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E-bike rider cleared of causing London pedestrian's death by careless driving

Thomas Hanlon was travelling at around 30mph on modified e-bike when Sakine Cihan ran into road

A man who was riding a modified electric bike when he struck a pedestrian who later died from her injuries has been found not guilty of causing her death by dangerous driving.

Thomas Hanlon, aged 32, faced the charge because the bike he was riding had been modified to go faster than the permitted 15.5mph above which the motor is required to cut out, meaning the bike was classified as a motorcycle.

In what is thought to be the first case of its kind involving a modified e-bike, BBC News reports that Hanlon was also acquitted of driving without a licence.

During the trial, one cyclist who witnessed the fatal collision on Kingsland High Street, Dalston, East London on 28 August 2018, described how he thought, ‘Jesus, that’s fast!’ as Hanlon passed him moments beforehand.

Pedestrian Sakine Cihan, who was filmed by CCTV cameras running across the road, sustained fatal head injuries after Hanlon, who was estimated to be travelling at 10mph above the 20mph speed limit, collided with her. He left the scene but subsequently handed himself in to police.

Claire Howell, defending Hanlon at the Old Bailey, said that Ms Cihan “ran out in front of him.”

She continued: “He is going straight along a straight road on a sunny clear day when he has got the right of way and he can see the lights have changed to green and he's just moving through.

“His reactions were quicker than many confident and careful drivers in the time it took him to react to her stepping out, which suggests he was keeping a good look out,” she added.

The jury returned not guilty verdicts on the charges Hanlon had been facing after deliberating for around an hour.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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