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On Mon, 20 Jan 2003 12:49:33 +0000, Paul Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

>I'd rate avoiding buffoons as the most important single skill that any road user should develop.
>That's not trying to make excuses for buffoons, simply recognising that there will always be
>buffoons.

If only the buffoons coul;d be relied on to extend us the same courtesy. Sadly they can't. Luckily
if they fail to avoid us they won't suffer any measurable inconvenience, so that's alright.

Guy
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On Tue, 21 Jan 2003 00:19:21 +0000, Paul Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

>You're misquoting me again. I don't think the end result of the sentences are fine. I think the low
>standards of driving lead to the low sentences. So we don't need to mess with sentencing, just
>standards of driving.

Sentencing deals with the immediate effect of poor standards of driving. It sends a message. If you
don't "mess" with sentencing there's reduced incentive to improve standards.

>I just want policies that work.

Right. So start by advocating that everybody obeys the rules of the road, and takes it like a man if
caught when not doing so. If everybody just drove according to the Highway Code that would represent
a substantial improvement in driving standards straight away.

Guy
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"Richard Waters" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Paul Smith <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> [snipped]
> > No. I offer no defence for bad driving.
> >
> > >Why not accept that there are bad drivers and that they should be penalised for it?
> >
> > I absolutely do.
> >
> > >You should be agreeing with many of the arguments here for stricter
sentencing
> > >etc. because this would remove dangerous drivers from the road and incentivise everyone to
> > >drive better. That may aid your argument for
higher
> > >speeds.
> >
> > I've seen little or no evidence that using the law as it stands against bad drivers improves
> > them. They might get taken out of circulation for a while, but if they come back just as bad
> > after (say) six short months, what have we gained?
>
> As a society the way our laws are structured say a lot about the way we view the acceptability of
> certain ways of behaviour. We punish murder very highly because we abhor it. We also punish
> manslaughter highly since we expect everyone to take active steps to avoid causing death. We
> focus police time on the crimes that we most detest (or at least, those the tabloids most detest
> this week).
>
> My disappointment with this sentence for someone who was conviced of 'causing death by dangerous
> driving' is twofold:
>
> 1. that it declares such behaviour acceptable.
>
> 2. that it was too light to have any effect. No other driver will be encouraged to behave in a
> more 'considerate' (maybe 'safe' would be a better word) towards a fellow road user. In this
> case it was a cyclist killed; had the death been another driver the sentence would have
> probably been no worse and there would have been less discussion.
>
> To increase the scentence alone is a blunt weapon, but surely it would encourage better practise
> if drivers who killed someone (anyone) with their vehicle were aware that such an action had more
> consequences for them. As a society we are stating that such deaths are acceptable to us; I think
> this is wrong (and I don't limit that to the death of cyclists - I drive as well and don't want to
> die using either form of transport due to some other road user behaving dangerously).
>
> We accept that the sentence for the same action can vary according to the consequences (ABH, GBH,
> Manslaughter could all result from the same physical action - swinging a fist or a foot). What is
> the problem with the idea that in this case the driver's action (overtaking where it was not
> appropriate to do so) should be more heavily punished because it caused a death? In other
> circumstances the same action would not have caused a death. In other circumstances it would not
> even have been dangerous. In these circumstances, however, these actions did cause a death. That
> makes the offense committed worse.
>
> Arguing that the driver does not know what the likely outcome of their actions are (that they're
> ability to predict and assess risk in context is imperfect) is fine. Arguing that this facet of
> driving should be improved is also fine. However, arguing that this particular form of ignorance
> is mitigation is not at all fine. We do not accept an ignorance of biology to excuse the act of
> killing someone with an unlucky blow during a fight. Ignorance is not, explicitly not, an excuse
> under our law; nor should it be.
>
> I'd prefer a world where driver education was so good there were no accidents at all. I'd prefer a
> world where no road user was so arrogant and inconsiderate that they believed saving themselves a
> few seconds by endangering another was socially and legally acceptable. So education has a part to
> play. So does reasonable, deterrent, scentencing.
>
> The irony is (I guess) that a driver who has killed one cyclist is far less likely to kill
> another. Driver education proves to be expensive; this is a lesson that driver is unlikely
> to forget.
>
> >
> > There's no such thing as a strategy that would makes the roads safer overnight. Therefore, for a
> > period at least, we all have to make the best of the roads as we find them. Mostly this means
> > that all good road users adopt strategies of self-preservation.
> NO IT DOESN'T. It means that all _good_ road users _should_ adopt strategies to preseve both
> themselves and all other road users. Selfishness on the road is the biggest problem (IMO
> encouraged in car drivers by their isolation from those around them, but not absent in cyclists).
> To encourage an attitude of pure self-preservation is irresponsible and dangerous.
> >
> > In the medium term, safer roads can only come from better road user training and individual road
> > user responsibility.
> [abuse snipped]
>
> One way to help encourage responsibility is suitable sentences for those who show criminal
> irresponsibility. This is the basis of much of our lawmaking. People are too selfish to educate
> themselves; buying a car with more airbags/cycling on the pavement is easier.
>
> - Richard

