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Boardman dismayed at outcome of Michael Mason case

Believes a review is needed of how the justice system responds to road collisions

Chris Boardman has called for a review of how the justice system responds to road collisions after a motorist was this week acquitted of causing the death of cyclist Michael Mason through dangerous driving in a case brought by Cycling UK’s Cyclists Defence Fund (CDF).

Gail Purcell stood trial after the CDF crowdsourced more than £75,000 to bring a private prosecution after the Metropolitan Police Service decided not to refer the case to the CPS.

Following the verdict, British Cycling’s policy adviser Chris Boardman, said:

“We are disappointed and dismayed by the outcome of a case that further highlights that a review is needed of how the justice system responds to collisions on the road.

“Everyone should be concerned about this matter – no matter how you travel – because bad driving can affect us all. The standards of what constitutes careless and dangerous driving need to be looked at very carefully to make sure cases of bad driving can be dealt with effectively.

“In any other activity we would not sit back and accept that certain actions or mistakes will inevitably cause the death of others. The police and CPS need to look carefully at this case to consider how the process of investigation and prosecution can be improved.”

CDF spokesman Duncan Dollimore also expressed concern at the message conveyed to the general public regarding driving standards.

"Careless driving is supposed to be driving which falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver. If failing to see an illuminated cyclist on a well-lit road is not careless driving, and no explanation for that failure is required, that reinforces the arguments Cycling UK has made through our Road Justice Campaign for many years: namely the definition and identification of bad driving offences needs urgent review.”

He added: “Although we can only be disappointed at the result, we hope that this case demonstrates why we need to look closely at how the justice system serves the victims of road collisions and their families, and whether the standards applied to decide what is, or is not, careless or dangerous driving are fit for purpose.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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27 comments

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burtthebike | 6 years ago
0 likes

Please god no:

"Following her acquittal, Mrs Purcell, of Colney Street, St Albans, is now seeking to recover some of her costs of fighting the case."

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/woman-cleared-of-killing-cyclist-in...

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Sniffer | 6 years ago
2 likes

I suspect Willo has empathy problems. Or more accurately a lack of empathy.  Sort of explains some of his posts.

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burtthebike | 6 years ago
1 like

Cycling UK have an extremely informative review of the case here http://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/duncandollimore/mason-verdict

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
5 likes

Willo,

 

If she had done this on her driving test, would she have passed?

 

And if not, then surely her standards have fallen below the level one can reasonably expect, take her license away.

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Pub bike | 6 years ago
4 likes

Was she sending text messages , on the phone,  eating,  drinking, or putting on make up by any chance?   Did the Met check this?  Were her phone records examined?

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Housecathst | 6 years ago
3 likes

bankrupts the chancers, do explain, give that the judge ruled there was a case to answer. 

Give that Gail needs to borrower a disability vehicle just to avoid the congestion charge I should think the cost of her court suite would be enough to bankrupt her. it's some small recompense for taking a live I guess. 

 

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PennineRider | 6 years ago
10 likes

Users may remember that, many months ago, this board was disrupted by a troll who, before he was banned, turned every thread into a stupid argument.

This is starting again. It wouldn't surprise me if the new troll is the same person. He sounds like him. You cannot reason with this individual. He likes it when you get angry and call him names. He does not respond to logic or reason. His only purpose is to make every thread about him. He is not a cycling enthusiast; he is just here to disrupt and cause conflict.

Can we please not feed him?

 

 

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Pub bike | 6 years ago
2 likes

This is really worrying.  

A jury is content to assume that the cyclist dropped from the sky or came out of nowhere as the most likely explanation of the collision.   Although I've never actually seen this happen myself presumably most other people have?

Every cyclist now needs to buy a forward, rear and side facing camera, as without this evidence there is no likelihood at all of a prosecution.  And perhaps we need a sign saying that so as well?  Some deterrent that will be...not.

