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Teen cyclist fined following death of Manchester pensioner

Victim broke neck after driver of bus she was on had to perform emrgency stop

A teenage cyclist in Manchester has been fined for dangerous cycling following the death of a pensioner who had been a passenger on a bus that he caused to brake hard through his cycling. Louie Palmer, aged 79, broke her neck after the bus driver was forced to execute an emergency stop.

Salford Youth Court was told that the brakes on the bicycle belonging to 17-year-old Wesley Grech, who had ridden into the road at a pedestrian crossing set to red, were in poor condition, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Mrs Palmer, who had been traveling to an exercise class, died later in hospital despite attempts by medical students on the bus to save her life. A second passenger on the bus, which had been traveling at 25mph, broke her arm.

Julie Skinner, acting for the prosecution, told the court that Grech had been crossing the road to go to a cash machine and rode away following the accident, and was later tracked down by police after they released CCTV images.

Grech, who was reported to be “devastated” by the incident, admitted the charge dangerous cycling on Tuesday. His mother, present as his guardian, was told to pay a £250 fine plus £150 costs.

Judge Jonathan Feinstein told Grech that based on the evidence, dangerous cycling represented ‘the correct charge’ to be laid against him, adding: “From first to last you have held your head low, thoroughly ashamed and completely wrecked by what has happened in this sad and tragic case. I’m sure you also feel for the deceased’s family.

“Even an incident like this, which happened in a split second, has had consequences so profound and deep, it is impossible to calculate,” he added.

Mrs Palmer’s family told the Manchester Evening News: “We are pleased that Mr Grech has chosen to plead guilty and that we can now bring some closure to this tragic event.”

Under the Road Traffic Act 1991, a cyclist is regarded as riding dangerously if “the way he rides falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist” and “it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.”

The Act adds that “‘dangerous’ refers to danger either of injury to any person or of serious damage to property,” and that “in determining… what would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist in a particular case, regard shall be had not only to the circumstances of which he could be expected to be aware but also to any circumstances shown to have been within the knowledge of the accused.”


Simon has been news editor at 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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