Magistrates say putting own safety ahead of that of others is no excuse

A Grimsby man who was fined £750 when the bike he was riding on the pavement struck a five-year-old child has claimed that he was forced to ride there because the adjacent road was too dangerous.

The Grimsby Telegraph says that the child who was struck has been left scarred despite reconstructive surgery following the collision, but added that the cyclist, 29-year-old David Cox, insisted that he was only cycling on the pavement because of the dangers presented by the road.

Mr Cox said: He said: "I have lived in the area all of my life and I know that the road is dangerous, so I always cycle on the path. A friend of mine was killed on the crossing on the road, so I don't want to ride on it."

However, presiding magistrate David Stenton said that was not an acceptable excuse, telling the cyclist, who was found guilty of cycling without consideration, and of assaulting the child: "By not cycling on the road you put your own safety ahead of others, and the consequences of this could have been much worse. People have been killed by cyclists in similar incidents."

While that final sentence may be true, official statistics reveal that more than 250 times more pedestrians have been killed in Britain over the past decade in collisions with motor vehicles compared to those involving cyclists.

Last year, Jim Fitzpatrick, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, said in a written reply to a question in the House of Commons that 29 pedestrians had been killed in Britain in accidents involving cyclists between 1998 and 2007, compared to 7,692 who were killed in collisions with motorised vehicles.

Nevertheless, the family of the child injured in Grimsby are calling for police to do more to enforce laws against people cycling on the pavement, and the Grimsby Telegraph is inviting readers’ views on the subject through the story’s comments thread.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.