Friday, February 29, 2008

Red light and bull

It seems that some young lass has been jailed for killing a cyclist.
A motorist who was texting on her mobile phone when she hit and killed a cyclist has been sentenced to four years in prison.

The 25-year-old from Hythe, Hampshire, was driving at 45mph in a 30mph zone.

This seems pretty cut and dried, doesn't it? After all, texting whilst you are driving is wilfully fucking dangerous. Certainly Kiera Coultas does deserve a harsh punishment; and yet... [Emphasis mine.]
Jordan Wickington, 19, died from head injuries when he went through a red light and was struck by Kiera Coultas' car in Southampton in February 2007.

I have written about the lawlessness of cyclists before and, notwithstanding the comments about careless drivers, etc., just speeding through a red light is an incredibly stupid thing to do if you are a cyclist (quite apart from being illegal): it's pretty fucking stupid if you are driving a car, but at least you have a couple of tons of metal (plus all the other features) to protect you.

Mike Power makes the same point.
The cyclists family said after the sentencing that they hoped his death would be a lesson for other drivers. Yeah, I agree. But there's is surely also another lesson here isn't there? One for cyclists?
  • When you are cycling you are a road user not a pedestrian.

  • Traffic signals apply to you just as they apply to cars.

  • Cars, vans and lorries are big dangerous pieces of machinery moving at speed so you might like to think about wearing a crash helmet.

So, I think that there's a lesson for both drivers and cyclists here: the main one for cyclists is that the laws of the road apply to you too, you fuckwits. That means stopping at traffic lights and zebra crossings when required to do so. Otherwise, you could easily be killed.

It's not a difficult concept, is it?


ingram said...

I think it's a pretty harsh sentence compared to other drivers who get less for accidents of their own full responsibility. The chap who cycled through the red light unfortunately got what inevitably coming to him.

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

Even more so on two wheels.

DK once again shows he's a tool said...

Yea, blame the victim you tool. Imagine if the lights were green and he rode through, would MS 45 mph text messager have come to a halt then? The colour of the lights are moot here.

Once again you've shown why all your plans for new parties and manifestoes and the like are doomed to fail. You're simply far too unpleasant to attract any sympathisers outside of that all important miserable wanker demographic.

Devil's Kitchen said...

You really are a fuckwit, aren't you?

Did you see the bit where I said, "After all, texting whilst you are driving is wilfully fucking dangerous. Certainly Kiera Coultas does deserve a harsh punishment...

And I deliberately did not say that it was the victim's fault: however, both parties must bear some blame here.

Seriously, what is it with you? If the other person had been in a car and had gone through a red light, would you get so stroppy?

Is it because I am criticising cyclists for breaking the law, or what?


Sir Henry Morgan said...

The cyclist asked for it - so she gave it him.

Maybe he didn't deserve to die - after all, jumping a light isn't a capital offence. But he WAS in the wrong.

And she too was in the wrong. He dies, she goes to jail.

Who ever claimed life - or death - is fair? Got no sympathy for either of them.

Shit happens.

JuliaM said...

"Yea, blame the victim you tool..."

Are you claiming the victim bears no responsibility for his own death?

Yes, she shouldn't have bbeen texting. And no, she shouldn't have
been speeding.

But as the light was red, the idiot cyclist shouldn't have been there to be hit in the first place!

Longrider said...

I see your troll is on fine form.

From an advanced driving and riding perspective, if you get involved in an accident, it behoves one to ask what, exactly one could have done to avoid it (assuming one survives) - fault not being the issue; survival is. As a motorcyclist I tend to anticipate the stupidity of others and take avoiding action. If I fail to avoid them, that is my fault and I am the one who is likely to die as a consequence.

As for the colour of the light being moot - he committed a road traffic offence. It ism, therefore, hardly moot, it was a significant contributing factor. Had he obeyed the lights, there would not have been a collision and he would be alive today. The cyclist died ultimately as a consequence of a failure in his own risk management.

You cannot control the actions and stupidity of other road users, only your own and that is what keeps you alive.

Budgie said...

My father never took a driving test and drove accident free all his life.

He said 'drive as though all drivers are idiots - including yourself'

Also 'it usually takes two mistakes to make an accident'

Daily Referendum said...

Another Darwin award winner approaches the pearly gates.

The woman deserves punishment but four year is far too much.

Rosie said...

I think you have to live in France to meet really suicidal and arrogant cycling behavior.This is accompanied by such aggressive lycra wearing that sometimes I am blinded at the wheel...

Womble On Tour said...

Cyclist thick enough to go through a red light gets killed. It's called Natural Selection.

Tozznok said...

I wholeheartedly agree with DK. I'm a cyclist who cannot drive (yet) but I make all the same judgements I would do in any other vehicle. I also agree with what budgie said about driving as if all other drivers are idiots; that's a good plan.

verity said...

