The Driver's Site for the East Midlands

Welcome to Drivers' Union East Midlands.
Our Mission: Better road safety at lower cost. No unnecessary delay or slowing of road transport. No unnecessary or unjust prosecution of safe drivers.

Motorists & Drivers' Union is at

For specific topics click the appropriate label (above).

Search This Blog

Thursday, 20 February 2014

This Judge has got it badly wrong.

A cyclist crashes into a stationary car during a cycling training run, heart monitors the lot and gets £50,000 from the driver. Story here 

Surely the same rules should apply to cyclist as to drivers? Only cycle at a speed at which you can safely stop? We all know that the brakes on bikes are not as efficient as those on cars, and bikes are not as stable or as easy to stop so why not ride accordingly? Didn't the Judge understand this?

For some peculiar reason he has gathered, from the length of scrape marks, that the car had only just stopped. Even so, the speed and style of the cyclist will have been a major factor in the damage and injury sustained. The fact is that it matters not how long the car was stationary, it's only the cyclists speed that caused all the damage and injury.

This judge got this badly wrong and I hope there will be an appeal so that the award is decreased by a great deal.

This judgement does nothing for cyclists safety. When will our politicians understand that European sedate, upright local cycling is totally different from the high speed sports style riding that is being encouraged on our roads.

The faster cyclists ride, the more danger for them.


  1. A more detailed account:

    The Judge didn't believe the defendant's account that he had been stationary for 30 seconds, and found that he had overtaken the cyclist and then immediately come to a stop in front of him, causing the accident through negligent driving.

    To answer your question: yes, the same rule was applied, regardless of whether the other road user was on a bike or in a motor vehicle.

  2. Well it was down to the Judge's subjective view yes. Interesting no criminal charge though. But the speed and style of the cyclist is the only cause of the injury and damage. Clearly the judge did not consider that at all. Cycling speed and style affect likelihood of crashing and injury. It ain't rocket science. The only speed involved was the cyclists.

  3. The Judge had access to evidence that neither you nor I have, so we are not in a position to say whether his subjective view was right or wrong. Based on the information we have, we can say:

    1.- Someone with a full view of the evidence concluded that the driver's negligent behaviour was the primary cause of the accident; he also found no indication that the cyclist's speed was a significant cause.

    2.- Contrary to what you state above, the Judge clearly considered the cyclist's "style" (behaviour), to the tune of a 25% cut in damages for contributory negligence.

    I know you'd struggle to relate to a cyclist, so let's give a driver-only equivalent scenario: you are driving at 30mph giving yourself plenty of room ahead of you; a car overtakes you, pulls up directly in front of you and slams on the brakes; you don't stop in time, and crash into the car. A Judge finds that the other car driver was negligent and caused the crash, but you contributed slightly by changing the volume of your radio as you were driving. In that scenario, was your "speed an style" of driving "the only cause of injury and damage"?

    1. Yes that's the problem in your answer at 1) The point I made was that at the time of collision the only thing moving was the cyclist so there can be no doubts that his speed and style was a major factor. Chances are that a nice sedate European style upright rider may well have stopped or at least sustained far less injury.

      I am trying to get the courts and politicians to understand that cycling speed and style will increase their injuries and their accidents too. Or do you not accept a no brainer?

      I am a cyclist so I am not sure why I would 'struggle to relate' to common sense at all?

    2. You seem to be saying that the "speed and style" of the last vehicle moving in a collision is by definition the "only cause of the injury and damage". I've never come across this idea before, let's apply it elsewhere:

      Car A is travelling at 60mph on a straight main road with good visibility towards a T-junction. Car B is at the junction intending to enter the main road, and negligently jolts forward into the path of car A. At the point of collision car B is stationary, car A is doing 40mph. Based on your rule, there can be no doubt that "the speed and style of [car A] is the only cause of the injury and damage". Does that sound right?

      What you are arguing is that cyclists should travel as slow as possible (is 10mph sedate enough), in order to accommodate the negligent and dangerous behaviour of other road users. Why not address the negligent and dangerous behaviour in the first place? If we extend your rule to all road users, we should force drivers to slow down to e.g. 20mph at every T-junction, just in case somebody else behaves negligently.

      I'm sure courts and politicians understand that as a group of people increases its use of the public highway, more incidents will happen. What they need to focus on is tackling the dangerous behaviour of the people causing the incidents, not the lawful behaviour of the victims.

    3. Yes of course. The kinetics of the moving vehicle will be the sole energy of the collision and will be a major factor of the outcome. A racing style al la Wiggo and higher cycling speeds will unquestionably be a major factor in the injury and the chances to avoid the accident. You seem to be denying a no brainer.

    4. Re blame. That is not the point. You blaming a driver or passenger who suddenly opens a door for your death or becoming a veggie, doesn't make you feel better does it? So you don't believe in taking any responsibility at all for your own welfare to depend on other humans who make mistakes as we all do? What aren't humans able to make mistakes and errors in your world then? So cyclists never ever make mistakes? Is that it then?

    5. I ride a more upright hybrid bike, I don't wear lycra, I can still keep up with traffic(suddenly keeping up with traffic is a bad thing? It used to be a bad thing to go slower) but you're saying, that if someone cuts me up and stops at a red light without leaving me enough space to stop safely from the speed limit or slower or swerve, it's somehow MY fault? And it's somehow MY fault if I go into the side of someone who just failed to give way while I'm traveling at the speed limit? What a load of BULL, ALL of the blame would lie with the person who cut me up or failed to give way to me, any police officer, juge and jury worth their salt would see that, even the average road user would be able to see it.

