Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Yet Another Cyclist Killed on the Streets of Cycling City.

The Evening Post have just reported the death of the third cyclist to be killed on the streets of Bristol this year. A collision occurred on October 24th near the junction of Batten Road and Hillside Road in St George which resulted in critical injuries to the cyclist who subsequently died as a result of the injuries. This represents another blow for Cycling City which aims to encourage more people to cycle while doing little to make our streets safer.


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As yet little is publically known about the circumstances other than that the cyclist had emerged from the side road before being hit by a car, although the Police are already using prejudicial language like "the cyclist emerged without warning..." which rather begs the question of what 'warning' should be given. Nothing that I know of in the Highway Code that says you should give a warning before emerging from a side road. We look forward to an explanation for this bizarre language from the Police.

As always it is tempting but dangerous to speculate about the exact circumstances, but we do know that in the vast majority of instances of cyclists being killed a motor vehicle driving at excessive speed is involved. We also know that Hillside Road is one of those radial rat runs where speeding is endemic and where cyclists have been killed before. So it would be surprising if speed was not the crucial factor.

Quite simply it is the speed and weight (mass) of motor vehicles that creates the danger on our roads. A one tonne motor vehicle being driven at 32 mph has 100,000 Joules of kinetic energy compared to just 1,000 Joules of kinetic energy for a 100 kg cyclist riding at 10 mph. In most cases it is the massive force brought to bear by the motor vehicle that causes such life threatening injuries. Which is why it is so important that speed limits are bought down and effectively enforced, not just on side roads but on main roads like Hillside Road.

Later edit (6/11/09) -  Police website report here.

37 comments:

GrahamB said...

At this junction there is a duty for the cyclist to stop and look to see if there is already traffic on the road and if there is to give way as they do NOT have right of way.

I feel that you are reading the brief article and adding your own spin to what is a very basic article with very little detail.

Having read a number of your articles over the last year or so i am wondering if in your own eyes a cyclist can ever be at fault.

A very tragic incident and my thoughts are with the friends and family of the person who was killed.

Graham B

WestfieldWanderer said...

Of course a cyclist can be at fault, Graham. Silly to to think otherwise.
However, Chris' final paragraph says it all for me. We who drive motor vehicles must be made to acknowledge the awesome responsibility that goes with the licence. Sadly too few drivers choose to recognise that responsibility.

Bristol Dave said...

I can add nothing but 100% agreement and support to GrahamB's post, where he has articulated my thoughts exactly.

I expect by "emerging without warning" the police actually mean that the cyclist shot straight out of side road without stopping and looking to see what traffic was approaching (at which point presumably he would have seen the car coming and not been hit by it) - an all too common occurrence on Bristol's roads.

Nice to see you using plenty of prejudicial language of your own there Chris, without having a single fact about this incident to hand you've already decided for yourself that the motorist was most likely speeding, that the cyclist couldn't possibly be at fault because he carries a lower mass than a car (which as a way of apportioning blame is far more bizarre than the police's "prejudicial" language) and pretty much decided the case is closed, yet you know no more than anyone else about it.

In fact, I think GrahamB is right - in your own eyes a cyclist can never be at fault, in any situation, because it seems the only way you can look at any situation now is in terms of mass of the cyclist and the car and - fuck me, how convenient - they have a lower mass than a car. It seems accident investigators are missing a trick here - why bother investigating road conditions, time of day, weather conditions, conditions of tyres/brakes of both parties, possible alcohol levels of either party, who was where, who pulled in front of who, speed of each vehicle, etc, etc - just apportion blame purely based on mass. That way, cyclists can freely ride round the city without any regard for anyone else, cutting right in front of oncoming traffic, never looking, safe in the knowledge that if they are hit it won't be their fault because they have a lower mass and therefore were traveling with less force. Brilliant.

Nice objective viewpoint there... not.

Anonymous said...

And what exactly is the relevance of 'Cycling City' in the headline? Tragically, accidents happen both in cities with 3 year programmes of central government funding for improvements and elsewhere. Condolences to the rider and family.

Paul said...

Hi Chris,

You have let me down! I seriously thought we were getting somewhere the other day when we were discussing causes/consequences and the differences between each in relation to an collision (Managed not to call it an accident... I'm learning!).

