Home
Cyclist initially charged with involuntary GBH may face more serious charge

According to a the grandson of the bus passenger injured on Saturday when a cyclist allegedly swerved into the path of the bus on which he was travelling, he has died of his injuries.

Chris Gurton contacted road.cc via Twitter to tell us that his grandfather had never regained consciousness after the incident.

Mr Gurton this afternoon posted on his blog:

After a week in intensive care and with no brain activity being shown on scans, and advice and consultation with the Neurologist, the decision was made today to turn off my Grandfather’s life support machine and he sadly passed away at about 1pm this afternoon. Despite the hospital’s best efforts to save him, it was of the opinion of the Neurologist, that Grandad had technically died on the Saturday morning during the incident on the bus. This case will now be referred to the coroner and the police.

I’d like to thank everyone for all the kind messages during this difficult time.

Rest In Peace Grandad. You will be greatly missed.

The incident happened at 10.45 on Saturday morning on North Avenue Chelmsford, with the cyclist fleeing the scene on foot prior to officers arriving, leaving behind his bike, which had been damaged in the collision with the bus.

Officers from Essex Police’s Serious Collision Investigation unit subsequently traced the man concerned who was charged with dangerous cycling and involuntary grievous bodily harm. It is possible that will now be increased to a more serious charge such as involuntary manslaughter.

A police spokesman quoted by Anglia TV at the time of the first reports of the incident said, “The allegation is that the cyclist caused the bus driver to brake heavily and as a result the passenger was injured.”

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.

41 comments

Avatar
BBB [454 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

In the context of this accident how is driving into someone directly NOT a manslaughter?

Avatar
rich22222 [166 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

That ups the guy on a bikes charge to murder then surely? that's how rules of the road work right?
Shame for guy and his family, but clearly he was fragile.  2

Avatar
notfastenough [3722 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

RIP. deepest sympathies to the family.

Avatar
billyman [148 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

my heart goes out to the gentleman's family

Avatar
therealsmallboy [169 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

No way to die. Dearest sympathies.

Avatar
rich22222 [166 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I've still never witnessed one of these "idiots on bikes", who randomly ride in front of buses/cars.
Still haven't seen it on film either....

Avatar
JonD [464 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

As tragic as this may be, why on earth is 'involuntary manslaughter' never used in the caseof the numerous 'careless driving' cases that get reported, if it's applicable here ?

Avatar
SteppenHerring [336 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
rich22222 wrote:

I've still never witnessed one of these "idiots on bikes", who randomly ride in front of buses/cars.
Still haven't seen it on film either....

I saw one on Wednesday. Bloke on MTB, on phone, runs red light and passes (just) in front of tram. Not a young bloke either - although I wonder how he's lived so long.

Avatar
Gkam84 [9100 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Sad news indeed, thoughts go out to the family.

Although the cyclist seems to be the one at fault, did the bus have seat belts? They are required by law and you are required to wear them by law now...That will be the case for the cyclist, cut and shut case, gets off with leaving the scene of an ACCIDENT....

Avatar
mrmo [2093 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I am still a little concerned by what the cyclist did that caused the Bus to do an emergency stop? I see plenty of "chavs" on bikes all the time, jumping off pavements, riding straight out in front of traffic, etc.

They may be idiots, and i may think they should be locked up for dangerous cycling, and banned from ever getting a car licence (although for many would make no difference!)

Surely the bus driver is not innocent in that he failed to see the cyclist?

I guess all will become clear later.

Avatar
Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

There always has to be someone to blame and someone has to be fault.
It is how our legal system operates.
There can no longer be an unfortunate set of circumstances where fallible and fragile human beings find themselves in a situation that is out of their control.
Somebody must always pay.

Avatar
racyrich [287 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Dreadful. RIP

But unfortunately until the dicks of the world are taught the lesson that 'I was only having a larf' is no excuse, collateral damage will continue. I hope he is made an example of. I also hope such an example is made of dickhead drivers too.

Avatar
timrichardson82 [13 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Was this person an actual cyclist or was it just some idiot riding a bike! To me there is a big difference between the two, unfortunately we all seem to get branded as the same. When i am at the traffic lights i cant believe how many chavs on mountain bikes i see ignoring red lights. But they are still classed as a cyclist. It makes us all look bad. Condolences to the family of the gentleman.

