Sunday, 8 August 2010

Death of a biker

This is a troubling case involving the killing of a motorcyclist. The biker was overtaking in a perfectly lawful manner when a van driver pulled out without warning, evidently not having considered the possibility that there might be a motorcyclist or a cyclist overtaking him. It’s a situation I recognise as a cyclist: drivers in heavy traffic often never consider the possibility that there might be a cyclist either undertaking them in the cycle lane or overtaking them in the middle of the carriageway. Without bothering to ‘think bike’ drivers lurch left or right without looking in their mirrors and without indicating. This, it seems to me, is grossly negligent.

In this case the motorcyclist collided with the van and was knocked into the path of an oncoming car, and died from his injuries. I would have thought on the facts as they are reported there was a case to charge the van driver with causing death by careless driving. The Crown Prosecution Service evidently didn’t think so, but then the CPS has a very questionable record when it comes to the killing of cyclists by van drivers.

The van driver was evidently disturbed by the fact that

There was a car in front that was leaving a large gap in front. I don't know what he was doing.

Perhaps this driver was simply a careful driver who saw no need to accelerate and catch up with the motor vehicles in front. The van driver presumably was thinking about filling that gap when he pulled out in front of the overtaking motorcyclist.

Orazio D'Agostino was driving the silver van which hit Mr Gotting. He was interviewed by Essex Police but no criminal charges have been brought against him.

He told the court: “There was a car in front that was leaving a large gap in front. I don't know what he was doing.

“I moved slightly out. It was just a slight manoeuvre. I was just seeing what was happening. It happened so fast, I didn't expect him to hit me. It was in a flash literally.”

A bit like these crazy cyclists, I suppose. As we know, cyclists just appear out of nowhere, quite often as they morph from their normal condition of total invisibility into that brief moment when they collide with a car.