I won't bother trying to explain again as you know my point of view but it seems you are unable to change yours.

Chris Hutt said...

Graham B, I did not suggest that the cyclist had right of way or that he was blameless. You are the one who seems to be reading into it what you want.

Dave, how do you know what the police really meant when they said "the cyclist emerged without warning..."? If they meant he failed to give way why didn't they say that instead of inventing some new requirement to give a warning?

As before you are unwilling to take account of who creates the danger in the first place and only willing to consider some arcane system of 'fault' finding, as if humnas normally behave perfectly.

My approach is based on the premise that people make mistakes and errors of judgement from time to time and that they shouldn't be punished for being human.

Instead of trying to blame the victims because they didn't comply with some aspect or other of the Highway Code (which nobody fully complies with anyway) my approach is to place the responsibility on those who are most responsible for creating the risk in the first place, probably the motorist in this case but probably the cyclist in cycle/pedestrian conflicts.

By placing responsibility with the danger creator instead of the victim we could bring about huge reductions in the number of people killed and injured on our streets. That is the prize but of course some will not want to assume responsibility for their actions.

As for Anon's comment "what exactly is the relevance of 'Cycling City' in the headline?" I am at a loss to know how to answer except in what might seem very patronising terms.

Cycling City is about encouraging people to cycle, is it not? People might find the prospect of getting run down and killed or crippled while cycling something of a deterrent, no? So evidence that our streets remain infested by dangerous motorists might well undermine the objectives of Cycling City, yes?

Anon also refers to accidents. But anon, how do you know that this or other similar incidents are accidents? You are making some major assumptions there without any evidence. We do not know what speed the motorist was driving at, but if it was well in excess of 30 mph as is commonplace on that street then a serious collision with a cyclist or pedestrian is a quite predictable consequence so hardly an accident.

Finally Paul, you are wrong to think that I don't change my position. Even since we last discussed this I have moved further towards a radically different way of viewing collisions and their consequences.

I think you will find that it is the establishment view that is moribund and set in terms invented 50 or more years ago to shift the burden of responsibility onto the victims in order to clear the streets of people and make way for cars.

Graham said...

The satelite image of the junction clearly shows that it has two sets of parrell dashed lines. This means that anyone emerging from this junction must give way to traffic that is already on the road. It would appear that the cyclist did not do this, with tragic consequences.

How would you be reporting this collision if it had been the car that had ignored the signs to give way and had hit the cyclist?

As a cyclist, I follow the highway road. However you appear to be saying that because the motorist is larger than the cyclist, even though it would appear that the cyclist ignored the give way signs, they are at fault.

I am a cyclist as a matter of life style choice. Every time I go out on the roads I am faced by other users who seem to have little regard for my own safety as well as the safety of others and their own. Having read John Franklyn's excellent book "Cyclecraft" I have considerably reduced my own conflict with other road users. As a cyclist I have to take responsibility for my own safety. What this means on a day to day basis is that I cycle ASSERTIVELY, this should not be confused with aggressively, I cycle in such a way as to maximise my visability to other road users, I think very carefuly about my position on the road, at times this will mean tempoarily holding up traffic behind me. I wear hi viz clothing, obey traffic lights and put various lights on my bike at night so that I can see where I am going, but more imporatntly other road users can see me.

Cyclists like the one who hit me yesterday who then "apologised" by saying that "I would have stopped but I have no brakes" when I suggested politely that he should fix his bike he told me to fuck offf and he and his mate chased me down or the cyclists on Gloucester Road last night who had no lights, are not doing a cause which is very close to my heart any good.

I repeat my question about whether or not you can ever envisage finding a situation where the cyclist was at fault.

As we are discussing issues around this tragic incident I hope that none of us forget that the person who died has friends, family and loved ones who are at present grieving his loss.

I would continue my reply but I want to get out and cycle round Ashton Court and have a cuppa at the cafe by the golf course.

GrahamB

Bristol Dave said...

Graham B, I did not suggest that the cyclist had right of way or that he was blameless.

No, the tone of the post just heavily implied it, with thinly-veiled (yet unsupported) accusations of excess speed on the part of the motorist.

