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Breaking news: Passenger dies of injuries after bus performs emergency stop to avoid cyclist

Cyclist initially charged with involuntary GBH may face more serious charge

According to a the grandson of the bus passenger injured on Saturday when a cyclist allegedly swerved into the path of the bus on which he was travelling, he has died of his injuries.

Chris Gurton contacted road.cc via Twitter to tell us that his grandfather had never regained consciousness after the incident.

Mr Gurton this afternoon posted on his blog:

After a week in intensive care and with no brain activity being shown on scans, and advice and consultation with the Neurologist, the decision was made today to turn off my Grandfather’s life support machine and he sadly passed away at about 1pm this afternoon. Despite the hospital’s best efforts to save him, it was of the opinion of the Neurologist, that Grandad had technically died on the Saturday morning during the incident on the bus. This case will now be referred to the coroner and the police.

I’d like to thank everyone for all the kind messages during this difficult time.

Rest In Peace Grandad. You will be greatly missed.

The incident happened at 10.45 on Saturday morning on North Avenue Chelmsford, with the cyclist fleeing the scene on foot prior to officers arriving, leaving behind his bike, which had been damaged in the collision with the bus.

Officers from Essex Police’s Serious Collision Investigation unit subsequently traced the man concerned who was charged with dangerous cycling and involuntary grievous bodily harm. It is possible that will now be increased to a more serious charge such as involuntary manslaughter.

A police spokesman quoted by Anglia TV at the time of the first reports of the incident said, “The allegation is that the cyclist caused the bus driver to brake heavily and as a result the passenger was injured.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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41 comments

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Stumps | 8 years ago
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My deepest sympathies to the gentlemans family.

No amount of casting of blame here, there and everywhere will bring this gentleman back.

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MKultra | 9 years ago
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Coaches and mini buses require seat belts. Public transport vehicles such as your typical omnibus which is hop on hop off are not required to offer belts. Neither are trains or tube trains. Ignorance all round it seems today. If the police are going to be willfully stupid we could at least not compound things by doing the same?

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oozaveared | 9 years ago
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PC Deborah Gray apears to be very badly briefed and probably a bit credulous. I'm not quite sure why somone with such a low rank in Essex Police is allowed to embarass the force by displaying a canteen culture attitude to road safety and vulnerable road users.

Is the fact that this so called spokesperson is only a PC and indication the fact that she is young and inexperienced. or experienced but not very bright. It's hard to tell. Maybe she's been set up. Ordered to make stupid comments to limit her career or perhaps she is the ultimate careerist prepared to spout any kind of moronic nonsense in return for a leg up the greasy pole.

I don't live in Essex but those of you that do should make a not of her name and that quote and be prepared to remind Essex Police and her of that statement whenever it is necessary.

It may be road collisions or it may the type of victim blaming that goes with sexual assault. Change the vulnerable group and you pretty much have a caricature of a Police officer reminding women not to go to certain places, to wear only certain types of clothes and to be more safety conscious because Essex Police can't be bothered to do their jobs properly.

"I know we are paid to protect you and uphold the law but that sounds like too much hard work basically you are on your own so look after yourselves while we have a nice cup of tea."

Sincerely
Latest junior PC with no common sense.
Essex Police

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kie7077 | 10 years ago
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How is this not as bad as racism and sexism?

The anti-cyclist slant that the legal system is coming out with here is absolutely disgusting.

If a car driver doesn't look properly, pulls out of a junction and hits a cyclist, they aren't ever charged with anything more than careless driving.

 14

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don simon fbpe | 10 years ago
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Sympathies to the family and friends and a black mark for the reputation of cyclists. My guess is that the perpetrator was some bloke who ocassionally rode a bike rather than a cycling enthusiast (cyclist).

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antigee | 10 years ago
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"Ah ok, thanks.

It could have been one of the metal poles that contributed to his sad death, seats like you say.

Considering some drivers don't even go to jail for killing a rider, let alone charged with inv manslaughter / murder i think inv manslaughter is way over the top."

struggling a bit as this probably a tough time for those directly involved but do agree that when you look at the speed that very serious charges have been brought against cyclist who possibly should have known better and then you compare this to the typically weaker charges brought against drivers who would have known better but have killed cyclists then its does make you question or continue to question if the Police and CPS are consistently acting in the best interests of the more vulnerable road users

edit removed cyclist age as not sure where got that from

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northstar | 10 years ago
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Ah ok, thanks.

It could have been one of the metal poles that contributed to his sad death, seats like you say.

Considering some drivers don't even go to jail for killing a rider, let alone charged with inv manslaughter / murder i think inv manslaughter is way over the top.

