for over 30 years,and reading what some of you people on here are saying is making my blood boil! dave was a professional and competent driver and to say he ran a red light and murdered the poor man is incredible! it was a tragic accident, read the police report and what was said by the victims widow before you spout anymore venom at a man whose life is finished as well! Try blaming the real villains the TFL and boris bloody johnson!

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meursault [29 posts] 3 years ago
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Larryyosh wrote:

i have been friends with dave cox for over 30 years,and reading what some of you people on here are saying is making my blood boil! dave was a professional and competent driver and to say he ran a red light and murdered the poor man is incredible! it was a tragic accident, read the police report and what was said by the victims widow before you spout anymore venom at a man whose life is finished as well! Try blaming the real villains the TFL and boris bloody johnson!

Not stopping at a red and talking on his mobile, does not appear proffessional and competent to me.

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mrmo [2073 posts] 3 years ago
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@larrylosh, he has been convicted of death by careless driving, think about it. His actions killed someone. He is alive, he can go home, as for the man he killed? To be honest i don't care if he is haunted by his actions.

You choose to take a driving licence, you accept the rules that accompany it. Far too many drivers forget there is no right to drive, how many drivers think nothing of speeding, of jumping lights, of overtaking on double white lines, squeezing past cyclists. 99% of the time they get away with it no damage done.

However to say no damage is done is actually wrong, every driver, by cutting corners making the roads more intimidating than they need to be. They dissuade people from cycling and walking, more people end up driving, the roads get less safe. How many parents let there kids walk or cycle to school anymore? We are all loosing to the car!

Problem is death at the hands of motorists carries no penalty, have a read of the number of people killed each year by drivers, have a read of the penalties.

Until drivers understand there responsibilities to those around them, and are properly punished when they get it wrong, this will keep on happening. What does it say when you can kill someone and in a couple of years be back on the road driving?

Remember the sentence serves two purposes, punishment and deterrent. Currently sentences do neither!

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Brians Wife [3 posts] 3 years ago
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I would like to point out a couple of anomalies about this string of communication. The photograph of the roundabout is not where Brian died it is where Ms Treschenko died, also Ms Dorling did not die; my 2 daughters and I are very much still alive. Mr Dorling died. I am appalled by the vitriolic tone to many of these comments I cannot believe that so many opinionated people who are not aware of the facts can be quite so nasty. We met Mr Cox yesterday, my 16 year old daughter told him she didn't hate him because he didn't mean to kill her dad, my son made his peace and I do not hate. We are human we have the ability to rise above and see the bigger picture, well some of us do. My family and I have been through hell and back; Mr Cox is living a constant hell and I would like to hold out my hand and ask him to help RoadPeace along with me promote the "See me Save Me" campaign.............Mr Cox? (I don't know where the "talking on his mobile" came from; because there was no evidence of that in court. Regards Debbie Dorling.

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Larryyosh [4 posts] 3 years ago
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Thank you mrs dorling and family for your kindness towards dave, after speaking to him on monday, i spoke to him after and i am very worried that some of these comments on here could do more damage than good. Hopefully people will read your post and think before they type?

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Larryyosh [4 posts] 3 years ago
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Think you are confusing this case with the later one that week? @Meursault

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RPK [85 posts] 3 years ago
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“You can see he’s remorseful and see that he’s haunted. He is a broken man, said Debbie Dorling.

In my opinion, this is preferable to slapping someone in prison who isn't remorseful.

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meursault [29 posts] 3 years ago
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Larryyosh wrote:

Think you are confusing this case with the later one that week? @Meursault

Apologies, may have got confused with both cases. Point still stands though, about the red light, but I accept I wasn't in court and didn't hear the evidence.

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