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“I can’t help it if a cyclist falls over as I’m approaching them"...

A pharmaceutical industry consultant has been cleared of causing death by careless driving after she hit a cyclist while overtaking on a bend.

Dr Helen Measures, 51, was overtaking two other cyclists and on the wrong side of the road when she hit Denisa Perinova, 21 on the A415 near Henley-on-Thames on July 15 last year.

The court heard that Ms Perinova was riding with her boyfriend, Ben Pontin, and lost control of her bike when she saw Dr Measures’ Mini heading toward them.

Dr Measures’ car hit Ms Perinova at up to 50mph, flinging her 15 yards into the entrance of a nearby field.

Mr Pontin said he saw Dr Measures make a “stupid manoeuvre” on a curve in the road, leaving him just a “tiny gap”. He felt his girlfriend’s wheels touch his bike and when he looked round she had been hurled into the entrance of a field.

“I just couldn’t believe the person driving had overtaken at that point,” he said.

Ms Perinova’s helmet was smashed. She was taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and later transferred to a specialist neurological unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. She died a week later from her injuries.

It was her first ride on a bike that Mr Pontin had recently bought her.

"I would expect cyclists to remain upright"

During the trial Dr Measures claimed that Ms Perinova had fallen into her path. Sandra Beck, prosecuting asked her, “You are relying on other road users avoiding you when you are on their side of the road?”

“I can’t help it if a cyclist, with all due respect, falls over as I’m approaching them and comes into my line of travel,” Dr Measures said. “I would expect cyclists to generally remain upright as the first cyclist did.

“You do not make a manoeuvre if you don’t think it is safe to do so. Had everyone stayed upright, there would not have been an issue,” she said.

Dr Measures admitted she had not seen the oncoming riders as she decided there was “sufficient room” to slow down and pass.

She said she was “surprised” to see Mr Pontin and Ms Perinova coming toward her as came round the bend at 40 to 50mph, but felt they had room to get past.

“I had to make a decision of what to do. I felt the safest decision was to continue straight ahead because they were in single file. If I had been concerned, I would have stopped suddenly.”

The jury deliberated for three hours before returning a ‘not guilty’ verdict.

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.

103 comments

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jova54 [644 posts] 2 years ago
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I DESPAIR!!!!!!

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Bez [584 posts] 2 years ago
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simeond [20 posts] 2 years ago
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Disgraceful verdict.

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tradescant [16 posts] 2 years ago
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I wonder how many jury members were cyclists

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andybnk [97 posts] 2 years ago
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That is SHOCKING, the justice system in this country is proving itself to be utterly ridiculous!

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Grizzerly [252 posts] 2 years ago
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I can't help it if someone stands in the way when I fire my gun!

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lookmanohands [119 posts] 2 years ago
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 14 ffs whats going on

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Dizzy [68 posts] 2 years ago
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The law really is a bloody ass!

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therevokid [911 posts] 2 years ago
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so now it's ok to overtake on a bend where you
can't see on coming traffic or road conditions ...
Highway code 162 and 163 would seem to disagree !!!!!

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kobacom [97 posts] 2 years ago
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This maybe a bit off topic, but i've always wondered, whats the relationship between the highway code and the law.

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kev f [12 posts] 2 years ago
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speechless

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graphite [63 posts] 2 years ago
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Honestly, I think you'd get more for having a couple of bald tyres than killing a cyclist these days. Unbelievable.

I've read bit more on this case and it seems to be yet another case of a driver making a poor driving decision which has resulted in a fatality. Dr Measures seems to be a perfectly good law abiding citizen, however this seems to highlight the urgent need for proper, relevant training for drivers (new and existing license holders). Like how to drive with other more vulnerable road users around, and the responsibility you have when you get behind the wheel. Car drivers need to see the plain stats on road deaths and injuries and be made very aware of the potential consequences of their actions.

As a nation are we really ok with the road fatalities/injuries - because the lack of meaningful action (from citizens and government) would suggest an implicit yes.

"I thought it would be ok" might be fine in many situations in life, but when you're in car you have the potential to injure or kill other human beings if your judgement is out, therefore you need to err on the side of caution, not on the side of "I'm in my car, I have the right to continue my journey unimpeded by all other road users".

Rant. Over.

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Sim1 [57 posts] 2 years ago
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Always the same problem. The jurors put themselves in the drivers shoes instead of the cyclist's, think 'that could be me' - and give the driver the benefit of the doubt.

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graphite [63 posts] 2 years ago
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... and show some patience. Do you really *need* to overtake on a bend. No. So why are you doing it?

