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Driver who hit retired teacher escaped prosecution

The family of Michael Mason will be supported by the Cyclists' Defence Fund in their fight to reopen the inquiry into the death of the 70-year-old cycling campaigner earlier this year.

Michael Mason was hit from behind by the driver of a Nissan car on Regent Street on February 25 and died from his injuries on March 14.

No prosecution was brought against the driver; the Metropolitan Police did not refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), in what the CDF says is an apparent clear breach of CPS guidelines.

Martin Porter QC will engage with the Metropolitan Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions on the family's behalf with the aim to reverse the decision not to prosecute.

If that fails, the family may consider a private prosecution.

Anna Tatton-Brown, Michael Mason’s daughter said: “Mick felt very strongly about the dangers to cyclists on our roads, and would get very angry about the amount of careless or even reckless driving he experienced.

"He and I would often discuss the many near misses we both had on London roads. If I he were alive now, I've no doubt that he would be fighting tooth and nail to get some kind of justice.

"It doesn't feel right to just let this lie.”

Martin Porter QC represented the family at the recent inquest into Mason's death and covered it in his blog

Porter wrote: "Witness evidence and CCTV evidence was less than entirely clear but left no doubt that no witness aside from the Nissan driver failed to see Mr Mason on his bicycle.  The evidence was quite clear that he had the required lights including a brightly flashing rear light fixed above a red reflector which would reflect back light from car headlights.  The evidence was also clear that the area (as one might expect) was well lit by street lights."

Mason was riding toward the centre of the road when he was hit. Porter wrote: "The police investigator had no difficulty in agreeing that Mr Mason had every right to be there for any number of reasons and there is no possible criticism of his position in the road."

When the driver hit him, Mason was exactly in front of her postion in the car.

Porter reports that the driver "gave evidence consistent with her accounts to the police that she did not see Mr Mason or his bicycle at any time before the collision.  She was travelling at somewhere between 20 and 30 mph and did not brake before impact.  She carried on and parked 30 metres up the road before returning to the realisation she had hit a cyclist. 

"In answer to a question which she was warned that she need not answer she accepted that if the cyclist was there (which from the physical evidence he unquestionably was) she should have seen him.

"The Coroner returned a finding of accidental death."

Now the Cyclists’ Defence Fund is appealing for help funding the fight for justice for Michael Mason and its other activities.

CDF trustee Roger Geffen said: “The Cyclists’ Defence Fund was set up precisely to champion and support issues related to cycling and the law. In the tragic case of Michael Mason we will aim to reverse the Met’s decision not to prosecute and help achieve the closure of justice for his family.

“We now need to build up our fighting fund so that we can ensure CDF can continue to provide all necessary support throughout the legal process ahead.”

To make an online donation to CDF go to their Justgiving page or you can make donation through other ways.

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.