Wednesday 6 May 2009

Kill a pedestrian and be absolved of all blame

This cyclist was walking along a country road at night, pushing her bike. She had a pedal missing. She was committing no offence, and was walking on the correct side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

The bus driver came towards her, failed to see her, and drove into her, killing her.

She was wearing dark clothing at night, which in coroner’s courts up and down the country is excuse enough to be killed by a driver. The idea that a driver should proceed cautiously, only within range of their headlights, and be prepared to slow down, is a rule of the road which has long since been abandoned. Country lanes are now deathtraps for cyclists and pedestrians, whether at night or in the daytime.

A BUS driver has been cleared of any blame for the death of a cyclist knocked down and killed on an unlit country road in Doncaster.

Bus driver Stephen Barker gave evidence that he did not see Ms Davis at all before he hit her as she pushed her mountain bike along Adwick Lane, Toll Bar, where there are no streetlights Mr Barker told the inquest: he was using dipped headlights because of oncoming traffic when he heard a loud bang which he thought was an impact with tree branches. But when he realised the windscreen was smashed he stopped.

He said: "I got off the bus and then a passenger said he believed there was a body in the ditch."
Ms Davis, who lived in Askern Road, Toll Bar, had suffered severe injuries and probably died instantly, the inquest heard.

Police collision investigator John Glossop said she was wearing dark clothing, had no light or front reflector on the bike and repeated viewing of the bus CCTV tape failed to show Ms Davis on the road. He said: "The cyclist was effectively hidden from the view of oncoming motorists. Tracey would have been extremely difficult to see."