I think that this is a very eloquent and fair-minded commentary on this subject.
 
On 18 Jan 2003 07:19:25 GMT, [email protected] (wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter) wrote:

>Does this mean adverts *lie*?? I am distraught. :)

Perrish the thort.

>The term "Lycra louts" is misleading. The "Lycra louts" I see are never actually wearing Lycra.
>They are almost always "yoof" on bikes too small for them, where they haven't a clue about what
>gear to use, wear dark clothing and don't believe in using lights, stopping at junctions, red
>lights etc., etc... Then there's the odd granny or grandad that pootle along in the gutter and
>don't think they have to stop at junctions or obey traffic lights... Don't get me started! Sadly
>bthey do exist outside of London :(

I see a lot of this kind of behaviour. Old grannies without a clue, yoof ignoring every rule
under the sun - clearly cyclists, even thought they are almost invariably driving their cars at
the time ;-)

>Hasn't the "you are a good driver" certificate already been tried in the south-west a few years
>ago? What happened to that scheme? Was it any good or just PR?

I don't know - I'll have a scout around.

>Somehow... we've got to get away from the idea that the maximum speed limit isn't a speed that
>should be driven at all of the time. People need to understand it's a maximum, not a requirement.

Sshhhhhh! You know who!

>Also need to convince plod that just because an "accident" occurred where the vehicle was being
>driven at less than the max speed limit, this still may well have been dangerous driving due to
>road conditions at the time. There are cases locally where plod has said "Can't do anything, he was
>under the speed limit" when serious "accidents" have occurred. :(

And of course they can if they want to - driving without due care requires no evidence of speeding.

>>And if the cycle is also found to be unroadworthy for other reasons, higher penalties, including
>>seizure of the bike.

>True. Can we have this about motorised transport too - where it *happens*???

I thought that was already an option - but I'd better look that up as well.

>You forgot about cutting off the goolies. Very amiss.

Silly of me :)

Guy
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On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 07:24:24 +0000, Paul Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

>>I should know better, I suppose - having posted a comment on uk.tosspot regarding the appallingly
>>inadequate sentencing of the woman who killed a cyclist recently (£135 and six points), I ended up
>>arguing the toss with Paul "Mr Safety" Smith about how the cyclist had clearly brought it on
>>himself, the sentence was perfectly proper, and stiffer sentences were no part of the answer

>You're COMPLETELY misrepresenting me.

Or maybe you misrepresented youself.

In what way is this statement:
>You say the sentence was wrong, but the way the case is reported and the way the law stands, the
>sentence was reasonable. You should not be attacking the sentence.

not saying that the sentence is perfectly proper, for example?

No, don't bother.

Guy
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"Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote > After posting the message I decided to go back and look
up your original
> post with the details in. One has to have the usual caveat about the accuracy of reporting etc but
> nothing in the article indicate she had made contact with the cyclist.