Dave, how do you know what the police really meant when they said "the cyclist emerged without warning..."? If they meant he failed to give way why didn't they say that instead of inventing some new requirement to give a warning?

I will agree they didn't use the best (or rather, the clearest) langauge.

Instead of trying to blame the victims because they didn't comply with some aspect or other of the Highway Code (which nobody fully complies with anyway)

But yet you question the lack of advice about cyclists giving warnings in the very same Code. As has been said before, you apply the Highway Code when it suits you, but blithely dismiss it when it doesn't suit you, such as cyclists having to give way, or indeed, show the slightest bit of consideration to other road users.

my approach is to place the responsibility on those who are most responsible for creating the risk in the first place, probably the motorist in this case but probably the cyclist in cycle/pedestrian conflicts.

Bollocks. In a collision the motorist is no more guilty of creating risk than the cyclist, just because it has more mass. That's just a bizzare concept you've invented because it conveniently always places the motorist at fault over the cyclist, regardless of the circumstances. If you looked at it from an unbiased perspective you'd realise that both the motorist and the cyclist are equally guilty of creating risk as it's the person who is acting the most irresponsibly that is creating risk - this could be the motorist driving at excessive speed, or equally could be the cyclist shooting out from a side road without bothering to check or give way to oncoming traffic.

Can you just drop the pretence of objectivity please? It's abundantly clear that you will always assume the motorist is at fault regardless of the circumstances because you have a strong anti-car bias, the very least you could do is admit it.

MJ Ray said...

OK, not the greatest article, but GrahamB and Bristol Dave both seem to be missing two important bits of context, which I've noticed over the last three years and which I think must really annoy longer-time campaigners like Chris:

Firstly, Avon and Somerset Police reports contain their own spin. Until recently, the reports *always* stated that "a cyclist was in collision with ..." - it was never the motor vehicle who was in collision! I notice that the "without warning" bit is missing/gone from the report on the police's website at http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/LocalPages/NewsDetails.aspx?nsid=18388&t=1&lid=1 now, but did you notice how it was the cyclist who was in collision again?

Secondly, I think we've not had a motorist convicted for harassing cyclists in this area for some time, even though it feels like it's a daily event. Nationally, detections of dangerous driving in general are in steep decline (11000 in 2003 down to 7000 in 2006) and motorist-on-cyclist attack convictions are now so rare that they make international headlines.

If you'd like Chris to stop assuming that the motorist is probably more to blame than the police or papers suggest, then start questioning where the police and paper spin too!

Bristol Dave said...

Firstly, Avon and Somerset Police reports contain their own spin. Until recently, the reports *always* stated that "a cyclist was in collision with ..." - it was never the motor vehicle who was in collision!

I hardly think the ordering of the parties is important, it doesn't imply responsibility. And if the Avon and Somerset Police reports do contain spin, can you work out why this might be? Maybe it's because they're sick and tired of coming across incidents which have been caused by the irresponsible cycling so common in this city and yet so ignored by Chris et al.

Secondly, I think we've not had a motorist convicted for harassing cyclists in this area for some time, even though it feels like it's a daily event.

I'm sure it does, if a car is driving behind you as you wobble up a hill on your bike in the middle of the lane, refusing to pull to the left to let faster traffic past without hindering your own progress, but it's not neccesarily "harassment", is it?

And when I'm on my bike, I find the worst harassment by a country mile comes from buses, not cars.

If you'd like Chris to stop assuming that the motorist is probably more to blame than the police or papers suggest, then start questioning where the police and paper spin too!

But I'm not comparing Chris's assumptions to the police/papers view, I'd just like him to 'fess up to his extremely biased outlook.

But let's cut to the chase. Chris has posted an image of the road where this happened, and as GrahamB has pointed out, it clearly shows that it has two sets of parrell dashed lines. This means that anyone emerging from this junction must give way to traffic that is already on the road.

Unless the motorist, for some bizarre reason, drove up onto the pavement and over the white lines and hit the cyclist side-on as he was waiting at the junction, it is reasonable to conclude that the cyclist was hit in the middle of Hillside road, as he cycled in front of the path of an oncoming vehicle. One must assume this could only happen because the cyclist did not slow or come to a stop and check whether there was traffic approaching from either direction, as the highway code (and the law) requires him to do.