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dp24 [201 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

“You do not make a manoeuvre if you don’t think it is safe to do so"

And the jury actually took that on board as a defence?

FFS

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 2 years ago
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What the hell does a driver have to do in order to be found guilty of manslaughter? If he had killed another car driver I am 100% certain he would have been found guilty.  14 14 14 14 14 14 14

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graphite [63 posts] 2 years ago
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Sim1 wrote:

Always the same problem. The jurors put themselves in the drivers shoes instead of the cyclist's, think 'that could be me' - and give the driver the benefit of the doubt.

Completely agree. And frankly that is a very, very depressing state of affairs.

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gthornton101 [107 posts] 2 years ago
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seriously!?!  14

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Angelfishsolo [132 posts] 2 years ago
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Does anyone know if there is a way to appeal this verdict?

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qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
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The Telegraph article has this;

Quote:

She was flung 15 yards from the bike and, despite wearing a helmet, died in hospital from severe head injuries a week later, a jury was told.

Does the author really think a helmet designed to withstand a 12mph drop onto concrete is able to protect you in a 50mph impact with a vehicle?

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zanf [759 posts] 2 years ago
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Angelfishsolo wrote:

Does anyone know if there is a way to appeal this verdict?

More information here: https://www.gov.uk/appeal-against-sentence-conviction/crown-court-verdict

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zanf [759 posts] 2 years ago
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kobacom wrote:

This maybe a bit off topic, but i've always wondered, whats the relationship between the highway code and the law.

The Highway Code is a series of guidelines for road usage, of which some are the layman description for various sections of laws such as the Road Traffic Act.

You can usually tell which HWC rules are backed by legislation as the various sections will be included after.

You can see here that Rule 163 "Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.", only has guidelines on safely overtaking, whereas Rule 165:"You MUST NOT overtake...", is followed by some codes (Laws RTA 1988 sect 36, TSRGD regs 10, 22, 23 & 24, ZPPPCRGD reg 24).

These will refer the relevant sections of the Road Traffic Act, The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997.

So, if it doesnt have bold abbreviated codes after, its a guideline, not legislation.

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factor41 [20 posts] 2 years ago
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Shocking. Couldn't be bothered to wait a few seconds until she was round the corner and had a clear view of what was ahead. Let's just hope that next time she overtakes on a blind bend, it's a ruddy great bulldozer that she gets "surprised" by.

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Actium [38 posts] 2 years ago
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Goes to show that public opinion needs to change. Just like attitudes to drink driving, the public has to realise that overtaking on blind bends and the brow of a hill is dangerous and wrong. They also need to understand that cyclists are traffic and need to be overtaken with care and a reduced speed.

How this change in attitude happens I'm not sure.
As cycling grows in popularity it will happen naturally to a certain extent, but perhaps there is a need for a public information campaign.

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SevenHills [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Is there any way of finding out who she consults for and making them aware that they are employing somebody who is completely moronic and does not give a shit about anyone but herself?
Or would that be construed as harassment and liable to attract a jail sentence?

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qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
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factor41 wrote:

Shocking. Couldn't be bothered to wait a few seconds until she was round the corner and had a clear view of what was ahead. Let's just hope that next time she overtakes on a blind bend, it's a ruddy great bulldozer that she gets "surprised" by.

Drivers generally tend to choose the softest thing to hit. So if a bulldozer looms round the corner the expected behaviour is to swerve left and hit the cyclist they were overtaking. Luckily in the few times this has happened to my (not with an actual bulldozer though) I've anticipated it and avoided being hit by braking hard.

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madhouse [52 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't get it, if she couldn't see the cyclists she sure as hell wouldn't have seen an oncoming car. I would like to think the blame for the resulting collision would land on her shoulders, although I guess it would've been the other cars fault for being on the road.

Do the law-makers not see verdicts like this and despair at how ridiculous they are?

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joemmo [1145 posts] 2 years ago
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-

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joebee9870 [69 posts] 2 years ago
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A Doctor with an expensive lawyer, paid for by her employer.Was this case going go any other way??

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fancynancy [78 posts] 2 years ago
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If she fell off the bike in front of her how was she hurled into the air so far?

Also as Dr Stupid ventured onto their side of the road surely that puts her at fault? You should not overtake unless clear & safe to do so. This was not a clear & safe time as she couldn't see round the bend.

It would be interesting to hear what the other cyclists witnessed & have to say about what happened? This doesn't seem quite right... something is missing. From the quotes she doesn't seem to show any remorse at all. Its horrific to read.

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