Can't you read? It says in the first line that her car hit the cyclist. See below. And you're the
only one talking of life imprisonment. The point being made is that a larger penalty than a small
fine and 6 points is called for.

"Grandmother fined over death crash

January 10, 2003 08:00

A grandmother whose car struck a teenage cyclist, causing him fatal head injuries, was fined £135
but spared a driving ban yesterday.

Jaqueline McDonald, 58, pleaded guilty to careless driving on August 23 last year while trying to
overtake Jason Salter on the A1066 Mundford road near Thetford Football Club's ground.

Thetford magistrates heard that McDonald, of Saffron Close, Brandon, failed to pull out far enough
in her Renault Scenic as she passed the 17-year-old cycling to work. Her vehicle did not even cross
the central white line.

Jason, of Rosecroft Way, Thetford, who had dreams of becoming a forensic path-ologist and travelling
around the world, "wobbled" and appeared to lose control of his bicycle as McDonald passed him, the
court heard.

He fell off his bike, suffering serious head injuries, and died the following day at West Suffolk
Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.

Giving her a £135 fine and six penalty points, Bench chairman Robin Chapman said that in no way did
the fine represent the cost of his death.

He told her: "We believe there was a momentary lapse and it was a simple manoeuvre which had tragic
consequences."

Earlier, the court heard that McDonald was some distance behind Jason and travelling in the same
direction when she first saw him.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said: "It seems that as Jason was passing Thetford Town Football Club,
McDonald began an overtaking man-oeuvre and while executing that there was other, on-coming traffic.
She didn't cross the central white line.

"Jason was veering towards the centre of the road and began to wobble as she passed. A collision
took place and Jason received injuries that subsequently proved fatal."

In a police interview read to the court, McDonald accepted fully she should have remained behind
Jason rather than overtaking.

In mitigation, Jeremy Kendall said McDonald had apologised to the family and was extremely sorry for
the accident, which she had done everything to avoid.

Mr Kendall said that while it was within the court's power to ban her from driving, there was
evidence that the accident was not entirely her fault.

McDonald was driving home after seeing her two grand-children, travelling at 30mph towards the
A11 junction.

"As she was overtaking him she glanced across to gauge whether the manoeuvre was a success. At that
stage he was sitting on his seat but reached down to the lefthand side. It appeared that then he
lost control of the bike," said Mr Kendall.

"Clearly Jason's family have suffered a huge loss."

McDonald has had a clean licence since 1965 and during that time has had no accidents or
convictions. She was also ordered to pay £60 costs.

At the time he died, Jason, who was taking A-levels at Norwich City College, was doing a summer job
at Theford industrial estate."
 
Tony Raven, in news:[email protected] scribbled ;

> After posting the message I decided to go back and look up your original post with the details in.
> One has to have the usual caveat about the accuracy of reporting etc but nothing in the article
> indicate she had made contact with the cyclist.

You didn't read it too well then ..

"Jason was veering towards the centre of the road and began to wobble as she passed. A collision
took place and Jason received injuries that subsequently proved fatal."

> "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" George
> Bernard Shaw.

Perhaps you should take a mental note of your sig line ...

--
...................................Paul-*** Seti 1330 wu in 9275 hours
 
On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 10:32:04 -0000, "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote:

>If there had been physical contact...

Quoting the article:

"A grandmother whose car struck a teenage cyclist, causing him fatal head injuries, was fined £135
but spared a driving ban yesterday."
--
Paul Smith Scotland, UK http://www.safespeed.org.uk please remove "XYZ" to reply by email Let's make
speed cameras as unacceptable as drink driving
 
Tony Raven wrote:

> wafflycathcsdirtycatlitter <[email protected]> wrote:
> >> The purpose of sentencing is punishment and deterrence, not retribution
> >
> > I agree but current sentencing, when drivers kill and maim and it is found to be their fault, is
> > so lenient it is neither punishment nor deterrent :(
> >
> > None of us are perfect, even moi ;-) but the current state of affairs is such there is no
> > incentive for drivers to be more aware of the dangers to others and improve their own driving
> > skill & awareness of other road users.
> >
>
> After posting the message I decided to go back and look up your original post with the details in.
> One has to have the usual caveat about the accuracy of reporting etc but nothing in the article
> indicate she had made contact with the cyclist.

