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In the wake of the Charlie Alliston case there's only one sensible thing to do — but you're not going to like it

In the aftermath of the Alliston case, what should you do if you are a cyclist involved in a crash with a pedestrian?

I have one word of advice for you: Leave.

That’s right. Leave the scene. Get out of Dodge. Get away from the situation as fast as you can. Say nothing to anyone. Give nobody your details. Don’t hang around long enough for anyone to get their phone out. Split. Bugger off. Go home the long way — down as many alleys and across as many parks as possible to avoid CCTV.

Say nothing about the crash to anyone. Don’t discuss it in forums. Don’t tweet or post on Facebook about it. Don’t search on Google for news of the crash or its aftermath. Don’t get your bike repaired. Carry on with your life as if nothing happened.

“But, John,” I can hear you say, “that’s awful advice. Ethically you should stop and help, and isn’t leaving the scene an offence?”

Road Traffic Act: leaving the scene

Last point first: no, it isn’t. Section 170 of the Road Traffic Act makes it an offence for the driver of a motor vehicle to leave the scene of a crash, but it specifically only applies to drivers of “mechanically propelled vehicles” as it quaintly calls them. (That means an engine or motor; your bike’s chain and gears don’t count as the propulsion comes from your legs.)

Section 168 makes it an offence to refuse to give your name and address to “any person having reasonable ground” to require it. But they have to ask for it first. Leave before anyone can ask your name, and you’re in the clear. Martin Porter QC, who drew my attention to this part of the Road Traffic Act, added: “I have never yet been supplied with name and address by [a] motorist I have reasonably suspected of careless driving. Asked a few times.”

Ethically, yes, all of this is dreadful. But the Alliston case has put cyclists in the position where we cannot be sure of being dealt with justly. In fact, we can be sure that we will not be treated justly.

There is no way that Charlie Alliston was guilty of manslaughter, and he was rightly acquitted.

But there is also no way he was riding furiously and wantonly. He was riding at 18mph. Traffic and parked vehicles around him left him with nowhere to go and when he yelled to warn Kim Briggs she stepped back into his path. If that’s furious and wanton riding, I’m a banana.

The brakeless fixie issue

You could argue that Alliston would not have ended up in court in the first place if he hadn’t been riding a bike that wasn’t street legal. Would the Met and the CPS have gone after him if he’d been riding a fixie with a front brake? I believe they would.

The tide is turning against cycling in London. The nonsensical claims that a few short stretches of protected cycleway have caused huge increases in congestion and pollution have stuck. Mayor Sadiq Khan has cancelled or postponed shovel-ready cycling schemes and TfL has mysteriously forgotten how to design new ones if its hopeless, inept Nine Elms and Fiveways schemes are anything to go by. I expect that before the end of Khan’s first term, TfL will announce that Cycle Superhighway 3, the world-class protected cycle lane along the Embankment is to be ripped up.

Meanwhile cycling and walking commissioner Will Norman doesn’t realise that his job is to enable active travel, not to run spin for Sadiq Khan’s preference for roads and buses. Khan is running a PR mayoralty, all talk and no delivery, and calling on others to fix problems like air pollution that are well within his power. But to do so would put him into conflict with the influential bus, taxi and haulage lobbies.

With public opinion increasingly hostile to cycling, the Met and the CPS would have gone after Alliston anyway. After all, a mother of two was, tragically, dead. Something Had To Be Done, and prosecuting Alliston was Something. Alliston had dug a huge hole for himself by his forum and Evening Standard postings. He really was a dream defendant — if you’re a prosecutor.

Given the general ignorance about cycling, a fixie with a front brake could still be easily represented as the equivalent to a Formula One car, and equally inappropriate for the streets. Alliston’s lawyer failed to challenge the Met’s nonsensical braking distance tests in either premise or execution; it’s vanishingly unlikely he’d have been able to mount a defence against the charge of furious and wanton cycling even if Alliston had been riding a bike with brakes.

And I don’t believe the bike made any substantial difference. The instinctive reaction when a pedestrian steps into your path is to try and avoid hitting them. Yes, you’ll slow down too and Alliston did, but Kim Briggs stepped back into his path, they butted heads and she fell to the ground. Had he been going slower (as he would not have had time to stop, despite the Met’s staged video), she might still have fallen, she might still have hit her head on the ground. We just don’t know, and we cannot therefore know that Alliston’s inability to stop faster was the primary cause of Kim Briggs’s death.

The not guilty verdict shows that the jury did not think it was. If Alliston was guilty of an illegal act in not having a front brake, and that illegal act led to Kim Briggs’s death, then he was guilty of manslaughter. If he was not guilty, then his illegal act did not cause Kim Briggs’s death.

That also makes the conviction for wanton and furious driving unsafe too, unless the jury took the view that the injuries that Kim Briggs sustained as a result of Alliston riding into her did not cause her death. That would be a somewhat bizarre conclusion, but that’s juries for you. However, I’m not a lawyer and there may be some twist to the legal reasoning here that I’ve missed. Happy to be corrected in the comments or via Twitter.

