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Blames tiredness, dyspraxia and poor brakes

The cyclist who was the subject of footage released by Network Rail recently has given her explanation of how she came to end up trapped between the barriers at a level crossing in West Sussex.

A joint Network Rail and British Transport Police mobile CCTV van was watching for motorists jumping the lights when it captured footage of a female cyclist ducking under the lowering barrier at the Roundstone level crossing in East Preston. She was then unable to get past the barrier on the opposite side and found herself trapped.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous because of her job, told the Littlehampton Gazette that she hadn’t tried to squeeze through deliberately.

“I have a condition called dyspraxia which often inhibits my coordination and means the processing-gap between thinking something and doing it is a lot larger than it would be for most people.

“I don’t drive – thankfully – as this would probably make me a danger to pedestrians and other motorists. After many years of physio and occupational therapy I’m much improved. However on mornings such as the one in question (I was at that point seven days into a nine-day week) my reaction times are extremely slow.

“Despite what the footage may suggest, I did attempt to brake when I found myself within a metre of the crossing as the barrier was coming down. But to make matters even worse my right brake failed and I sped through regardless. If I appear to duck it’s only for fear of being hit in the process.

“I’m eternally grateful to the signal controller for raising the barrier when he did as I was generally fearing for my life.”

Following the incident, the woman contacted the police to explain and also got in touch with her local bike shop to get her brake cables tightened.

She said the police accepted she had not intended to run the lights, but said social media criticism of her actions had hit her hard.

“Enduring a mini panic-attack every time I hear the level-crossing siren is punishment enough for my lapse of concentration without feeling the stares of those I don’t even know on my way to and from work.

“It sounds drastic to say I might have to move, but when you’re new to an area it can be quite hard to fit into a community that doesn’t know you but wants your head on a spike.”

She added: “I accept that cyclists have a responsibility to remain awake, alert and in full control of their wheels for the safety of all road-users and will take steps to ensure I’m never put in a similar position.”

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.

32 comments

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ashliejay [74 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

oh cock off, yes dyspraxia causes co-ordination issues and can contribute to hesitation when pulling out, but common sense dictates to err on the side of caution and wait instead of just pulling out, she just wasn't paying attention as she should have seen the lights, and could have stopped well within time even on a dreaded fixie.

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Bungle73 [9 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

This so called "explantion" is a load of old cobblers tbh. Not only has this woman admitted riding an unroadworthy bike with faulty brakes, she has also admitted not being a fit person to be on the road in the first place! And I quote "I have a condition called dyspraxia which often inhibits my coordination and means the processing-gap between thinking something and doing it is a lot larger than it would be for most people.  I don’t drive – thankfully – as this would probably make me a danger to pedestrians and other motorists". And she isn't on a bike??

She has also completely ignored the red light and bleeping which come on way in advance of the barrier coming down.

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Yorkshire wallet [1639 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

Word to her. Get off the fucking roads.

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Goldfever4 [390 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Are we expected to say "well done" to her for responsibly not driving a car?????

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FluffyKittenofT... [1941 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes
Goldfever4 wrote:

Are we expected to say "well done" to her for responsibly not driving a car?????

Well, I for one am glad she doesn't. Be nice if everyone with medical issues that made them unsafe on the road did the same. Sadly many don't, including older drivers, drivers who can barely see, and those with drinking problems.
Do you feel otherwise?

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stephen ashforth [6 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
Goldfever4 wrote:

Are we expected to say "well done" to her for responsibly not driving a car?????

Well, I for one am glad she doesn't. Be nice if everyone with medical issues that made them unsafe on the road did the same. Sadly many don't, including older drivers, drivers who can barely see, and those with drinking problems. Do you feel otherwise?

Oh dear. It would appear that you have missed the  point being made.  The point Goldfever4 is making is that she should not have been cycling  either.

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wellsprop [631 posts] 3 months ago
5 likes

Tiredness, dyspraxia, and poor brakes?.

Fatigued to the point of making bad decisions? - Don't cycle.

Medical condition affecting ability to cycle? - Don't cycle.

Insufficient brakes? Don't cycle.

It's like the rubbish excuses road users give for mowing down pedestrians/cyclists etc.

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Jimnm [275 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Stupid woman. Always excuses. I don’t believe her. 

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Flying Scot [1005 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I think she does drive, the black X5 in the SMIDSY thread....