Avatar
aSolihullCyclist [6 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
JonD wrote:

As tragic as this may be, why on earth is 'involuntary manslaughter' never used in the case of the numerous 'careless driving' cases that get reported, if it's applicable here ?

I agree, the justice system does seem more than a little skewed. Going with the sentences that are usuaually passed out: a car colliding with another person would be either a 'careless' or a 'dangerous' driving offence, no mention of grievous bodily harm (involuntary or with intent). Under these sort of sentencing guidelines, the bike user should be done for careless/dangerous cycling.

If you're looking for a case that should have a GBH or assault tag stuck on it: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/aug/08/nottingham-...

Avatar
koko56 [330 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
aSolihullCyclist wrote:
JonD wrote:

As tragic as this may be, why on earth is 'involuntary manslaughter' never used in the case of the numerous 'careless driving' cases that get reported, if it's applicable here ?

I agree, the justice system does seem more than a little skewed. Going with the sentences that are usuaually passed out: a car colliding with another person would be either a 'careless' or a 'dangerous' driving offence, no mention of grievous bodily harm (involuntary or with intent). Under these sort of sentencing guidelines, the bike user should be done for careless/dangerous cycling.

If you're looking for a case that should have a GBH or assault tag stuck on it: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/aug/08/nottingham-...

Exactly right - as tragic as this case is for people close to the man, had he been on a bike heading into a traffic island and a car overtook him going into it resulting in similar outcome I hold little hope of anything remotely similar for the car driver - even though it seems exactly the same to me just from different positions. Zero doubt about a helmet comment in court, whereas nothing is said (assuming) about a seatbelt or standing in a moving vehicle when at such an age.

You can go back and forth with the above, yes real world and ideals vary but essentially the outlook on cycling incidents is far from just.

Avatar
crazy-legs [870 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

There's something that unnerves me about the whole case.

While I sympathise with the family of the man who has sadly passed away, I can't help but wonder what the charges would be if a different set of circumstances had caused the same emergency stop?

Suppose a child ran out into the road:
Parent charged with not holding onto a 3-year old properly?
Youth charged with not having proper control of a football and allowing it to roll into the road then running after it?

Or even a situation like a stray dog where no owner could be traced?

Whether it's a "proper cyclist" or a "chav on a bike" it just seems that they're being made a bit of a scapegoat here and also that the charges are far more severe than any driver would face having actually run someone down.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1429 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The crucial thing here is that the police state that they have evidence. We should also note that the more serious charge has not yet been brought.

If the evidence supports this charge, fine. He can be tried by a jury who will be properly directed.

And, if convicted, I look forward to every road and pavement user being similarly charged when there is evidence to do so.

Avatar
IanW1968 [318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Sympathy to the the family of the gentleman who has passed away.

This does seem like a strange story with a rather tenuous link between cyclist and outcome in comparison to the rather clearer cut incidents happening elsewhere.

In other news a driver doing 60 mph eating a sandwich hits a cyclist who has lights on his bike( but the court feels the need to report he didn't have reflectors on his pedals) kills him and its considered just a moment of carelessness, an accident that happens and victim must accept some blame.

We're here even if this person on a bike being an idiot just like the driver above, the secondary or the third action in the sequence of events he caused results in calls for manslaughter charges.

Seems strange but not surprising

RIp the old boy. .

Avatar
spen [152 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It's easy for a regular reader of these pages to feel a sense of injustice at the report that a charge of involuntary manslaughter may be brought. No doubt every one of us has the thought that if a car driver makes a maneuver that results in the death of a cyclist the charge would be careless driving at worst. However it's been pointed out several times that we don't know what happened or why the bus driver had to make an emergency stop. Until these facts come to light, presumably through a trial, it would be better if we, as a cycling "community", refrained from indulging in knee jerk defence of cyclists and acting as if this charge were a charge against every one of us.