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antigee | 10 years ago
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"why was the man standing? (assuming he was), not enough seats provided etc."

may have been earlier version of this story but his son responded on this point that despite his similar concerns his dad had actually been seated near the front of the bus but was sadly thrown forward when the bus braked

think their are issues here with the design of the seating

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antigee | 10 years ago
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very sad news - hope i'm out and about on a bus when i'm 90 - think that such an unexpected death is very hard to deal with and my sympathy to the family

as a car driver I've had people on bikes drop into the road in front of me and in a car that can be hard to deal with it and you've got more room for moving, though some locations you learn to expect it and try to look out for it.
Anecdotal = A couple of years ago a neighbours mother (he's retired so not sure but aged) experienced a fall on a bus and cut head open - taken to hospital by ambulance and discharged self and then got lost trying to find right bus home!
A teenager forcing a bus to emergency stop shouldn't ruin two lives - you can only design so much into a vehicle but bus passengers need to be able to walk away from an emergency stop

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doc | 10 years ago
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Seat belts can be fitted to longer distance coaches, but they are not fitted (or required) on the "No 17" local stopping bus. It may be that the old gentleman was standing at the time, and that is allowed on buses too. Plenty of uninformed and plain wrong statements here, why not just wait and see what evidence is presented?

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andyp replied to doc | 8 years ago
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doc wrote:

Plenty of uninformed and plain wrong statements here, why not just wait and see what evidence is presented?

You're new to the internet, ain't you boy?  3

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dave atkinson | 10 years ago
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In terms of seriousness of offence involuntary manslaughter isn't wildly different to death by dangerous driving. Maximum sentence is life but that's rarely enforced and certainly wouldn't be in this case. Max for dangerous driving is 14 years though to my knowledge it's never been used. Whatever happens it'll likely not buck the trend of people on bikes being sentenced more harshly than people in cars for doing what amounts to the same thing. My thoughts are with Chris and his family.

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Higgott | 10 years ago
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They are called seat belts, the bus company is libel for passenger safety, not the bike rider even if he is an idiot.

Yes penalize him for his stupidity breaking the road rules and toss the book at him. Its not manslaughter.

Emergency stops should not kill passengers no matter the cause. Make the bus safe and it wont happen.

People stop shifting blame it wont bring the poor man back, a simple seat belt and he would be here today.

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a.jumper | 10 years ago
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Here's the sandwich murderer mentioned above http://road.cc/content/news/90037-driver-who-killed-oxford-cyclist-found...

Condolences to the bereaved. Disappointed that the bus company still hasn't been charged for its dangerous vehicle that kills on emergency stops.

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IanW1968 | 10 years ago
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Spen- your right conjectures not good but leaving it to the courts presumes they, the cps and police will act fairly and there's repeated evidence that doesn't happen.

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spen replied to IanW1968 | 10 years ago
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IanW1968 wrote:

Spen- your right conjectures not good but leaving it to the courts presumes they, the cps and police will act fairly and there's repeated evidence that doesn't happen.

But without at least believing the courts are fair could we be called a civilised country?

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james-o | 10 years ago
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Quote:

Was this person an actual cyclist or was it just some idiot riding a bike! To me there is a big difference between the two,

There is no difference. Wear as much dayglo and lycra as you like or jeans and a T and no lid. No difference. People on bikes are cyclists like people in cars are drivers. In many UK cities you may be treated better on a bike wearing civvies (ime) - the Copenhagen effect.

The rider won't be charged with murder as suggested as there's no intent to kill, but the bus video must show him doing something stupid for them to charge him as they have done.
Spen, well said.

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spen | 10 years ago
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It's easy for a regular reader of these pages to feel a sense of injustice at the report that a charge of involuntary manslaughter may be brought. No doubt every one of us has the thought that if a car driver makes a maneuver that results in the death of a cyclist the charge would be careless driving at worst. However it's been pointed out several times that we don't know what happened or why the bus driver had to make an emergency stop. Until these facts come to light, presumably through a trial, it would be better if we, as a cycling "community", refrained from indulging in knee jerk defence of cyclists and acting as if this charge were a charge against every one of us.

The courts will decide if there is guilt and in the meantime our sympathies and thoughts should go to the family of the deceased

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IanW1968 | 10 years ago
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Sympathy to the the family of the gentleman who has passed away.

This does seem like a strange story with a rather tenuous link between cyclist and outcome in comparison to the rather clearer cut incidents happening elsewhere.

In other news a driver doing 60 mph eating a sandwich hits a cyclist who has lights on his bike( but the court feels the need to report he didn't have reflectors on his pedals) kills him and its considered just a moment of carelessness, an accident that happens and victim must accept some blame.

We're here even if this person on a bike being an idiot just like the driver above, the secondary or the third action in the sequence of events he caused results in calls for manslaughter charges.

Seems strange but not surprising

RIp the old boy. .

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bendertherobot | 10 years ago
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The crucial thing here is that the police state that they have evidence. We should also note that the more serious charge has not yet been brought.

If the evidence supports this charge, fine. He can be tried by a jury who will be properly directed.

And, if convicted, I look forward to every road and pavement user being similarly charged when there is evidence to do so.

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crazy-legs | 10 years ago
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There's something that unnerves me about the whole case.

While I sympathise with the family of the man who has sadly passed away, I can't help but wonder what the charges would be if a different set of circumstances had caused the same emergency stop?