The justice system is stacked against cyclists

More broadly, the Alliston case is only the latest example of the justice system failing a cyclist, but it’s unusual in that the rider was accused of perpetrating a fatal crash, instead of being its victim.

London’s police have largely been on the back foot when it comes to cycling since the debacle of Operation Safeway, in which the police targeted minor cycling infringements after several cyclists were killed in London in November, rather than going after the motor vehicle behaviour that kills cyclists. They were pilloried for it by cycling groups, and rightly so.

Presented with an unsympathetic defendant in a cocky, pierced teenager riding a hipster bike, the Met and the Crown Prosecution Service must have thought all their Christmases had come at once.

They therefore charged Alliston with offences that had to be heard in Crown Court, rather than any of the more appropriate lesser offences that would have been heard by magistrates, as Martin Porter QC has pointed out.

There’s a legal maxim that if you want to get off a charge, you go for a jury trial if you can. Juries are composed of people who can’t convince the court they’re too important to be excused jury duty. They tend to be sympathetic to mundane criminality, which is why there are so many breathtaking not guilty verdicts in cases of causing death by careless or dangerous driving.

Charlie Alliston, Daily Mail stereotype

Unfortunately for him, with his tattoos and piercings, Charlie Alliston was as close as it gets to the Daily Mail stereotype of an arrogant, reckless, young tearaway, scofflaw cyclist. There was no way he was going to get a sympathetic hearing from a jury of Londoners who are encouraged to hate cyclists by every story about cycling on the local news, in the London papers, in the national papers, on the BBC and on LBC.

And so it went. Anyone who rides bike knows Alliston’s account of the crash was entirely plausible. Between a parked lorry and moving cars he had nowhere to go. Kim Briggs stepped back into his path (presumably seeing the cars, but not registering Alliston) and he was unable to avoid her.

But by bringing the absurd charge of manslaughter, the CPS could be confident they’d get Alliston for something. I can imagine the jury room discussions. “All right, it’s not manslaughter, but the arrogant git’s guilty of something. What’s this wanton and furious thing? Up to two years bird? Yeah, that’ll do.”

Lynch mob

The resulting atmosphere is that of a lynch mob. I’ve seen posts hoping that Alliston gets anally raped if he goes to prison, and wanting to know his usual riding route so they can string wire in his path. Have you ever seen that for a killer driver?

I fear for the safety of the cyclist next time one of us is involved in a crash with a pedestrian who doesn’t immediately get up and walk away. By bringing this spurious prosecution, the CPS has failed in its duty to act in the public interest. It has made the roads more dangerous, not less.

Cyclists have long known that we will not get justice if we are victims of road violence. Now we can be sure we will not get justice if we are accused of being its perpetrators.

And that means our only recourse is to get away from a crash immediately.

Footnote: If you do choose to stay at the scene of a crash, and there’s even the slightest possibility you might be blamed (in other words, any crash at all in the current climate) say nothing to the police without a lawyer present. Don’t try and be helpful, don’t give a statement. Ask for a lawyer and shut up till he or she arrives.

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.

185 comments

Avatar
nbrus [585 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
beezus fufoon wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

...pander to the aggressive, inconsiderate cyclist stereotype that the tabloids constantly reference.

I have some confusion here with your perception of the situation...

Firstly, you seem quite dismissive of the tabloid's stereotyped view, and yet at the same time you seem to actually care about it as if you believe they can be influenced to change their minds instead of simply assigning them the status of persona non grata.

Then, in regard to this stereotype, it strikes me as a bit of a smokescreen - the truth of the situation is that very few cyclists leave the house with the intent to be aggressive and inconsiderate, and yet can easily become so in situations where they themselves are faced with aggression and lack of consideration from those far better protected, so it's a case of scratching someone's paintwork versus shattering someone's ankle...

What is really behind the enmity coming from car drivers seems to be a mixture of jealousy and issues with status - namely the idea that they have paid upwards of £20,000 plus insurance, tax, hidden "war on motorist" costs, sold on the idea of the freedom of the open road - set to dramatic or romantic music and improbable promises of security, fun, admiration, etc - only to find the reality is that they are stuck sitting in traffic breathing in the fumes of everyone else in cars just like theirs...

and then these plebs cycle past them without a care in the world - they didn't have to shell out all that money and don't have to sit in traffic, and to add insult to injury, they even get their own protected lane paid for by "the hard working taxpayer" which now means drivers can no longer intimidate them to wipe that smug grin from their grimy faces - no wonder they are frustrated, it's oh so unfair!

I don't know if you also drive as well as cycle ... I do, but I don't feel jealous of cyclists passing me when I'm in my car. Maybe that's just me? I do however know a few people that are too afraid to cycle because they don't feel safe in traffic. I'm also not sure what point I'm trying to make, so I'm off to bed now as I need the rest.