The law is very clear about who is at fault if the situation was as described, and thankfully they don't take Chris's bizarre "Blame apportioned purely on mass of vehicle" nonsense into account, so I don't really see anything wrong with the wording of the article.

Paul said...

Hi Chris,

I have contacted Bristol Police and advised them that the motorist must have CAUSED the incident purely based on the fact he had more kinetic energy at the time. End of story. I also asked them to ignore other factors such as road conditions (lighting, view obstructions, recognisability, signs, signals, surface character and dimensions), vehicle conditions (equipment condition, view obstructions, distractions, instruments, signalling devices, control sensation, comfort, automatic controls and devices, weight, performance, dimensions, stability and speed), human conditions (sensory capabilities, knowledge, judgment, attitude, alertness, health, driving/walking skill, age, customs, habits, weight, strength and freedom of movement) and the testament of any witnesses that may have been present when the incident took place.

They thanked me and said they would be cancelling any further investigation. I said if in doubt in the future just link consequence with cause and it would save you a lot of time and effort.

Paul said...

Just another quick (unrelated question) regarding this theory of yours....

2 cyclists are travelling along a road on the same bike and at the same speed. One cyclist has unfortunately become slightly overweight and so weighs slightly more. If those two cyclists were to be unfortunately involved in an incident with one another, who would be to blame for causing the incident?

Also, just one other point (Sorry). Say I was to be involved in an incident with a bus in Bristol. Assuming my calculations are correct I can be driving up to 108mph and have no blame associated to myself should I crash into the back of the bus.

Take note of this motorists, be sure to blame the bus travelling at 30mph you just crashed into the back of as long as you are below 108mph. After all... the bus has more kinetic energy so is fully to blame.

Figures below are estimated so please make sure you calculate properly before crashing to the back of a bus travelling at 30mph. I take no responsibility should the buses be empty, as most are in Bristol, as this will seriously affect the speed you can travel at before placing all blame on the bus.

Weight of bus + 30 passengers = 13,000 kgs
Bus travelling at 30mph = 13.4 mps
Weight of my car = 1,000 kgs
S = Speed of my car

(13,000 x 13.4 x 13.4) / 2 = 1167140
(1000 x S x S) /2 = 1167140
(1000 x S x S) = 2334280
S x S = 2334.28
S = 48.31 mps
48.31 mps = 108 mph

Obsydian said...

When I'm cycling, cars pull out in front of me from junctions all the time and if I go into the back of them I'm to blame. If a cyclist pulls out in front of a car and the car goes into the back of him, well, we know who is to blame.

Bristol Dave said...

When I'm cycling, cars pull out in front of me from junctions all the time and if I go into the back of them I'm to blame.

Actually, that's not true.

Generally, as far as the law and insurance companies are concerned, the person behind in a collision is at fault, but there are a couple of exceptions to this, and one of these is specifically if someone pulls directly out in front of you - in this situation it is them at fault, even though you're behind.

paddy said...

Oh Davey. The law of pain and death that makes you not be able to tell your story afterwards would say otherwise.

MJ Ray said...

I hardly think the ordering of the parties is important, it doesn't imply responsibility.

It's not just the ordering, it's that the cyclist is the active subject and the other vehicle is something which is acted upon. Why put it that way rather than "a collision between X and Y"?

And if the Avon and Somerset Police reports do contain spin, can you work out why this might be? Maybe it's because they're sick and tired of coming across incidents which have been caused by the irresponsible cycling so common in this city and yet so ignored by Chris et al.

No-one is ignoring the irresponsible cycling, but there's no data suggesting it's more common than the irresponsible driving.

I'm sure it does, if a car is driving behind you as you wobble up a hill on your bike in the middle of the lane, refusing to pull to the left to let faster traffic past without hindering your own progress, but it's not neccesarily "harassment", is it?

No, that isn't (assuming it's really without hindering one's own progress and not the all-too-common pothole-filled gutters), but having a car drive down a hill straight at you and leave you nowhere to go, rather than pull into a gap in the parked cars on their side is harrassment, isn't it? Or having a council van overtake and immediately turn left across your path and require avoiding action is, isn't it?