Err... the first line states quite clearly she struck the cyclist.

> We don't know how close she passed him and at what speed and this bit about wobbling and fatally
> falling off all sounds a bit funny.

The bit that no one so far seems to have mentioned is: "As she was overtaking him she glanced across
to gauge whether the manoeuvre was a success. At that stage he was sitting on his seat but reached
down to the lefthand side. It appeared that then he lost control of the bike,"

The last few days I have been watching drivers as they overtake me and I have yet to see anyone look
across to see if 'whether the manoeuvre was a success'. It always seems that once the overtking move
is commenced the driver then ignores the cyclist (HGVs excepted). perhaps indeed they should be
looking ahead anyway at this point.

My suspicion is that the reason to look across was caused by something external - perhaps a noise, a
yell, a bump.

If that were the case then it would indicate that the wobble was caused by the collision and not the
collision by the wobble as has been implied.

John Buckley
 
On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 09:32:23 +0900, James Annan <[email protected]> wrote:

>This is much easier to achieve (roughly speaking), and would be made more progressive and fairer,
>by switching VED to fuel tax.

I thought about that, but the annual VED thing has the beneficial effect of requiring people to show
an MoT and insurance certificate to someone.

A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the increase in fuel duty to cover the switch would
be around 7p-8p per litre, assuming average mileage. Hmmmm.

Guy
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On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 00:37:05 +0000, Paul Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

>>The result is that they commonly have lower rates of cyclist and pedestrian fatalities than we
>>do...

>RESULT???? Have you got ANY evidence at all for that bizarre idea?

Only DfT policy papers.

Guy
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On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 12:47:49 +0000, "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:

>>>I should know better, I suppose - having posted a comment on uk.tosspot regarding the appallingly
>>>inadequate sentencing of the woman who killed a cyclist recently (£135 and six points), I ended
>>>up arguing the toss with Paul "Mr Safety" Smith about how the cyclist had clearly brought it on
>>>himself, the sentence was perfectly proper, and stiffer sentences were no part of the answer

>>You're COMPLETELY misrepresenting me.

>Or maybe you misrepresented youself.

>In what way is this statement:
>>You say the sentence was wrong, but the way the case is reported and the way the law stands, the
>>sentence was reasonable. You should not be attacking the sentence.

>not saying that the sentence is perfectly proper, for example?

Of course you could have read a little further.

>No, don't bother.

<sigh>
--
Paul Smith Scotland, UK http://www.safespeed.org.uk please remove "XYZ" to reply by email Let's make
speed cameras as unacceptable as drink driving
 
"Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> But passing close, while being inconsiderate, is not in itself deserving of life imprisonment. The
> driver had also managed 35 years of accident free driving so was either extremely lucky or was
> generally a reasonably careful and competent driver.

IMHO passing too close is dangerous. There is lot of leeway bteween £135 + 6 points and life
imprisioment (which I never mentioned). I don't think a ban and re-test, or at least some training,
would be out of order. I've also managed many years of accident free driving, some of it due to
luck, I'm not perfect either (very far from it) but can't afford to take luck for granted. I also
know people who haven't had an accident for years whose driving scares me and others, if their luck
runs out it may be big style. Some things I've witnessed are inexcusable, I'm not saying the lady in
question behavior is such as I didn't witness it.

If nothing else reading about and discussing these things makes one reflect on ones own behaviour.

Pete
 
Michael MacClancy <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> Can't you read? It says in the first line that her car hit the cyclist.

Sorry, I stand corrected. Memo to self, do not try to think before first cup of morning coffee

Tony

http://www.raven-family.com

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" George
Bernard Shaw.
 