Avatar
nbrus [585 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
John Stevenson wrote:
nbrus wrote:

It is an offence to drive a vehicle that does not have a fully functional speedometer which shows both mph and kmph readings.  It is also an offence for certain classes of vehicles, such as HGV's not to have a speed limiter installed.

 

I find it's always best to consult the actual legislation.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986

Speedometers

35.—(1) Save as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), every motor vehicle shall be fitted with a speedometer which, if the vehicle is first used on or after 1st April 1984, shall be capable of indicating speed in both miles per hour and kilometres per hour, either simultaneously or, by the operation of a switch, separately.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to—

(g) a vehicle first used before 1st October 1937

I cant find any such exemption in the Road Traffic Act allowing such vehicles to exceed the speed limit so I conclude that having a speedometer is not a necessary condition for a speeding prosecution.

Great, I'll keep that in mind in case I need to quote it to a police officer.

Avatar
Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
beezus fufoon wrote:

I have some confusion here with your perception of the situation...

Firstly, you seem quite dismissive of the tabloid's stereotyped view, and yet at the same time you seem to actually care about it as if you believe they can be influenced to change their minds instead of simply assigning them the status of persona non grata.

Then, in regard to this stereotype, it strikes me as a bit of a smokescreen - the truth of the situation is that very few cyclists leave the house with the intent to be aggressive and inconsiderate, and yet can easily become so in situations where they themselves are faced with aggression and lack of consideration from those far better protected, so it's a case of scratching someone's paintwork versus shattering someone's ankle...

What is really behind the enmity coming from car drivers seems to be a mixture of jealousy and issues with status - namely the idea that they have paid upwards of £20,000 plus insurance, tax, hidden "war on motorist" costs, sold on the idea of the freedom of the open road - set to dramatic or romantic music and improbable promises of security, fun, admiration, etc - only to find the reality is that they are stuck sitting in traffic breathing in the fumes of everyone else in cars just like theirs...

and then these plebs cycle past them without a care in the world - they didn't have to shell out all that money and don't have to sit in traffic, and to add insult to injury, they even get their own protected lane paid for by "the hard working taxpayer" which now means drivers can no longer intimidate them to wipe that smug grin from their grimy faces - no wonder they are frustrated, it's oh so unfair!

The tabloids work in a fairly simple way, they stereotype whole groups of people and fit those stereotypes into their worldview.

When a story fits their stereotype they give it a huge amount of prominence.

An article like this completely fits in to the tabloid cyclist stereotype.

It will help to convince people that the tabloids are right and that further cycling legislation is needed.

Avatar
beezus fufoon [972 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

 The tabloids work in a fairly simple way, they stereotype whole groups of people and fit those stereotypes into their worldview.

When a story fits their stereotype they give it a huge amount of prominence.

An article like this completely fits in to the tabloid cyclist stereotype.

It will help to convince people that the tabloids are right and that further cycling legislation is needed.

right, my point is that you seem to focus on the stereotype rather than the worldview - that's why I'm trying to show the wider worldview that you speak of - it is built on nostalgia for the empire, celebrating the glorious war 100 years ago where their type would shoot you in the head for not sacrificing your life for king and country and all that sort of BS ideology that has no place in the 21st century...

you seem to think there can be some kind of reconcilliation there which will establish a consensus leading to a harmonious society, or at least to harmony on the roads - whereas I don't think that will ever happen

Avatar
Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
beezus fufoon wrote:

right, my point is that you seem to focus on the stereotype rather than the worldview - that's why I'm trying to show the wider worldview that you speak of - it is built on nostalgia for the empire, celebrating the glorious war 100 years ago where their type would shoot you in the head for not sacrificing your life for king and country and all that sort of BS ideology that has no place in the 21st century...

you seem to think there can be some kind of reconcilliation there which will establish a consensus leading to a harmonious society, or at least to harmony on the roads - whereas I don't think that will ever happen

The worldview does change, it just takes an inordinate amount of time and effort.

Calm reasoned arguments move us incrementally towards a positive change.

Articles like this reinforce the current tabloid worldview and make progress far more difficult.

If you're reinforcing the tabloids' worldview you are doing their dirty work for them.

Avatar
beezus fufoon [972 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Calm reasoned arguments move us incrementally towards a positive change.

I think what you're doing here is engaging with rationalisations - ideology is not based upon reason

the same goes for this court case and the basic "scientific method" used by the police and courts

it's hypothesis first, then evidence second - invariably ignoring the huge blind spot in any singular viewpoint, and as I said, this worldview is based upon status, hierarchy, and prejudice - if the brexit debates told us anything, it is the frightening degree of self-serving egocentric narcissism that defines the concerns of little britain.

Avatar
davel [2723 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
beezus fufoon wrote:

right, my point is that you seem to focus on the stereotype rather than the worldview - that's why I'm trying to show the wider worldview that you speak of - it is built on nostalgia for the empire, celebrating the glorious war 100 years ago where their type would shoot you in the head for not sacrificing your life for king and country and all that sort of BS ideology that has no place in the 21st century...

you seem to think there can be some kind of reconcilliation there which will establish a consensus leading to a harmonious society, or at least to harmony on the roads - whereas I don't think that will ever happen

The worldview does change, it just takes an inordinate amount of time and effort.