The courts will decide if there is guilt and in the meantime our sympathies and thoughts should go to the family of the deceased

Avatar
james-o [235 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Was this person an actual cyclist or was it just some idiot riding a bike! To me there is a big difference between the two,

There is no difference. Wear as much dayglo and lycra as you like or jeans and a T and no lid. No difference. People on bikes are cyclists like people in cars are drivers. In many UK cities you may be treated better on a bike wearing civvies (ime) - the Copenhagen effect.

The rider won't be charged with murder as suggested as there's no intent to kill, but the bus video must show him doing something stupid for them to charge him as they have done.
Spen, well said.

Avatar
IanW1968 [318 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Spen- your right conjectures not good but leaving it to the courts presumes they, the cps and police will act fairly and there's repeated evidence that doesn't happen.

Avatar
a.jumper [849 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Here's the sandwich murderer mentioned above http://road.cc/content/news/90037-driver-who-killed-oxford-cyclist-found...

Condolences to the bereaved. Disappointed that the bus company still hasn't been charged for its dangerous vehicle that kills on emergency stops.

Avatar
Higgott [2 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

They are called seat belts, the bus company is libel for passenger safety, not the bike rider even if he is an idiot.

Yes penalize him for his stupidity breaking the road rules and toss the book at him. Its not manslaughter.

Emergency stops should not kill passengers no matter the cause. Make the bus safe and it wont happen.

People stop shifting blame it wont bring the poor man back, a simple seat belt and he would be here today.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6301 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

In terms of seriousness of offence involuntary manslaughter isn't wildly different to death by dangerous driving. Maximum sentence is life but that's rarely enforced and certainly wouldn't be in this case. Max for dangerous driving is 14 years though to my knowledge it's never been used. Whatever happens it'll likely not buck the trend of people on bikes being sentenced more harshly than people in cars for doing what amounts to the same thing. My thoughts are with Chris and his family.

Avatar
londonplayer [621 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
rich22222 wrote:

That ups the guy on a bikes charge to murder then surely? that's how rules of the road work right?
Shame for guy and his family, but clearly he was fragile.  2

Nope. There was no intention to kill therefore it would be impossible to charge him with murder. Difficult to envisage that the manslaughter charge will stick either.

Avatar
doc [167 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Seat belts can be fitted to longer distance coaches, but they are not fitted (or required) on the "No 17" local stopping bus. It may be that the old gentleman was standing at the time, and that is allowed on buses too. Plenty of uninformed and plain wrong statements here, why not just wait and see what evidence is presented?

Avatar
northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
londonplayer wrote:
rich22222 wrote:

That ups the guy on a bikes charge to murder then surely? that's how rules of the road work right?
Shame for guy and his family, but clearly he was fragile.  2

Nope. There was no intention to kill therefore it would be impossible to charge him with murder. Difficult to envisage that the manslaughter charge will stick either.

This, plsu there are so many other variables, like speed of the bus etc, why was the man standing? (assuming he was), not enough seats provided etc.

I'd like to see charges like this bought against drivers who deliberately use their vehicles as weapons everyday but more chance of seeing a pig fly.

Avatar
antigee [394 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

very sad news - hope i'm out and about on a bus when i'm 90 - think that such an unexpected death is very hard to deal with and my sympathy to the family

as a car driver I've had people on bikes drop into the road in front of me and in a car that can be hard to deal with it and you've got more room for moving, though some locations you learn to expect it and try to look out for it.
Anecdotal = A couple of years ago a neighbours mother (he's retired so not sure but aged) experienced a fall on a bus and cut head open - taken to hospital by ambulance and discharged self and then got lost trying to find right bus home!
A teenager forcing a bus to emergency stop shouldn't ruin two lives - you can only design so much into a vehicle but bus passengers need to be able to walk away from an emergency stop

Avatar
antigee [394 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

"why was the man standing? (assuming he was), not enough seats provided etc."

may have been earlier version of this story but his son responded on this point that despite his similar concerns his dad had actually been seated near the front of the bus but was sadly thrown forward when the bus braked

think their are issues here with the design of the seating

Avatar
northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Ah ok, thanks.

It could have been one of the metal poles that contributed to his sad death, seats like you say.

Considering some drivers don't even go to jail for killing a rider, let alone charged with inv manslaughter / murder i think inv manslaughter is way over the top.

Pages