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Prosecutors admit ‘he’s no killer’ but could still do 30 days

A pavement cyclist in Norway faces time in jail for negligent homicide after he knocked another rider off the pavement to her death, in a first for the country.

The 35 year old defendent was riding on the pavement to avoid the busy Kirkeveien road in Oslo, but admitted that he was riding too fast and swerving around pedestrians.

Eventually he collided with a 46 year old female rider, who was pushed into the road, run over by a bus and killed.

According to the charges, the accused was cycling “without due care and attention and did not suit his speed to the conditions”.

This resulted in him “not noticing the victim cycling on the pavement in time,” it was written in the court papers.

The bus driver said he was unable to stop in time to avoid killing the woman.

Prosecutors are pushing for a 30 day sentence, despite admitting that the man, who works as a nurse ‘is no killer’.

The maximum sentence for the crime is six years.

His defence lawyer, Thomas Randby, said that the rider admitted breaking two road laws but deeply regretted his actions. It is the first homicide case of its kind to be brought in Norway.

A sentence will be decided in the coming weeks.

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.

12 comments

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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sounds like a terrible unfortunate accident - it could just as easily have been himself who ended up under the bus

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racyrich [273 posts] 3 years ago
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Seems incredibly lenient to me, though I know that is the Norwegian way.
If a motorist drove like a cock and killed someone we'd be calling for blood. And certainly wouldn't be saying he could just as easily have killed himself.
People need to be responsible for their actions. It's a 35 year old, not a child.

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jacknorell [974 posts] 3 years ago
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Too lenient in my opinion.

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turnerc99 [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Only 30 days?!? That seems a V E R Y cheap price for a life...whether intentional or not.

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velophilia [39 posts] 3 years ago
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turnerc99 wrote:

Only 30 days?!? That seems a V E R Y cheap price for a life...whether intentional or not.

Oh! That's the hallmark of a civilised society.

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A V Lowe [595 posts] 3 years ago
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Agree that the jail tariff is too lenient but the life tariff to carry is absolute.

It emphasises that a figure emerging from reviews on footway cycling is that the greatest risk is that of colliding with another cyclist riding on the footway, and crashing on a footway is 4-8 times more likely than crashing on a carriageway.

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Ultraman [8 posts] 3 years ago
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On the face of it the 30 day sentence seems lenient, however there are a number of factors to consider:

  • The Norwegian justice system is different to England and Wales. Whilst we may see a 30 day sentence as lenient it may be viewed very differently by Norwegians.
  • He has pleaded guilty and expressed remorse for his actions, which is typically not seen in other cases where a common defense is 'didn't see you, not my fault'.
  • He was cycling on the pavement to avoid a busy, potentially unsafe, road. A lack of cycling infrastructure could be a mitigating factor.
  • Although he is responsible for his actions, the consequences of his actions are tragically unfortunate.
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giff77 [1258 posts] 3 years ago
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Also the whole justice system in Norway seems to lean heavily on restorative justice. The result of this is that the reoffending rate is very low. They use prison for rehabilitation rather than punishment. Meanwhile our phsyc here in the UK is to lock them up and throw away the key. Somehow I don't think this fellah will cycle on the pavement and if he does it will be at a snails pace.

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HKCambridge [223 posts] 3 years ago
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racyrich wrote:

Seems incredibly lenient to me, though I know that is the Norwegian way.
If a motorist drove like a cock and killed someone we'd be calling for blood. And certainly wouldn't be saying he could just as easily have killed himself.
People need to be responsible for their actions. It's a 35 year old, not a child.

I do think sentences for killing people on the roads are too lenient in the UK, but to be fair I don't think jail time is the answer. I'd rather see longer bans, requirement to re-test, and for exceptional hardship to be removed as an excuse to avoid a ban. Jail should be reserved for failure to abide by the terms of a ban.

Not only do I think this fits the crime much better - you endanger others with your car, we remove your ability to endanger, it might also suit the motoring public better. I think part of the problem is that ordinary drivers think jail is a harsh punishment for non-deliberate inattention. They don't think they are criminals. 'There but for the Grace of God' is, I think, currently too much of a factor in jury and judge decisions.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 3 years ago
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30 days just sounds pointless. Either stand behind your claim of fault and therefore administer a real sentence or claim it was simply an accident and leave the rider open to civil litigation

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vbvb [620 posts] 3 years ago
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Lot of knee-jerks hereabouts. We're hot and bothered in the UK about people sharing the pavement where necessary. "Get back into the path of the lorries and buses, pedal cyclists!" "Pavement cyclist", indeed. People more knowledgeable than us, in a society that seems pretty well-balanced (Norway), reckon 30 days is about right. The instant expert ramblings of us foreigners are as irrelevant as our weird obsessions with pavement sharing and helmet guilt and rlj and whatever else. Apologies but I'm just back from a nicer (foreign) city environment where they encourage cycling and no-one thinks about cycling in these accusatory terms.

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chain_link [10 posts] 3 years ago
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There is a great deal of information left out of this article...

The cyclist was charged with manslaughter. What the court found is that he was guilty of negligence, and violation of the highway code, not manslaughter. He was sentenced with 60 days (30 to be served), probation, and 120000 NOK (about £12500) damages, to be paid to the victim's family.

Stick this in google translate (other translators are available)
http://www.dagbladet.no/2013/09/18/nyheter/sykkelulykke/innenriks/trafik...

p.s. Pavement cycling is legal in Norway.