Calm reasoned arguments move us incrementally towards a positive change.

Articles like this reinforce the current tabloid worldview and make progress far more difficult.

If you're reinforcing the tabloids' worldview you are doing their dirty work for them.

I really disagree with this - it's basically an ideological difference, but I'm interpreting the 'evidence' differently.

We've had calm, reasoned arguments for years. We've had neighbour cities and countries demonstrating the benefits of taking cycling seriously for generations. We've got a 'leftie' mayor of London who had open goals with cycling infrastructure and didnt even take the shots. His commissioner is just a marketer. It's going backwards vs a mayor out of the Beano, FFS.

We need a stop de kindermord or a strict liability law to kick the balance the way we want it to go - it just isn't getting there by itself. But I don't see anything to get such a campaign moving, either.

The recent report that suggested 6 million people don't get 10 mins 'exercise' (brisk walking) each month shows how much of a minority we are. There are more serious couch potatoes than there are people who get on a bike once per month. The number of people who are semi-couch potatoes and don't give a shit about cyclists and infrastructure vs the number of people who cycle regularly and want to campaign... It isn't even a contest. 'We' are an outgroup, we are the weirdos... People want to be as lazy as possible and drive as conveniently as they can, and we get in their way. That is the predominant worldview.

And when it comes to lobbying, forget it. You think cycling groups can compete with cabbie and haulier lobbying, before we even get to car manufacturers?

It is a total mismatch. I see the discrepancy in charging Alliston and drivers, and a transport minister who doors a cyclist then tries to blame the cyclist, and a jogger pushing a ped being an excuse for people to wade in on cyclists, as reinforcing my bleak worldview, I'm afraid.

Avatar
Bikebikebike [387 posts] 2 years ago
5 likes
darrenleroy wrote:

18mph on a very busy road with pedestrians all around is too fast. If you cannot stop on a sixpence you are cycling too fast. Whenever I'm in a built up area I slow down to a pace where I know I can stop immediately if an unexpected situation requires it. 

Given a car has a longer stopping distance than a bike, what speed should they be going at?

Avatar
alansmurphy [2249 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes
nbrus wrote:
beezus fufoon wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

...pander to the aggressive, inconsiderate cyclist stereotype that the tabloids constantly reference.

I have some confusion here with your perception of the situation...

Firstly, you seem quite dismissive of the tabloid's stereotyped view, and yet at the same time you seem to actually care about it as if you believe they can be influenced to change their minds instead of simply assigning them the status of persona non grata.

Then, in regard to this stereotype, it strikes me as a bit of a smokescreen - the truth of the situation is that very few cyclists leave the house with the intent to be aggressive and inconsiderate, and yet can easily become so in situations where they themselves are faced with aggression and lack of consideration from those far better protected, so it's a case of scratching someone's paintwork versus shattering someone's ankle...

What is really behind the enmity coming from car drivers seems to be a mixture of jealousy and issues with status - namely the idea that they have paid upwards of £20,000 plus insurance, tax, hidden "war on motorist" costs, sold on the idea of the freedom of the open road - set to dramatic or romantic music and improbable promises of security, fun, admiration, etc - only to find the reality is that they are stuck sitting in traffic breathing in the fumes of everyone else in cars just like theirs...

and then these plebs cycle past them without a care in the world - they didn't have to shell out all that money and don't have to sit in traffic, and to add insult to injury, they even get their own protected lane paid for by "the hard working taxpayer" which now means drivers can no longer intimidate them to wipe that smug grin from their grimy faces - no wonder they are frustrated, it's oh so unfair!

I don't know if you also drive as well as cycle ... I do, but I don't feel jealous of cyclists passing me when I'm in my car. Maybe that's just me? I do however know a few people that are too afraid to cycle because they don't feel safe in traffic. I'm also not sure what point I'm trying to make, so I'm off to bed now as I need the rest.

You don't cycle, you just troll a cycling website like a c**(

Avatar
Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
beezus fufoon wrote:

I think what you're doing here is engaging with rationalisations - ideology is not based upon reason

the same goes for this court case and the basic "scientific method" used by the police and courts

it's hypothesis first, then evidence second - invariably ignoring the huge blind spot in any singular viewpoint, and as I said, this worldview is based upon status, hierarchy, and prejudice - if the brexit debates told us anything, it is the frightening degree of self-serving egocentric narcissism that defines the concerns of little britain.

You seem to be deliberately ignoring my main point.

Articles like this can only do harm. They cannot improve things for cyclists.

You may disagree about what will improve things but you can't honestly think that encouraging cyclists to hit and run will improve things?

Avatar
Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
davel wrote:

I really disagree with this - it's basically an ideological difference, but I'm interpreting the 'evidence' differently.