And when I'm on my bike, I find the worst harassment by a country mile comes from buses, not cars.

I live in a village outside Bristol. We don't have many buses (just heard our Sunday service is being cancelled completely this winter), which is part of the reason I bike in all weathers.

But I'm not comparing Chris's assumptions to the police/papers view,

Oh yes you were, assuming that the police and papers are perfectly reliable.

Unless the motorist, for some bizarre reason, drove up onto the pavement and over the white lines and hit the cyclist side-on as he was waiting at the junction,

...or the motorist was speeding along, obscured from the view of a slow cyclist by the parked vehicles in that area that limit the sight-lines (another offence which ASPolice don't often act against). Until more details are known, there are too many possibilities. Assumption is the mother of all mistakes, which is why Chris sensibly moves to generalities.

thankfully they don't take Chris's bizarre "Blame apportioned purely on mass of vehicle" nonsense into account, so I don't really see anything wrong with the wording of the article.

While you may think it's a bizarre concept, taking the mass into account (not purely, but as a factor) happens in more cycling-friendly countries.

Glad you agree at last that there's nothing wrong with Chris's wording, though!

Chris Hutt said...

Lots to respond to here so I'll start of with Graham and come back for more later.

First Graham again points out that there are give way markings at the junction and concludes that the cyclist must have failed to give way. We do not know that. It is possible for instance that the cyclist emerged well ahead of the car but was subsequently hit by it. Graham is doing exactly what he accused me of doing and jumping to conclusions.

Graham asks how I would report the collision if the motorist had failed to give way. I didn't report the collision. The police and the Evening Post did. All I have done is summarise and link to their reports.

Let's make a distinction between who was responsible for the collision in terms of contraventions of the rules and who was responsible for the consequences in terms of the amount and direction of force they bring to bear.

In these postings it is the latter aspect that I have been exploring. In terms of the former we do not know enough to justify drawing any conclusions although I have speculated that excessive speed is involved simply because it is a known problem in general and on this street in particular and it is very unlikely that life threatening injuries would otherwise have been sustained.

Graham, I have never said that cyclists cannot be at fault. In fact I've said that in cycle/pedestrian conflict the cyclist should almost always be held to be responsible, even if a pedestrian crosses on a pelican against a red man for example.

Likewise in motor vehicle/cycle or motor/pedestrian conflict I suggest that the motorist should in general bear a much greater degree of responsibility. That does not mean that actions such as disregarding a stop or give way marking/sign should be ignored but they should be given less prominence in determining who is responsible simply because such actions are within the range of normal human behaviour.

We cannot go on condemning children to death because they failed to give way when crossing a road. We must stop motorists and indeed cyclists from travelling at such speeds that the danger of death or serious injury is created in the first place. That is what the 20 is Plenty campaign is about.

Anonymous said...

This is like the BEP. Is it a sister site??

elizabeth said...

While we are arguing about the degree of the motorist's responsibility to remember he is operating a lethal weapon as well as moving about from A to B, may I draw your attention to the language in the item just below that all too brief report of the bicyclist's death:

"Buggy hit-and run-incident

PAULTON: A driver who left a woman and child injured after mounting the pavement in The Pithay is being sought by police.
The blue Citroen Xsara collided with a double buggy being pushed by the woman at about 1.30pm on Tuesday, leaving her and the youngster in need of hospital treatment.
The driver stopped briefly but then made off without leaving any details or waiting for the police.
Anyone with information should contact police on 0845 456 7000."

"The blue Citroen Xsara collided with a double buggy..." ?

The woman, and the child who was in the buggy, were on the pavement, not in a dodgem at the fair, and ended up in hospital because that car was driven up on to the pavement.

The dangerous habit of driving and parking on our pavements has now been allowed to become so respectable that pedestrians on pavements - if they can get along them past the dustbins and cars parked on them - are now in the same position as pedestrians on the road, in a hopelessly uneven contest.

Paul said...

Do the police ever release the full report after they have investigated?

Would be interesting to know what actually happened rather than all this constant speculation!

