E-bike rider on trial for causing death by careless driving in landmark case

Thomas Hanlon's bike didn't comply with rules meaning it should be classified as motorcycle, jury told...

The ​trial has begun at the Old Bailey of an e-bike rider charged with causing the death of a pedestrian by careless driving in the first case of its type to come before a UK court.

Thomas Hanlon, aged 32, was riding on Kingsland High Street in Dalston, East London, when he was collided with 56-year-old Sakine Cihan, who was crossing the road.

Mrs Cihan subsequently died in hospital from serious head injuries she sustained in the collision, which happened at 5pm on 28 August 2018.

The prosecution says that Hanlon’s bike had been modified to allow it to go faster than the 15.5mph limit set by law for a power-assisted bicycle, meaning that it would be classified as a motorcycle, reports BBC News.

Nathan Rasiah, prosecuting, read a statement from witness Raymond Murphy, who was cycling on the same road and said that Hanlon’s bike was “going way too quickly for a normal electric bicycle.”

Mr Rasiah said: "He described riding along approaching the station and becoming aware of a bike travelling very quickly past him, but heading in the same direction as him. He recalls thinking 'Jesus, that's fast'.”

Mr Murphy said he “suddenly saw arms and legs everywhere, flying in the air” after Hanlon collided with Mrs Cihan.

Another witness, Joshua Stubbs, said: “It looked like their heads made contact then the cyclist fell to the ground.

“After a few seconds the cyclist got up and looked dazed and confused, the lady lay motionless on the road.”

Hanlon fled the scene but subsequently handed himself in to police and said at interview that Mrs Cihan stepping into the road meant he was unable to avoid hitting her.

“She rushed out in front of me to cross and she didn't even look at me,” he told officers.

While it is common ground between the prosecution and defence that Hanlon was not insured and did not have a licence to ride a motorcycle, he denies charges of causing death while uninsured and causing death while unlicensed because he does not believe he was at fault for Mrs Cihan’s death.

The trial continues.

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Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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