We've had calm, reasoned arguments for years. We've had neighbour cities and countries demonstrating the benefits of taking cycling seriously for generations. We've got a 'leftie' mayor of London who had open goals with cycling infrastructure and didnt even take the shots. His commissioner is just a marketer. It's going backwards vs a mayor out of the Beano, FFS.

We need a stop de kindermord or a strict liability law to kick the balance the way we want it to go - it just isn't getting there by itself. But I don't see anything to get such a campaign moving, either.

The recent report that suggested 6 million people don't get 10 mins 'exercise' (brisk walking) each month shows how much of a minority we are. There are more serious couch potatoes than there are people who get on a bike once per month. The number of people who are semi-couch potatoes and don't give a shit about cyclists and infrastructure vs the number of people who cycle regularly and want to campaign... It isn't even a contest. 'We' are an outgroup, we are the weirdos... People want to be as lazy as possible and drive as conveniently as they can, and we get in their way. That is the predominant worldview.

And when it comes to lobbying, forget it. You think cycling groups can compete with cabbie and haulier lobbying, before we even get to car manufacturers?

It is a total mismatch. I see the discrepancy in charging Alliston and drivers, and a transport minister who doors a cyclist then tries to blame the cyclist, and a jogger pushing a ped being an excuse for people to wade in on cyclists, as reinforcing my bleak worldview, I'm afraid.

You say we are an 'out group'* and therefore we don't have a chance of changing the current situation but that ignores the massive progress made by other 'out groups' in recent years.

Change can occur, it takes time but it can happen.

I would argue that it is already happening, the investment in cycling infrastructure in London is unparalleled in recent times.

Technology is also on our side, cameras give us evidence, driver aids reduce the risk posed by inattention, longer term self driving technology will eradicate the 'professional' driver and all their lobbying will be for nought.

Cycling is much, much safer than it used to be. We've still got a long way to go but there are now campaigns in place to eradicate deaths on the roads altogether.

We should be engaging with those campaigns and making our voices heard rather than posting stupid inflammatory articles which only serve to further alienate us and draw attention to the rather archaic legislation surrounding cycling.

*I don't actually agree with you on this

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [2699 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes
nbrus wrote:

I don't know if you also drive as well as cycle ... I do

Can't say that comes as a surprise.

Avatar
davel [2723 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Articles like this can only do harm. They cannot improve things for cyclists.

Articles espousing self-interest and exploiting the law can only do harm? In this case, this is conjecture, as we don't know... But I don't think history supports that argument.

Look at the civil rights struggles of the 20th century. Each of them had militant factions, pissed off with the status quo and lack of progress, and they wrote, said and did plenty worse than this that ran counter to public opinion at the time.

Some of those types ended up running countries, once those countries got their shit together a bit better.

Edit for your last post: yes, and for every outgroup that you can think of that made progress, I bet there was a faction that didn't always play nice. It's just impossible to say that articles like this always backfire.

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [2699 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

You say we are an 'out group'* and therefore we don't have a chance of changing the current situation but that ignores the massive progress made by other 'out groups' in recent years.

Change can occur, it takes time but it can happen.

I would argue that it is already happening, the investment in cycling infrastructure in London is unparalleled in recent times.

Technology is also on our side, cameras give us evidence, driver aids reduce the risk posed by inattention, longer term self driving technology will eradicate the 'professional' driver and all their lobbying will be for nought.

Cycling is much, much safer than it used to be. We've still got a long way to go but there are now campaigns in place to eradicate deaths on the roads altogether.

We should be engaging with those campaigns and making our voices heard rather than posting stupid inflammatory articles which only serve to further alienate us and draw attention to the rather archaic legislation surrounding cycling.

*I don't actually agree with you on this

I would have had some sympathy with your excessive optimism before the coming of Khan the Timeserver (who's the biggest political disappointment I can remember in my lifetime). Even then, one had only to look at the graph of modal share over the last few decades to see how feeble the change so far has been and how little has been achieved.

But now it seems increasingly clear that even the little improvement we've seen is just another false dawn.

As I said before, I don't like this article, but I also think to suggest its going to cause some terrible damage just means you completely underestimate what those wanting sensible transport policies are up against to begin with. It might have a miniscule negative impact, but it's an insignificant one compared to the bigger picture.

Avatar
Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
davel wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

Articles like this can only do harm. They cannot improve things for cyclists.

Articles espousing self-interest and exploiting the law can only do harm? In this case, this is conjecture, as we don't know... But I don't think history supports that argument.

Look at the civil rights struggles of the 20th century. Each of them had militant factions, pissed off with the status quo and lack of progress, and they wrote, said and did plenty worse than this that ran counter to public opinion at the time.

Some of those types ended up running countries, once those countries got their shit together a bit better.

Edit for your previous posts: yes, and for every outgroup that made progress, I bet there was a faction that didn't play nice. It's just impossible to say that articles like this always backfire.

Yes, this article can only do harm.

Imagine someone follows the advice within it.

There is an investigation and the person is identified anyway.

How do you think the media would react?

The political pressure for new legislation would be enormous.

This new legislation would then be written in the context of a vociferous anti cycling media frenzy.

