The case of Charlie Alliston who is currently in court facing a manslaughter charge for killing a pedestrian is getting a lot of media coverage, and it’s surely not just because of the shortage of good news stories in August.
Mr Alliston ran into Mrs Kim Briggs, 44, on Old Street in London. She suffered major head injuries and died a week later. It has been revealed that not only was he doing over 18 mph, but the bike he was riding was a racing model – a “fixie” with no brakes, i.e. with fixed pedals and no front brake when it is illegal to ride such bikes on public roads. He apparently shouted to her to get out of the way, and even shouted at her after the crash.
This is not the first such case. The Daily Mail published a good article by Chris Greenwood earlier this year giving some of the data and other cases. He reported that the number of accidents between cyclists and pedestrians had soared by 47% in seven years, rising to 408 in 2015. He noted several pedestrians were killed which resulted in prosecutions of cyclists. He also reported that the biggest regional spike in the numbers was in London (226 accidents in 2015).
Now I have commented on the problems caused by some cyclists riding “furiously” on London streets before – in a blog post entitled “Are Cyclists Racing on London Streets?” where I came to the conclusion that they were – if not against each other, against themselves – based on the recording on Strava of trip times. As a result I got an enormous amount of abuse from a few cyclists.
After a lot of analysis, I came to the conclusion that the comments did not undermine the main point of the article and I said “it is very clear from anyone who walks, cycles or drives in London that there are a minority of cyclists acting in a somewhat dangerous way both to themselves and other people. In other words, cycling at an excessive speed in relation to road hazards and other road users”. This latest case simply reinforces the message that there are dangerous cyclists in London and the problem is getting worse if anything.
Why is Alliston riding 18mph a factor in this? Cars drive faster and its not a cyclists fault if a ped doesnt feel like using crossing.
Without doubt it was wrong to ride a bike with no front gear but was it the decisive factor? I am not sure. Motorcyclists are trained to not break but continue during a crash. Alliston may have thought moving out the way of the woman may have been enough and more effective than using a front break (if he had any). So Alliston may be a prick and irresponsible but not to blame for the death.
Alliston not having breaks was an innevitable accident but then so was a woman crossing the rd, not using a crossing and being on her phone.
I think the fact that he did not even attempt to slow down but simply shouted at Mrs Briggs to get out of the way will not assist his case. Don’t understand your comment about motorcyclists continuing during a crash (and the spelling is brake, not break). Are you suggesting that cyclists should “ride through” collisions with pedestrians? But regardless, as you say he was irresponsible and hence probably contributed to the accident – and the court will no doubt decide on legal principles whether blame is to be apportioned.
Well i typed that and this on my phone so forgive punctuality and grammar.
Cyclists and motorcyclists dont have the comforts of a huge piece of carbon protecting them. Nor do they have an airbag. Breaking at high speeds suddenly isnt always advisable otherwise you may go for a summersault in mid air.
I dont expect Alliston to get the benefit of the doubt as most of jury/ies are motorists and so are likrly to acquit their own kind. However, motorists are less tolerant toward cyclists and think they shouldnt be on the road at all.
Another thing to consider is that cyclists breaks are not as powerful as cars.
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