Today a driver received a 12 month ban from driving and a suspended prison sentence for killing a cyclist on a straight road in broad daylight. The court heard that the cyclist would have been clearly visible to the driver for some 11 seconds before the impact but for some reason the driver made no attempt to avoid the cyclist and struck from the rear with fatal consequences. The cyclist was the husband and father of a now devastated family. Read the news story here.
Contrast this with a case last December, where a cyclist was jailed for 12 months for causing serious injuries to a 12 year old on a pedestrian crossing. Once again, the pilot of the vehicle was inattentive and irresponsible – and undeniably at fault. Except that this time the consequences to the victim were less severe (serious injury rather than death) and the consequences to the perpetrator rather more severe (jail time rather than a driving ban and suspended sentence). Read the news story here.
There are obviously a myriad of differences between these cases, and care must be taken in comparing them. It is also beyond the ken of PCF to say either sentence is wrong on its own merits. We’re certainly not arguing that the cyclist in the second case didn’t deserve severe punishment for his actions. However, these cases do seem to betray a certain lack of consistency in the justice system and they do seem to back the CTC’s view that the courts do not treat cyclists fairly – either as victims or as offenders.
The CTC’s road justice campaign aims to change this. Have you supported it yet? If not, maybe it’s time you did.