That will not end well for cyclists.

Let's put aside the morals of refusing to help an injured human being.

How does encouraging hit and run help in a practical sense?

Avatar
FluffyKittenofT... [2699 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

Yes, this article can only do harm.

Imagine someone follows the advice within it.

There is an investigation and the person is identified anyway.

How do you think the media would react?

Well, clearly very, very differently to how they react to the commonplace hit-and-runs by motorists. They've been going on for a long time, and driving has yet to be banned.

But do you seriously believe it's possible to ensure that no cyclist ever behaves like this, just as long as such articles are never printed?

If you think a cyclist behaving like this is going to doom us all, then you have to acknowledge we are irrevocably doomed anyway, because with the vast range of people who use bikes its a racing certainty that someone is going to do it. Almost certainly someone who never even saw this article.

(Actually several already have, e.g. was there not a media-led nation-wide hunt for the cyclist who hit a kid on the pavement not long ago?).

The anti-cycling car-addicted media types are never going to be short of material for their vendettas.

Avatar
Sniffer [674 posts] 2 years ago
7 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
davel wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:

Articles like this can only do harm. They cannot improve things for cyclists.

Articles espousing self-interest and exploiting the law can only do harm? In this case, this is conjecture, as we don't know... But I don't think history supports that argument. Look at the civil rights struggles of the 20th century. Each of them had militant factions, pissed off with the status quo and lack of progress, and they wrote, said and did plenty worse than this that ran counter to public opinion at the time. Some of those types ended up running countries, once those countries got their shit together a bit better. Edit for your previous posts: yes, and for every outgroup that made progress, I bet there was a faction that didn't play nice. It's just impossible to say that articles like this always backfire.

Yes, this article can only do harm. Imagine someone follows the advice within it. There is an investigation and the person is identified anyway. How do you think the media would react? The political pressure for new legislation would be enormous. This new legislation would then be written in the context of a vociferous anti cycling media frenzy. That will not end well for cyclists. Let's put aside the morals of refusing to help an injured human being. How does encouraging hit and run help in a practical sense?

A bit OTT I think.

I liked the Blog. 

It challenged me on some of my assumptions, I like opinion writing like that.

Will I follow the advice in the unlikley event I injure a pedestrian. No.

In the unlikely event John ends injuring a pedestrian in a collision, do I think he will follow the advice in the Blog?  I doubt he will.

It is a more unusual perspective, different perspectives are a good thing and add to the debate.

Many of the comments on the Blog just replay the same coments from the other threads.  The Blog itself was well written and thought provoking which I value.

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Dr_Lex [502 posts] 2 years ago
5 likes

Good job the other Jonathan didn't have comments enabled on his original modest proposal.

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Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Well, clearly very, very differently to how they react to the commonplace hit-and-runs by motorists. They've been going on for a long time, and driving has yet to be banned.

But do you seriously believe it's possible to ensure that no cyclist ever behaves like this, just as long as such articles are never printed?

If you think a cyclist behaving like this is going to doom us all, then you have to acknowledge we are irrevocably doomed anyway, because with the vast range of people who use bikes its a racing certainty that someone is going to do it. Almost certainly someone who never even saw this article.

(Actually several already have, e.g. was there not a media-led nation-wide hunt for the cyclist who hit a kid on the pavement not long ago?).

The anti-cycling car-addicted media types are never going to be short of material for their vendettas.

Does this article make it more likely that cyclists will hit and run?

As it explicitly encourages its readers to do so I would argue that it does.

If more cyclists hit and run are we likely to see more or less negative press coverage?

If we have more negative coverage are we more or less likely to get anti cyclist legislation?

Given that cycling legislation is pretty piecemeal and often very archaic there is already a strong argument for new legislation.

The article makes a poor outcome for cyclists more likely and as far as I can see it serves no positive purpose, it can only do harm.

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alansmurphy [2249 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

 

Rich CB

"Articles like this can only do harm. They cannot improve things for cyclists".

 

I disagree entirely - if two cyclists follow the advice and are not subject to manslaughter charges and evidence being stitched up by the Plod then things have improved for cyclists.

 

"Technology is also on our side, cameras give us evidence, driver aids reduce the risk posed by inattention, longer term self driving technology will eradicate the 'professional' driver and all their lobbying will be for nought".

 

Technology may be on our side but again this doesn't overcome the entrenched bias as most forces make it difficult to submit the evidence and then deem it 'unfit' to use. As for driver aids in cars, many of them appear to be making people lazier and the main pieces of technology used to sell cars are media centres which will do the opposite of what you wish.

 

 

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jigr69 [26 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes

To put people straight on several items, it isn't illegal to ride a bike on the road without a front brake if the seat is below 635mm from the ground, or there is no secondary link between the propulsion and the wheel being propulsed. 

That means a childs bike is allowed on the road without a front brake, a recumbrent is allowed on the road with out a front brake (provided the seat was low enough) and a penny farthing is also allowed on the road (legs propel the front wheel).