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Stumps | 6 years ago
4 likes

As Mr Boardman once again speaks honestly and truthfully you know the govt will not listen as they have, in their opinion, more important things to deal with.
Yet what is more important than the saving of an innocents life ??????????

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Stumps | 6 years ago
1 like

bikelikebike - this is a cycling web page / forum and you should understand that the vast majority on here will never ever agree with what your saying even if some of it has truths behind it.
Give up now trying to defend this driver as it will fall on deaf ears.

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oldstrath replied to Stumps | 6 years ago
3 likes
Stumps wrote:

bikelikebike - this is a cycling web page / forum and you should understand that the vast majority on here will never ever agree with what your saying even if some of it has truths behind it. Give up now trying to defend this driver as it will fall on deaf ears.

Truths? Truths such as the insane suggestion that the only alternative to our current madness of allowing drivers to kill without consequence is a return to 19th century peasantry? Truths such as inventing all manner of bizarre manoeuvres that Mr Mason "might have done" to avoid blaming Purcell? The only truth is that he's either Willo returned from the dead, or some other All Bad Drivers troll.

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ChrisB200SX | 6 years ago
8 likes

Wow, bikelikebike is a special kind of idiot, either cannot comprehend what others have written or deliberately misinterprets it in a crude attempt to spin their own narrative. He didn't say he denies responsibility for his own safety you ball-cupping twat-lemming.

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clayfit | 6 years ago
5 likes

The law needs changing to ensure presumed responsibility.

If we want our cycling to be like in the Netherlands, that's one place to start.

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picko | 6 years ago
4 likes

"When you use the roads as driver, cyclist or pedestrian, you accept that there are inherent unavoidable risks and take responsibility for your own safety."

No.  Being licensed to operate a vehicle on the public highway means you take responsibility for the safety of yourself AND OTHER ROAD USERS.  Because vehicles have the potential to cause significant harm.  That's why there's a testing process to determine whether drivers are competent and responsible enough to be allowed to drive.  As part of the training process you are taught to recognise and minimise risk, not accept that 'sometimes people die' as you seem to be suggesting.

 

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ron611087 | 6 years ago
6 likes

There are two issues :

1. The imprecise wording of the statute. "driving which falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver". Without a definition for a "competent and careful driver" there is nothing to measure against so the phrase is meaningless. 

For example. Insurance company surveys show that 90% of drivers think they are better than average, which is mathematically impossible. This is a cognitive bias known as illusiory superiority. In fairness, if what is average is not defined, they have no baseline against which to judge themselves, but it's telling that they all think they're better than the next guy.

The truth about driving is that there is no such thing as a good driver, we all all just different degrees of shit, even Lewis Hamilton. That's not a prejudice, just a statement about how the brain works. Our conciousnes lives in the past. A reconstruction of the present reasembled by our brain, but a little bit behind the actual present.  That works fine for about 15mph, the speed at which evolution equipped us to run at,  but the system hits a problem when we get behind an internal combustion engine. Our reactions are woefully incompetent.  Good (or rather less shit) drivers are better than others because they can read the situation and anticipate events before they happen. If a driver can't do that, then anything in front of their vehicle is always at risk. Noone using a mobile phone behind the wheel is capabable of anticipating events. Period!

We don't need more statutes, but we do need to be more precise with the law that we have. Lets have a definition for a competent and careful driver. I think it would give quite a few drivers pause for reflection (if they bothered to read the law).

2. The jury: In cycling cases a jury of peers isnt! Statistically it can't be, perhaps in the Netherlands, but not in the UK. Empathy is engendered by shared experience, and therein lies a problem. The guy in the dock who killed someone while catching up on snapchat is being judged by someone who probably indulges in similar behavior. Cyclists on the other hand are another species. Lycra clad louts, they ride on pavements jump light... They're jus askin ferit, innit!

Until there is parity in driver and cyclist numbers, get rid of jury trials because they won't deliver justice.