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Yorkshire wallet [1639 posts] 3 months ago
7 likes

I've  just re-read her bullshit

take steps to ensure I’m never put in a similar position

So basically she was 'put in that position rather than finding herself in it by her own actions.  All smacks of not my fault. I noticed also she claims to have really slow reaction times but yet can duck under a barrier. If she was that off she'd have got smacked in the head by the barrier. 

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davel [2055 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Utter horseshit.

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simonmb [571 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

If she is unwell, as she describes, I've sympathy with her. I hope she never puts herself or others in danger by riding a bicycle again.

If she isn't unwell, I hope she never puts herself or others in danger by riding a bicycle again.

 

 

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DaveE128 [970 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I am glad she doesn't drive if this is the effect of her medical condition. I don't have a problem with her being on a bike (mistakes made are far more likely to injure her than others) but would suggest to her that cycling on the correct side of the road and cycling far more slowly and catiously might be good strategies for managing the impact of her medical condition. I'm a little saddened by the vitriol on here (I suppose it is the bottom half of the internet!) and also by the sounds of it in the real world. However there does seem to be a bit of a lack of willimgness to accepe personal responsobility for an error.

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davel [2055 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

I'm a tad skeptical.

She ducked perfectly and didn't slow for the first barrier at all. So any coordination issues didn't seem to hamper her there. And if her front brake really did fail ahead of the barrier, the rear one failed as effectively - there was very little braking.

But then it, or, more likely, both, are working again for her to stop dead ahead of the barrier which is actually down: again, coordination seems bang on.

I'm channelling Occam, and he's saying 'mate, she wanted to bomb across the track and fucked it up'.

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john1967 [57 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

Congratulations to all the perfect people who have never made a mistake,your all wonderfull.

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Goldfever4 [390 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Exactly, people treating her like some delicate petal who shouldn't be expected to take responsibility for herself.

wellsprop wrote:

Tiredness, dyspraxia, and poor brakes?.

Fatigued to the point of making bad decisions? - Don't cycle.

Medical condition affecting ability to cycle? - Don't cycle.

Insufficient brakes? Don't cycle.

It's like the rubbish excuses road users give for mowing down pedestrians/cyclists etc.

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Goldfever4 [390 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

You're putting words in my mouth, of course I only want fit drivers on the roads. However, as we have recently seen, you can still hurt other people when you're riding a pushbike. Choosing to ride a bike instead of driving a bus or a truck or a car is likely to be less impactful in an incident, but you still pose a danger to others if you can't pilot the bike safely. Consider mass transport or some other routine that won't get you killed, perhaps.

Different angle: If you can't stop for an enormous flashing alarm-emitting barrier-waving train crossing that spans the entire road, how can you expect to avoid any other hazard? She says "I did attempt to brake when I found myself within a metre of the crossing as the barrier was coming down". Do you think it is acceptable to get practically underneath a hazard such as this before deciding 'hrrm, this might be dangerous'?

Different angle: She approached a road junction on the wrong side of the road because she could see the barriers coming down and gambled there'd be no oncoming traffic. She didn't slow down and managed to squeeze under the first barrier, now on the wrong side of the new road she just joined, just avoiding two pedestrians. She then saw she wouldn't make it through the second barrier and then magically manage to stop, and panicked. Blames everything apart from her own choices and decisions.

Does that seem right to you?

Her apology and response to her mistakes is gracious and considered and she deserves credit for that. It's the mistake, the explanation and the shirking of accountability that stink. Not to mention that she seems to be putting herself and others in danger if her ability to pilot a bicycle actually is this inhibited.

FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
Goldfever4 wrote:

Are we expected to say "well done" to her for responsibly not driving a car?????

Well, I for one am glad she doesn't. Be nice if everyone with medical issues that made them unsafe on the road did the same. Sadly many don't, including older drivers, drivers who can barely see, and those with drinking problems. Do you feel otherwise?

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A V Lowe [619 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Video quality is not good enough to see clearly her pedalling action,  but several factors suggest she was either dangerously oblivious to traffic (with priority on the major road, as she sailed over the give way line (on the wong side of the road with no attempt to check on traffic (which had long been stopped for the crossing closure signals) that had priority, and continued pedalling strongly, if anything accelerating (the video quality is too poor to tell), as she ducks to avoid the barrier, and only stops pedalling once on the crossing and realising that a collision with the closed barrier is unevitable unless she stops.