So please stop saying that bikes on the road without a front brake is illegal, there are caveats.

As for the police dealing with drivers and cyclists differently in the terms of a crash:

A neighbour and friend was unfortunately killed by a HGV two years ago. The road was straight, visibility was exceptional, neither bike nor HGV was found to be defective. At the scene of the crash, another friend who was nearly killed by the HGV (he saw it at the last minute and avoided it), was placed into the back of a police car for fourty minutes, whilst the driver was allowed to walk around, be questioned, etc. I've not been in the back of a police car, but apparently, you are locked in.

So the guy who has just had a near death experience, watched his friend get crushed by a HGV, is left alone in the back of a police car for 40 minutes. No medics saw him, in fact they weren't made aware that another cyclists was involved, whilst the driver was seen to by medics etc. His words not mine, is that the police basically wanted him out of the way. His respect for the police evaporated after that fateful day.

The same police force have publically stated that Northamptonshire does not have a problem with close passes since their data supports such a stance. However, they don't actually collate any data on the subject! They also told me that close passes are a very small part of total collisions, until I pointed out that if there's a collision, it's an RTC/RTA not a close pass.

So yes, the police do actually treat cyclists and drivers completely different, in favour of the driver, even when the driver is clearly at fault.

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Bikebikebike [387 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:

Exactly. Cycling campaigns have decades of ineffectual politeness behind them. My favourite example is Sustrans' Safe Routes To School, which has been going in one form or another since the mid-90s with exactly no effect whatsoever on the number of kids riding to school.

If you're not angry you're not paying attention.

 

Articles like yours will never make things better, they can only make things worse. All you've done is pander to the aggressive, inconsiderate cyclist stereotype that the tabloids constantly reference. You've got a platform, you could use it to do some good, at the moment you're just doing the Daily Mail's work for them.

I think the article's main points are:

-cyclists don't get treated fairly in court

-you significantly increase your chance of getting to court by hanging around an accident

-you don't legally have to do so

Which are fair enough really.  

If it were me I'd probably try to find a middle ground e.g. riding round corner, lock up bike, come back pretending to be a concerned bystander (probably only works if you're in normal clothes rather than full cycling kit).

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fukawitribe [2867 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
nbrus wrote:

I don't know if you also drive as well as cycle ... I do

Can't say that comes as a surprise.

Aye. I think it was the lack of hyperbole and a pitchfork that gave away he'd experienced more than one mode of transport in his life..

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FluffyKittenofT... [2699 posts] 2 years ago
7 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Well, clearly very, very differently to how they react to the commonplace hit-and-runs by motorists. They've been going on for a long time, and driving has yet to be banned.

But do you seriously believe it's possible to ensure that no cyclist ever behaves like this, just as long as such articles are never printed?

If you think a cyclist behaving like this is going to doom us all, then you have to acknowledge we are irrevocably doomed anyway, because with the vast range of people who use bikes its a racing certainty that someone is going to do it. Almost certainly someone who never even saw this article.

(Actually several already have, e.g. was there not a media-led nation-wide hunt for the cyclist who hit a kid on the pavement not long ago?).

The anti-cycling car-addicted media types are never going to be short of material for their vendettas.

Does this article make it more likely that cyclists will hit and run?

As it explicitly encourages its readers to do so I would argue that it does.

I'd argue that it probably doesn't, not to any measurable degree, because its fairly obviously not meant literally, and it's quite unlikely that anyone who reads it is likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian, and even less likely that if they were their behaviour would be influenced by such an article.

In fact, I would guess there's a negative correlation between being the kind of cyclist who is likely to read this, and being the kind most likely to scarper after a collision. (I don't think there's much of an overlap between cycling-campaigner or sports-cyclists and drug couriers, for example).

I wouldn't want to see more such articles, not least because the space could be used for something more constructive, but I do think you are making a mountain out of an ant-hill.

Rich_cb wrote:

If more cyclists hit and run are we likely to see more or less negative press coverage?

If we have more negative coverage are we more or less likely to get anti cyclist legislation?

No, because press coverage couldn't really get any more negative. You just seem to be labouring under the delusion that such negative coverage is a consequence of cyclist behaviour. It seems to me that clearly isn't the case and that the nature of cyclist behaviour (as well as being constant and unaffected by mere words anyway - cf the lack of effect of all the 'get out on your bike' campaigns) has very little relationship to anti-cyclist coverage.

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FluffyKittenofT... [2699 posts] 2 years ago
3 likes

As a complete tangent, something that irks me about the whole business is that there will never be any payback for the thoughtlessness of the driving-addicted petrolheads. Either they will continue to dominate, to everyone's cost, or, if there is a radical change somehow, they will just benefit from a shift to cleaner, more-space-efficient, and healtheir modes of travel along with everyone else. They'll just lap up the benefits without ever acknowledging they spent so long trying to deny them to everyone.

It's quite annoying.

