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Wanton and furious driving


Jonathan Tolhurst
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I have been following a UK court case relating to the extremely sad and tragic death of a pedestrian who died as a result of being hit by a cycle that was not road legal (In the UK bikes have to have a front brake which the cyclist's bike did not have although these "Fixie" bikes are quite common in London). The reason for my interest is that the cyclist was prosecuted under a very old (1861) offence of causing GBH by "wanton and furious driving". This offence appears to be used when it is not possible to prosecute under modern road traffic laws; apparently, it was originally created to deter people from driving horse carriages recklessly. I am not sure if it could ever be applicable to EUCs, although its use (and the use of the 1835 Highways Act) does suggest that modern laws need to be written in the UK to reflect current and future modes of transport. It's a really tragic case and my heart goes out to the family of the pedestrian who was killed.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-41034492

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41036581

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What is the guy actually trying to accomplish?

If I understand it correctly the cyclist has been convicted using an existing (albeit old) law. So why campaign for more/other laws?

And on another note: how many times does this kind of accident happen, on a population of how many cyclists?

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Here it is called reckless driving, like swerving and speeding without caring about others and seems like a good law.  About two years ago, a jogger was on a bike, run, and walk path, and suddenly turned not looking back and got hit by a bicyclist at high speed, killing her.  I don't remember if there was a charge, it might have been accidental manslaughter.  It was on the Katy Trail in Dallas, it used to be a rail line used by the now defunct Katy Railroad now converted to a bike trail.

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Fortunately in the USA we do not charge drivers for killing pedestrians even if the pedestrian in crossing on a walk light in a crosswalk.

http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com/Articles-News-c-2017-07-19-201532.114137-sub-Pedestrian-Killed-While-Crossing-Manchester-Road.html

July 19, 2017

A woman walking across Manchester Road was killed Tuesday morning when she was hit by a car.

She has been identified as Colleen Pijut of Des Peres, Capt. Sean Quinn of the Des Peres Police Department said, adding she was in her 50s. The accident happened shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 18, at the intersection of Manchester Road and Blase Avenue near the Olympic Oaks Village shopping center in Des Peres, according to the Des Peres Police Department.

Pijut was crossing Manchester Road heading north – she was in the crosswalk and had a green light – when a Chevrolet Malibu heading north on Blase Avenue turned left and struck her, according to Cpt. Quinn. There were no signs of impairment and no criminal charges have been filed, he added.

Pijut was transported to Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur, where she was pronounced dead.

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47 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

Fortunately in the USA we do not charge drivers for killing pedestrians even if the pedestrian in crossing on a walk light in a crosswalk.

That's a good thing, pedestrians can look and see if it is safe to cross a road, the onus is on them.  My head is on a swivel when crossing roads.  Cars can't stop instantly.

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This situation is tragic for both sides. The cyclist certainly did not wake up that morning planning to kill a innocent woman leaving behind her grieving husband! 

It is interesting that the UK court decided to contrive a charge against the cyclist that was originally created to deter people from driving horse carriages recklessly.

New laws do need to be formulated. Hopefully legislatures in my country will continually update laws to keep up with new technology. In your case if UK courts empirically apply antiquated laws to modern day circumstances they will eventually prosecute an EUC owner for operating in a perceived erratic fashion.

Best to perform your 'penny spins' in a secluded area without surveillance cameras.;) 

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