    6. Oh you are silly. A fact if a cyclist collides with a stationary object it's his velocity which affects the outcome. That insn't blame or fault it's the kind of reality that mustn't be ignored for road safety and by judges.

      Does cycling addle brains?

    7. Keith, based on the comments to this story it appears that you only publish other people's comments once you have your own response ready (e.g. my comment from February 27th is nowhere to be seen, presumably because you chose not to reply to it - or maybe it's due to some technical confusion?).

      This is your blog and you are free to do as you wish, but I would hope that you would either a) publish all comments (except offensive/off topic material, of course), or b) make it clear that on here you will always have the final word and you will not publish comments you don't fancy replying to.

      Anything other comes across as dishonest.

    8. No my responses are immediate and without long preperation and this is an example. When one has a grasp of a subjject it takes no time at all to respond. Don't forget I do live media without any prior knowledge of the questions and comments. What I do is make a point, or float and idea after I have already been my own Devil's advocate and tested it to destruction myself for flaws. Then I am willing correspondents to break those comments with something I hadn't considered. What I don't do is capitulate to nonsense or anything that fails to address the issue. What would be the point of that.

      I am not here at the beck and call of everyone. I don't get paid, unlike the road safety anti driver industry and groups, and certainly won't indulge bat and ballers and ping pongers either.

      You are lucky to get anything published and I only answer most comments from patience and politeness but not as an obligation.

      All that was composed as I typed it. :-))

    9. If you're not deliberately withholding responses, it looks like you are doing so accidentally. Here's an illustration of what I mean (all the timestamps are off by about 8 hours because it seems your blog is configured to use US Pacific time):
      - My [20th Feb 05:16] post didn't appear until your [25 Feb 08:11] response did.
      - My [26th Feb 03:01] post didn't appear until your [26 Feb 05:12] response did.
      - My [27th Feb 03:33] post has not appeared on the site, presumably because you haven't replied to it.

      I'm just highlighting this technical issue so that once you fix it everyone gets to see the whole content of the discussions on your blog; or, if you're not looking for open discussion on here, at least it'd be good to know so we can stop wasting time on it.

    10. No I am not witholding comments but I am deleting ping pong stuff and comments of a personal nature too.

      I am not paid for this so no-one should expect a reply to anything and think they're lucky when I do. Road safety and driving work must come first.

    11. I wasn't expecting a reply to my 27th Feb post, but I would have expected it to appear on the site as part of the discussion.

      The post certainly didn't contain anything objectionable "of a personal nature", and I'm not sure what you mean by "ping pong stuff" unless you mean "opinions that differ from mine". You could just publish the post and let readers decide.

      The bottom line is: if you are interested in a discussion on here (as the fact that your blog accepts comments would imply), then it would be useful if you would let readers see the discussion. Otherwise, there's very little point in anybody taking the time to engage you on here.

    12. No. Don't expect anything. The whole point is to administer posts. Yes I do publish anti comments and reply to them too. Oh yes, by your logic, there should be no reply to rubbish. I am a volunteer worker and spend too much time already with time wasters who really are about impressing others on social media but not actually contributing to their community.

      So the point of this forum is to actually await a response to which I am unable to disagree or prove wrong. That's how I test my ideas after I have already tested them to destruction. I don't advance ideas until I have done that. It means that an idea, a notion has now turned into a reality or a fact until disproved. It's no good coming on here and saying 'it's wrong because I say so'

      Now you either agree that a cyclist's speed will affect his ability to stop and his injury or you don't. It really is that simple. Sensible people will accept that as a matter of fact. The Trolls simply accept no truth at all. So stick to the central point and explain why a cyclist's speed and style won't be a factor in his accidents. If you can explain it rationally I may even agree with you but perhaps only because I already now you can't deny a fact. :-))

    13. The irony is that my 27th Feb post specifically addressed your point about cyclists' speed being the only cause of injury. Allow me to include it again here, in the vague hope you may choose to publish it this time, though it's becoming increasingly clear that you are not interested in discussion: as you explain above, you consider your long-held opinions to be automatically facts by definition.

      Ah, I hadn't considered you could mean "cause" in the trivial sense of "immediate physical cause". Are you really concerned that judges don't know that the faster the victim of an accident is travelling, the worse the injuries will be? Lobbying to highlight that fact seems as useful as lobbying to clarify that in stabbings, it is "only the hole in the body that causes all the damage and injury".

      Blame (i.e. who is at fault in an incident) doesn't make the injuries better, but it is what we use to determine what lessons to learn and action to take to reduce incidents in the future. The lesson from the case reported above was: negligent driving should and will be punished.

      users with different degrees of vulnerability travel on our public highways. Some users do so lawfully and considerately, others do so negligently and dangerously. You seem to believe that the solution is to remove the vulnerable users; I'm happy that the courts disagree with you and want to tackle the negligent ones instead.

    14. Again you need to criticise me and yet again fail to accept a simple truth. If the car was stationary, even suddenly stationary, only the cyclist's speed would have caused the damage. It's significant that this was a civil case where there was no prosecution or finding of guilt of dangerous driving.

      If the judge failed to account for the cyclist's speed then it would be a good grounds for appeal. Or in your world, drivers do not qualify for justice at all?

      Now that is it on this topic for you. My time is valuable.

  4. Hi, I posted a further reply to this comment thread last week, but it hasn't appeared; is it still awaiting moderation, did it get lost through some technical glitch, or have you decided not to publish it? It would be nice to know one way or another.

    1. If your comment had been rejected you would've been notified so I don't know what happened to this one and I can't recall it.