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Rich_cb [997 posts] 2 years ago
1 like
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

I'd argue that it probably doesn't, not to any measurable degree, because its fairly obviously not meant literally, and it's quite unlikely that anyone who reads it is likely to be involved in a collision with a pedestrian, and even less likely that if they were their behaviour would be influenced by such an article.

In fact, I would guess there's a negative correlation between being the kind of cyclist who is likely to read this, and being the kind most likely to scarper after a collision. (I don't think there's much of an overlap between cycling-campaigner or sports-cyclists and drug couriers, for example).

I wouldn't want to see more such articles, not least because the space could be used for something more constructive, but I do think you are making a mountain out of an ant-hill.

No, because press coverage couldn't really get any more negative. You just seem to be labouring under the delusion that such negative coverage is a consequence of cyclist behaviour. It seems to me that clearly isn't the case and that the nature of cyclist behaviour (as well as being constant and unaffected by mere words anyway - cf the lack of effect of all the 'get out on your bike' campaigns) has very little relationship to anti-cyclist coverage.

This article is more likely to be read by a cyclist than most so is more likely to be read by somebody who subsequently hits a pedestrian than most.

I think the article is irresponsible and the author could use his platform far more constructively.

If you look at the recent press coverage the negativity is directly related to the recent manslaughter trial.

So I would say that bad behaviour directly impacts on the press coverage.

A hit and run would definitely produce negative press coverage IMHO.

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hawkinspeter [3934 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

As a complete tangent, something that irks me about the whole business is that there will never be any payback for the thoughtlessness of the driving-addicted petrolheads. Either they will continue to dominate, to everyone's cost, or, if there is a radical change somehow, they will just benefit from a shift to cleaner, more-space-efficient, and healtheir modes of travel along with everyone else. They'll just lap up the benefits without ever acknowledging they spent so long trying to deny them to everyone. It's quite annoying.

John F. Kennedy:

Quote:

A rising tide lifts all boats

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nbrus [585 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Things will coninue to improve for cycling, but at a slow pace. The reason is not enough people on bikes to warrant spending more. As more people take to bikes, then more money will be spent on cycling infrastructure. It will be slow as it gathers momentum, but things will continue to improve. In the meantime all the technology that is making motoring safer (e.g. collision avoidance systems, driverless cars, etc.) will improve road safety for all of us. Below are the numbers of people cycling in the UK (2015) ... how much money will be invested in cycling infrastructure given these figures? How can we get these numbers up? ... More bike shares maybe?

http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics

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davel [2723 posts] 2 years ago
4 likes
nbrus wrote:

Things will coninue to improve for cycling, but at a slow pace. The reason is not enough people on bikes to warrant spending more. As more people take to bikes, then more money will be spent on cycling infrastructure. It will be slow as it gathers momentum, but things will continue to improve. In the meantime all the technology that is making motoring safer (e.g. collision avoidance systems, driverless cars, etc.) will improve road safety for all of us. Below are the numbers of people cycling in the UK (2015) ... how much money will be invested in cycling infrastructure given these figures? How can we get these numbers up? ... More bike shares maybe?

http://www.cyclinguk.org/resources/cycling-uk-cycling-statistics

And dwarfing those figures are the numbers that want to sit on their arses and do nothing. Same numbers-ish of people do not even do 10 minutes brisk walking per month (6 million) as those who even use a bike at all.

That's a lot of people who could be won round to cycling. But they're not being. Their numbers are growing more rapidly than cyclists' - for each person that might get on a bike occasionally, several more are becoming even more sedate. 'We' - those regular cyclists who give a shit - are vastly outnumbered by the chronically lazy.

How are you optimistic about increasing numbers of cyclists?

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ConcordeCX [1166 posts] 2 years ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
nbrus wrote:
John Stevenson wrote:

Section 170 is crystal clear in applying only to motor vehicles.

"Wanton or furious driving" has a long history of being infrequently but successfully applied to cycling.

Overturning clearly relevant precedent to, say, stop "wanton or furious driving" being used against cyclists is much harder that saying "M'lud, this offence applies only to motor vehicles, as it clearly says right here in the statute, in black and white." Except it'd never get that far.

Your reasoning would lead to cyclists being prosecuted for speeding, which the police would clearly love to do but can only get away with where there is ineptly framed legislation, such as in Richmond Park.

Maybe they will set a precedent if there is no other applicable law available?

If cyclists are to be done for speeding (unlikely), then it would have to be mandatory to fit a speedometer to all bicycles. You would also need number plates so the speed cameras could get you.

Some commentators on this site, long since banned, said that would be no defence (the same as other current commentators have said about Mr Alliston's claim of ignorance regarding the requirements to have a front brake): that if there is an applicable speed limit then it's up to you (the cyclist) to make sure you don't break it regardless of whether speedometers were made mandatory.

it's also up to you to know what speed you're doing, independently of any speedometer you may or may not have.

For example, if the police stop you for exceeding the speed limit and you say "but officer, my speedometer indicated that I was within the limit", they will say "tough shit, my calibrated meter says you weren't. I hope you like porridge".

Your speedometer is therefore irrelevant in this situation.

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