Rosie - Absolutely! The most aggressive. Even more aggressive than French drivers who practically hook their front bumper onto your rear bumper travelling down narrow, curvy country lanes. This is absolutely true: A woman was once following me down the curvy lane to my village and she was so close I could actually see her roots. (She wasn't a natural blonde. Also, I didn't care for the colour of her nail polish. Yes. She was that close.) But the cyclists are even more aggressive and self-centred. They overtake, on their busy little Lycra-clad pedalling legs, on bends and offer simple, easily understood, sign language to motorists who are a)not travelling fast enough on dangerous roads and b) don't appreciate the cyclist's IMPORTANCE.

Darwin candidates every one, except they endanger others. With this incident, it looks as though the cyclist who didn't think the red light applied to him, and the woman going over the speed limit and texting at the same time were pretty much of a draw.

John East said...

You say the message for cyclists is that the laws of the road apply to you too....

But don't forget the message to drivers:

In our sick society, which is fueled by envy of those that cannot afford to drive, and hatred of those perceived to be destroying the environment, you are only tolerated as a revenue raiser. Should you make any mistake we will come down on you like a ton of bricks. We hate you so much your punishment will be more severe than that often handed out to muggers, drug pushers, rapists and child abusers.

You have been warned.


This must have been one of the few cyclists who actually ride on the ROAD!today every path is a cycle track,and if you are a pedestrian,watch out because as far as cyclists are concerned you have no right to be there,if the law intends to uphold the highway code as in this instant,they should remember that cycling on the pavement is also a crime, and enforce the regulations,but we live in a time when all laws are arbitrary.

Rob said...


Don't be idiotic. What you said was bollocks. The vast majority of cyclists use the road, not the pavement. The minority who use the pavement should be punished.

The majority of cyclists also stop at red lights. More cyclists jump red lights than car drivers, and any who do so and get hit by cars have only themselves to blame.

There is a nasty undercurrent among about cyclists, that the reckless behaviour of the minority makes the majority fair game for abuse or worse. Don't tar us all with the same brush.

Tomrat247 said...

Agree with Budgie's pops - pedestrians are not free from guilt either on behaving like idiots.

In Leeds one of the main student areas, Headingley, is a very scary place for drivers to go; the majority of young people walking or cycling around there seem to have no knowledge of the greencross code or even basic common sense; you can be driving at quite a reasonable speed and they will walk out in front of your car and be surprised when you get irate with them. I swear one of these I will leap out and beat the next dread-locked white-boy from Croydon with a tire iron.

They scare me, but not as much as those same student idiots when they join the corsa/punto/mini-brigade - they really take the piss with road safety.


Am I the only one who detects a slight ambiguity in some of the phrasing of some of the BBC's article? -

"It occurred at precisely the worst time because you failed to see the cyclist who was crossing the road, having gone through the red light..." it just appears that that comma could easily make it seem like she was the one who ran a red.

knirirr said...

The majority of cyclists also stop at red lights.

I think not - come to Oxford and take a look.
Of course, there are circumstances where it is safe for them to jump red lights, and circumstances where it is not. The trick for them is knowing which is which.

John East said...

rob said,
"The vast majority of cyclists use the road, not the pavement."

You used the word bollocks to Englishman, so I'll use it to you.

I do not know where you live, but in Oxfordshire, it is de reguere to cycle on the pavements and jump red lights.
I used to live in Wantage, and I saw a pedestrian knocked down on the pavement by the village bobby who was on his push bike.
OK, it's nice to see plod out of the station and out of their cars, but I thought this was taking it a bit too far.

Boy on a bike said...

I cycle to work nearly every day, and let me tell you, it shits me to tears when I am patiently waiting at a red light and some tool goes cruising past me and runs the red. Their fucking arrogance and impatience drives me up the wall. I feel like chasing them and bashing them over the head with my pump.

I don't care what the silly cow in the car was doing - the guy on the bike was taking a known risk and the risk caught up with him.

Sympathy from me - big fat zero.

Takjam Nereksuf said...

I think that it is an unspeakable harsh sentence. I live in Denmark where the same case would have ended up with a fine or a year in prison at most.

It would have depended whether she was working or not. If the killing was done so to say in the line of duty it would have been a fine.

A young driver driving a lorry smashed a minibus with elderly people and they all burned to death. He was fined. A group of cyclist near Aarhus rode all over the road and a driver killed two. He was fined.

Her speeding was not serious in our country. Everyone would have gone at this speed. When I first heard about the story I took it for a story from Africa and not from a civilized country.

Is she a foreigner? It looks like the Mads Timm case, where a Danish soccer player was convicted for a traffic accident done by a car, he was not even in. He is now a key-player on a Danish team and he got the job, because we all know that the sentence was unfair because he was a foreigner and a no-good women wanted her 5 minutes of fame.

You should do something about your court system or people would stop seeing you as a part of Europe.