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HarrogateSpa | 6 years ago
13 likes

The commenter defending Gail Purcell - as I understand it, a one-issue commenter, not a reader of road.cc - should state their relationship with the killer of Mr Mason, or stop hijacking the comment threads under these articles.

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ChrisB200SX | 6 years ago
7 likes

Accidents happen but someone is always at fault because vehicles do not have free will and are rarely to blame.

If the jury decided there was doubt that she was to blame, this means they believed Mick may have been at fault. This seems rather unlikely given the dangerous consequences to him of him making a mistake versus the consequences to her of her making a mistake.

Who here has EVER changed lane on a bike without checking it is safe to do so?!

Presumed liability is needed, but it might not have made any difference to Mick's family in terms of justice.

Frankly, I'm absolutely baffled at how you can drive into someone, say you didn't see them but not take the blame. Even if he was in her blind spot, it's her responsibility to see him, even if he's in a different lane ahead of her.

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rliu | 6 years ago
3 likes

The issue is the definition of careless driving in law at the moment is theoretically fine. An accused is charged when their standard falls below that of a competent driver in the eyes of the reasonable person. The problem is of course the social acceptance by the public that somehow it is a bigger injustice to find someone guilty of careless driving (with the short ban and small fine that it normally carries with) than to rub salt into the wounds of a grieving family by saying the motorist involved was faultless, when clearly they weren't.

We don't really need to clog up the statute books anymore with another causing death through driving offence. Rather we need to change court procedure, maybe mandatory appearance by cycling safety experts at cyclist death trials. Or better still the incorporation of a cycling segment to all driving tests.

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ktache | 6 years ago
12 likes

Driving carefully doesn't end with a dead innocent victim.

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jh27 replied to ktache | 6 years ago
0 likes
ktache wrote:

Driving carefully doesn't end with a dead innocent victim.

Yes, but we don't know how innocent he was, and we don't know that his death was related to the collision. The full case has been presented to a jury who acquitted the accused, it hasn't been presented to us. Maybe some of you will know more about the details than i do, but i can't help wonder if this article is the cycling equivalent of the Daily Mail articles you see demanding that pointy knives should be banned and in fact we should make all food compatible with straws, so we can ban cutlery altogether.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
16 likes

If I'm swinging a sledgehammer in a crowded room and I kill someone with it I'm not to blame because I didn't see the victim is what Ms Purcell is saying and the police/justice system/motorcentric public are backing this up. utter bollocks and is a continuation of the miscarriages of justice strewn all over the place over years and no-one in power can see what the hell is wrong with this.

Law has to be changed and drastic action for better driving standards/accountability not just for drivers but for the police too.

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Jem PT | 6 years ago
13 likes

My concern with this verdict is that a driver charged with causing an accident of any type can now just say "I didn't see the cyclist/pedestrian/car that I just hit" and then be found not guilty of careless driving.

Surely NOT seeing the cyclist in this particular case must meet the definition of careless driving?

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john1967 | 6 years ago
13 likes

This one has really scared me.I ride a lot and i fully understand cycling can be dangerous but i allways at least try to minimise risk. Now it seems i can just be killed by a driver who can just say they didnt see me. very disturbing.

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ktache | 6 years ago
14 likes

Nothing "bad" about killing innocent people.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers | 6 years ago
14 likes

She can't explain how she didn't see him. My solution therefore would be to ban her from driving as she clearly has some mental problem which stops her from seeing objects everyone else can see. With no explanation possible, that means she can never drive again.

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burtthebike | 6 years ago
11 likes

We need all the cycling, walking and road safety groups to get together to get the law changed.  The Road Justice campaign was excellent, but it hasn't changed enough minds and one group on its own will not succeed.

The law is wrong and needs changing urgently.  Whether that is presumed liability or changing the definitions of dangerous and careless driving, something has to change soon.  A group effort from all concerned groups could get things done.

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