When you are in a hole.....

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Mark_1973_ [43 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
john1967 wrote:

Congratulations to all the perfect people who have never made a mistake,your all wonderfull.

 

You're wonderful.

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don simon [1715 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Ye gods! You're a tough audience.

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fenix [867 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

She missed out that a big boy made her do it....

There was plenty of time to stop. She just thought she'd get away with it before the barrier closed.

Playing chicken with trains is not smart.

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fenix [867 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

She missed out that a big boy made her do it....

There was plenty of time to stop. She just thought she'd get away with it before the barrier closed.

Playing chicken with trains is not smart.

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alansmurphy [1494 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I have empathy with her, well I would if she had just said "I have a disability that contributed but ultimately I fucked up".

Let me tell you a story. I'm a diabetic, I was on the train home feeling somewhat wobbly with low sugars. I got off the train at my station and had nearly lost all common sense so went to WH Smith for some chocolate, obviously hadn't lost all my senses as I refused to pay their prices. I woke up on a spinal board in an ambulance, in hospital the nurse told me a garage had my bike after witnessing an incident and gave me their business card.

I now remember falling over trying to mount the bike outside the station, riding crazily down the middle of the road struggling to even focus. What I didn't expect was the garage to be 2 miles in the wrong direction and the owner tell me if hit the back of a parked car at about 20mph with no attempt to deviate.

I was lucky, I have a bit of an excuse and 99.9% of the time I'm ok. But, I have a disability that contributed but ultimately I fucked up...

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beezus fufoon [973 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
alansmurphy wrote:

I have a disability that contributed but ultimately I fucked up...

are you reading this Lance?

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BehindTheBikesheds [1154 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
fenix wrote:

She missed out that a big boy made her do it.... There was plenty of time to stop. She just thought she'd get away with it before the barrier closed. Playing chicken with trains is not smart.

Should have gone with sun was in my eyes.lol

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craigstitt [85 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

I call bullshit on this.

"I have a condition called dyspraxia which often inhibits my coordination and means the processing-gap between thinking something and doing it is a lot larger than it would be for most people." and "Despite what the footage may suggest, I did attempt to brake when I found myself within a metre of the crossing as the barrier was coming down. But to make matters even worse my right brake failed and I sped through regardless."

The footage shows she is approaching the level crossing from a side road, and therefore she should have been slowing for the junction regardless of what the level crossing was doing.  Which she didn't - therefore she knew that the cars were stopped and she used the opportunity to blow through the junction without stopping

Secondly, despite the appaling quality of the video you can make out that she is still pedalling on the approach to the crossing even when the barriers are dropping, and she only stops pedalling as she ducks to get under the barrier.

Thirdly, the barriers on the left hand side of each approach are already down, and given that it took the barriers that she ducked under had taken over 5 seconds to descend, this means that lights and bells for the level crossing would have been activated for at least a full 5 seconds before the cyclist came into frame, but probably more likely 15 seconds.

All of which suggest that she is trying to play the disability card to get out of a blatantly wrong action.  This was not a mistake it was a deliberate risk that she took, and it almost went horribly wrong

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beezus fufoon [973 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
craigstitt wrote:

All of which suggest that she is trying to play the disability card to get out of a blatantly wrong action.  This was not a mistake it was a deliberate risk that she took, and it almost went horribly wrong

her reaction is not about what happened or trying to justify it - it's simply the hysteria surrounding the trial by internet opinion - her perception to this, and "PR response", is way worse than her original mistake at the level crossing!

 

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CXR94Di2 [1906 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Just a line of excuses. She ducked as the barrier came down, so knew it was coming down. Also if she had been adhering to the road layout she would of not been on the wrong side of the road trying to get a short cut to beat the barrier. Here is the satellite view

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PRSboy [142 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Surely being in charge of a vehicle whilst knowingly impaired by fatigue or disability is an offence in itself?

Not sure this will help her with the internet lynch mob...  

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ajft [32 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
john1967 wrote:

Congratulations to all the perfect people who have never made a mistake,your all wonderfull.

Plenty of people make mistakes, some even ride on the wrong side of the road, through a closing rail crossing.  Not so many try and justify it with a public plea of "medical condition made me not stop, ride on the wrong side of the road, but duck in time for the first gate and stop in time for the second"

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