After work I had a quick look at the news and came across this article. Beware it may, if you have any sense of proportion or fairness, make you very angry.
Let me summarise the facts. Not hearsay, but the facts.
Driver is driving badly.
Cyclist is cycling in a perfectly reasonable manner.
Driver hits cyclist and kills them.
Driver has killed a cyclist due to bad driving before.
Driver claims the accident happened due to being 'momentarily' distracted for some reason.
Cyclist must take some blame because they weren't wearing a helmet.
First off, let me be perfectly clear. Momentary distraction is absolutely no excuse for killing a cyclist. None whatsoever. In fact I covered this very issue in a recent blog on a different case. If you are driving in such a way that being distracted for a moment causes you to hit another road user then, I'm sorry, but you are not driving safely at all. What ever happened to driving within the conditions and forward planning? Are these not important skills for a driver these days?
But it gets worse. Much worse. The judge suggests, and I quote,
"Mrs Fyffe wasn't to blame in any way for the accident. However, she was not wearing a safety helmet and that in my view contributed to her death."What?!?
No. I'm sorry. Whether this lady was wearing or not wearing a completely ineffectual (for anything above a 12mph impact) piece of polystyrene, it did not contribute to her death. The evidence, and here I am talking about scientific evidence, in no way suggests that wearing or not wearing a helmet will make any difference to your likelihood to die if you are hit by a car. In fact, there are realistic situations where wearing one could indeed contribute to your risk of dying.
It is very obvious that the judge took absolutely no account of the fact that the cyclist is the vulnerable person here. The driver, by the very fact that he is driving a potentially dangerous weapon has a duty of care for more vulnerable road users. Instead the judge has sent a very strong message out to cyclists and potential cyclists.
Don't expect the law to provide you with any protection. Your only protection is a couple of centimetres of polystyrene.
So to any of my readers who dislike cyclists; if you want to kill a cyclist and you want to get away with the lightest punishment possible, and you want to cause further pain to the cyclists relatives by burdening them with the thought that their loved one was, in some way, also to blame, even when they weren't......
Aim for cyclists without helmets on.
To the vast majority of my readers who want roads that are safe for all, a law system that actually protects vulnerable road users, and who want to send a message to judges such as the one in this case that we will not stand for outcomes like this, join us on the 19th May at 3pm at the Meadows for Pedal on Parliament (POP) 2. POP whilst fighting for money for cycle infrastructure spending also calls for Sensible road traffic law and enforcement in our manifesto.
Together we can make tragedies like this and miscarriages of justice like this a thing of the past.