On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 09:09:45 -0000, "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote:

>The purpose of sentencing is punishment and deterrence, not retribution

Then explain the difference in sentencing between common assault, ABH, GBH and manslaughter, all of
which can result from precisely the same action and are entirely dependent on the degree of injury.

>There but for the grace of God.

That is precisely the attitude which I would argue against. It ignores the fact that we owe a duty
of care to other road users. It presumes that lapses of concentration and deciding to take risks
which impact more on others than on ourselves os perfectly reasonable, and it's only bad luck when
it ends in tears.

>I don't know and haven't read the circumstances of this particular case but if you are perfect in
>all your judgements and decision making while driving or cycling I take my helmet off to you

The circumstances are that a driver decided to overtake too close to a cyclist (remember
http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/15.shtml and http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/20.shtml) and caused his
death. She admits fault. She admits that she should not have overtaken. And, as so often, she was
allowed to drive home from court.

I'm not asking for prison sentences, but it should not be too much to ask that people who kill
through negligence don't get to drive home from court.

Guy
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On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 09:18:33 +0000, Paul Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

>What really happened in this case is that the lady driver failed to anticipate that the cyclist
>would wobble, collide, fall off and die.

And who could possibly have predicted that it would happen? After all, there is nothing to indicate
that this possibility exists other than a couple of rules in the Highway Code (and who reads that?)
and a bit of common sense.

Guy
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"Paul Smith" <[email protected]> wrote

> snipped If we could push for higher standards of driving such that anticipation of such basic
> things was required, then I think all would be satisfied, and all would be safer. If basic
> anticipation was demanded of drivers, then she could have been prosecuted for causing death by
> dangerous driving.
> --
> Paul Smith Scotland, UK http://www.safespeed.org.uk please remove "XYZ" to reply by email Let's
> make speed cameras as unacceptable as drink driving

I think that the sort of anticipation required in this situation is fully within the scope of the
current driving test. Basic anticipation is a prerequisite of anyone on the road, whether driver,
pedestrian or cyclist.

Face the facts. This woman was overtaking the cyclist and didn't cross the white line. I would
suggest that there aren't many roads where that is possible whilst still allowing the cyclist
adequate space. Secondly, she admitted that she should have stayed behind. The evidence in the
report suggests she was driving dangerously. The penalty should be a ban and a compulsory retest.
What's so extreme about that?
 
"John B" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
>
> The bit that no one so far seems to have mentioned is: "As she was overtaking him she glanced
> across to gauge whether the
manoeuvre
> was a success. At that stage he was sitting on his seat but reached down
to
> the lefthand side. It appeared that then he lost control of the bike,"

Yes, I've been pondering that bit. I'm trying to think what I do during a typical motoring
overtaking manouvre, whether bike, car, whatever. I think it goes something like: Hang well back
until road ahead is clear, check mirror, indicate, commence overtake and watch road ahead. Then,
depending on speed differential for timing check nearside door mirror and/or interior mirror to see
if clear of overtaken vehicle so I can pull back in. I can't imagine diverting my eyes to the left,
let alone take in what a cyclist may be doing with his left hand, especially if as stated there was
oncoming traffic.

But I wasn't witness to the event in question so can only go by the report.

Pete
 
On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 15:32:04 -0000, "PDannyD"
<[email protected]> wrote:

>Anyway, this is a cycling newsgroup so how about trebling the cost of fuel and tax disks? ;-)

An obvious solution and I can't think how I missed it :-D

Guy
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On Sat, 18 Jan 2003 17:04:48 +0000 (UTC), "Peter B" <[email protected]> wrote:

>I can't imagine diverting my eyes to the left, let alone take in what a cyclist may be doing with
>his left hand, especially if as stated there was oncoming traffic.

Especially when you remember the terrible tendency to follow the eyes
- remember the training? Someone coming the other way, look at the escape route not the other
car? Maybe we've hit on the reason for the crash.

Guy
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