Bristol Dave said...

Let's make a distinction between who was responsible for the collision in terms of contraventions of the rules and who was responsible for the consequences in terms of the amount and direction of force they bring to bear.

Why? This distinction is not only unnecessary but completely nonsensical, and in fact has only been invented by yourself so that when you apply it to a collision involving a cyclist and a motor vehicle, the cyclist is never at fault, regardless of the circumstances. How very convenient.

WestfieldWanderer said...

There's a fool around every corner. The best of us are prone to error. Any competent driver or rider will always be aware of this. I'm sure that the driver in this incident, blameless or otherwise, will carry the mental scars for the rest of his or her life. That quiet little voice, deep inside, will always be asking: "What if...". "What if I'd carried a little less speed into that junction...".

WestfieldWanderer said...

@Bristol Dave: not nonsensical at all. That is precisely the basis of the law in other European countries regarding drivers and more vulnerable road users.
Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have defined liability legislation. This is where there is a legal assumption that motorists are automatically considered liable in law for any injuries that occur if they collide with a cyclist.
So, not invented by Chris, at all. Just the norm in a civilised country.

Chris Hutt said...

Oh WW, I wanted them to think I'd invented it. I had visions of myself as a new Galileo, ridiculed for suggesting a radically different way of interpreting our environment. Perhaps I can claim to be the first to articulate it in terms of Relative Kinetic Energy?

Paul, in response to your last point, where someone is killed there will be an inquest but probably not for at least 6 months. In any case the evidence available at the inquest may be very limited.

Often there is only one 'witness', the driver, who will inevitably have an interest in exonerating himself of any blame. Other evidence might include forensic evidence such as skid marks on the road surface which can indicate the speed of the vehicle involved.

Coroners are notoriously reactionary in their attitudes and tend to see things from the motorist's perspective. Here's one recent example - http://bit.ly/mN3Wo - where a verdict of accidental death was returned instead of the more appropriate verdict of manslaughter.

Bristol Dave said...

@Bristol Dave: not nonsensical at all. That is precisely the basis of the law in other European countries regarding drivers and more vulnerable road users.
Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands have defined liability legislation. This is where there is a legal assumption that motorists are automatically considered liable in law for any injuries that occur if they collide with a cyclist.
So, not invented by Chris, at all. Just the norm in a civilised country.


These laws are fine, provided cyclists are still responsible and courteous on the road. However, judging by a lot of the cycling I see on pretty much a daily basis in Bristol, giving cyclists immunity from any blame - and let's face it, absolving them from pretty much any responsiblity, since they're safe in the knowledge they will never be blamed for any incident - is about the worst thing you could do to encourage responsible cycling.

Especially if people share views such as Chris's, which seems to be that cyclists shouldn't have to shoulder any responsiblity for anything on the road - reference his indignance a few posts down where he implies cyclists shouldn't have to have lights on their bike or make any effort to be seen - but yet I bet he wouldn't support drivers being able to switch their lights off at night.

Imagine if cyclists had this immunity from blame - why bother giving way at a junction, even if it is right to do so, if they know that if they are hit it's not their fault - it would be chaos.

What's wrong with the current system we have here, whereby the police investigate every aspect of an incident to correctly apportion blame, rather than just assuming the motorist is at fault? It's far more objective and fair, and seems to work OK. Cyclists just don't like it because it highlights the fact that sometimes they are at fault as well.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Like I said, Dave, such a law only works in civilised countries.

Chris Hutt said...

Dave, as you would know if you read what I have actually said, I am not saying cyclists should be absolved of responsibility.

Quite the contrary in some respects because I am suggesting that cyclists should almost always be held responsible in conflict with pedestrians.

When it comes to cycle/motor vehicle conflict then yes I definitely think the position of cyclists needs to be strengthened so that they are better able to assert their right to use our streets.

At present most cyclists experience intimidation and harassment from motorists to such an extent that many people are deterred from cycling. That situation is intolerable.

WestfieldWanderer said...

Dave comes across as an intelligent and thoughtful bloke and on paper his last comment makes perfect sense. As a fairly high mileage driver myself it would also make sense, from a personal point of view, to agree with him.

But I don't. Why?