Suppose a child ran out into the road:
Parent charged with not holding onto a 3-year old properly?
Youth charged with not having proper control of a football and allowing it to roll into the road then running after it?

Or even a situation like a stray dog where no owner could be traced?

Whether it's a "proper cyclist" or a "chav on a bike" it just seems that they're being made a bit of a scapegoat here and also that the charges are far more severe than any driver would face having actually run someone down.

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Nick T replied to crazy-legs | 10 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

There's something that unnerves me about the whole case.

While I sympathise with the family of the man who has sadly passed away, I can't help but wonder what the charges would be if a different set of circumstances had caused the same emergency stop?

Suppose a child ran out into the road:
Parent charged with not holding onto a 3-year old properly?
Youth charged with not having proper control of a football and allowing it to roll into the road then running after it?

Or even a situation like a stray dog where no owner could be traced?

Whether it's a "proper cyclist" or a "chav on a bike" it just seems that they're being made a bit of a scapegoat here and also that the charges are far more severe than any driver would face having actually run someone down.

Thing is, what we as cyclists fight for is equality on the road, you can't expect to pick and choose when you can pass off behaviour as something a pedestrian or animal might do to explain something like this and when we should be viewed as road users when someone in an Astra squeezes a cyclist into a verge.

As soon as you get on a bike you are a road user wether you like it or not, and you have a responsibility to act in a way that respects other road users by not forcing them into emergency stops and the like.

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timrichardson82 | 10 years ago
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Was this person an actual cyclist or was it just some idiot riding a bike! To me there is a big difference between the two, unfortunately we all seem to get branded as the same. When i am at the traffic lights i cant believe how many chavs on mountain bikes i see ignoring red lights. But they are still classed as a cyclist. It makes us all look bad. Condolences to the family of the gentleman.

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racyrich | 10 years ago
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Dreadful. RIP

But unfortunately until the dicks of the world are taught the lesson that 'I was only having a larf' is no excuse, collateral damage will continue. I hope he is made an example of. I also hope such an example is made of dickhead drivers too.

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Some Fella | 10 years ago
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There always has to be someone to blame and someone has to be fault.
It is how our legal system operates.
There can no longer be an unfortunate set of circumstances where fallible and fragile human beings find themselves in a situation that is out of their control.
Somebody must always pay.

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mrmo | 10 years ago
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I am still a little concerned by what the cyclist did that caused the Bus to do an emergency stop? I see plenty of "chavs" on bikes all the time, jumping off pavements, riding straight out in front of traffic, etc.

They may be idiots, and i may think they should be locked up for dangerous cycling, and banned from ever getting a car licence (although for many would make no difference!)

Surely the bus driver is not innocent in that he failed to see the cyclist?

I guess all will become clear later.

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Gkam84 | 10 years ago
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Sad news indeed, thoughts go out to the family.

Although the cyclist seems to be the one at fault, did the bus have seat belts? They are required by law and you are required to wear them by law now...That will be the case for the cyclist, cut and shut case, gets off with leaving the scene of an ACCIDENT....

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JonD | 10 years ago
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As tragic as this may be, why on earth is 'involuntary manslaughter' never used in the caseof the numerous 'careless driving' cases that get reported, if it's applicable here ?

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aSolihullCyclist replied to JonD | 10 years ago
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JonD wrote:

As tragic as this may be, why on earth is 'involuntary manslaughter' never used in the case of the numerous 'careless driving' cases that get reported, if it's applicable here ?

I agree, the justice system does seem more than a little skewed. Going with the sentences that are usuaually passed out: a car colliding with another person would be either a 'careless' or a 'dangerous' driving offence, no mention of grievous bodily harm (involuntary or with intent). Under these sort of sentencing guidelines, the bike user should be done for careless/dangerous cycling.

If you're looking for a case that should have a GBH or assault tag stuck on it: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/aug/08/nottingham-...

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koko56 replied to aSolihullCyclist | 10 years ago
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aSolihullCyclist wrote:
JonD wrote:

As tragic as this may be, why on earth is 'involuntary manslaughter' never used in the case of the numerous 'careless driving' cases that get reported, if it's applicable here ?

I agree, the justice system does seem more than a little skewed. Going with the sentences that are usuaually passed out: a car colliding with another person would be either a 'careless' or a 'dangerous' driving offence, no mention of grievous bodily harm (involuntary or with intent). Under these sort of sentencing guidelines, the bike user should be done for careless/dangerous cycling.

If you're looking for a case that should have a GBH or assault tag stuck on it: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/aug/08/nottingham-...

Exactly right - as tragic as this case is for people close to the man, had he been on a bike heading into a traffic island and a car overtook him going into it resulting in similar outcome I hold little hope of anything remotely similar for the car driver - even though it seems exactly the same to me just from different positions. Zero doubt about a helmet comment in court, whereas nothing is said (assuming) about a seatbelt or standing in a moving vehicle when at such an age.

You can go back and forth with the above, yes real world and ideals vary but essentially the outlook on cycling incidents is far from just.

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