Because I know that us drivers are the greatest source of danger on the roads. I, and anyone else who thinks about it, also know that the faster I go the more danger I present to others. The difference in damage caused at 20mph compared with, say 35mph is colossal. We all know this. This is where the continental law of liability is right. Put the liability on those that cause the greatest danger. When we drive on mainland Europe we are subject to the local laws, and I know that being aware of that law tends to concentrate the mind. Having driven, cycled and walked around French towns I am acutely aware of a difference in attitude amongst road users, and I like it. In practice, I say, this apparently unfair law works. And it works well.
I rather feel that the discussion on this blog post has been clouded because the victim was a cyclist. As a cyclist I'm obviously well aware of the general British aversion to cyclists. I'm well aware of the reasons, too. You can be assured that I get more angry at bad cyclist behaviour than any non-cyclist - especially as I'm a trained National Standard instructor.

I wonder if the victim had been an adult pedestrian, lost in his ipod, or a child running into the road, that the discussion would have taken a different course.

paddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
paddy said...

Dave said:
"Imagine if cyclists had this immunity from blame - why bother giving way at a junction, even if it is right to do so, if they know that if they are hit it's not their fault - it would be chaos."

Seriously? You think cyclists want to get themselves hit? I've been hit by a car and it hurts. I wouldn't put myself in a place where it would happen on purpose no matter who was to blame.

I firstly and foremost avoid being hit because it hurts and I might die, not because of territorial issues with drivers.

I think the laws are not about immunity either. They're a starting point. In the case of most incidents right now the assumed blame often swings the other way. Time the redress the balance and reassess the bias?

I hope you don't mind if I rephrase your words from above slightly:

"Imagine if drivers had this immunity from pain - why bother giving way at a junction, even if it is right to do so, if they know that if they hit a cyclist they'll be protected by their car and the cyclist will know this too and give way to them - it would be chaos."

Real. Everyday on the roads, this is reality.

Want to get priority and have cyclists swerve out of your way because they know they'll be worse of when in an incident? Simply drive in a manner that scares them out of the way. It happens all the time.

I'm not saying all drivers do this. Some are very good and sympathetic of others. I'm not saying that all drivers who do it do it on purpose either. For some it's just an ingrained mentality, usually helped by an ignorance of other road users vulnerable situation. And there are enough of the ones that do it on purpose to make it an everyday real threat and danger to others.

Anonymous said...

WestfieldWanderer said...
Belgium - Just the norm in a civilised country.

Belgium a civilised country - funny!!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,

I think Chris has a good point here but the others as well. Lets just imagine that the car was coming from the side road and the cyclist was on the main road. If the car had crossed without looking, who would have died then? The cyclist of course even if its not his fault. My point is that whether its the car or the cyclists fault, the truth is that the cyclist is always more likely to die that the person in the car because of all the reasons that Chris has given at the end of his article. Which is why the cars should be even more careful and should be obliged to drive slower. In France, the police spends a lot of time stood up at crossings or roundabouts to fine dangerous drivers, in England never...Why is that? Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

This the cycling city whose media can't even spell:
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Peddle-power-takes-young-Bristol-cyclists/article-1494006-detail/article.html

Anonymous said...

This the cycling city whose media can't even spell:
http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Peddle-power-takes-young-Bristol-cyclists/article-1494006-detail/article.html

Anonymous said...

www.ghostbikes.org

Woodburner said...

when I did motor cycle training, the onus was on "defensive" riding - which seems to be the same as "assertive". The premise on which it is based is that in the event of a collision with a car/heavier vehicle it is the motorcyclist or in this instance, cyclist who will always come off worse. A car may receive a dent or scratch, a cyclist or motorcyclist may well be killed or maimed, while the motorist may just get a shock or minor injury. This seems to me to be a good argument for putting the onus squarely on the driver of the more powerful mode of transport, as they can inflict the most damage.

Martyn said...

I reluctantly admit I have temporarily suspended my commute by bike as I have encountered too many dangerous situations - with vans, buses and pedestrians as opposed car drivers. I can not decipher a safe enough route and really miss the Railway Path for being traffic-free. This city needs MORE greenways like this, NOT shared transport routes.