back to article British drivers face jail for causing death by dangerous driving

The Sentencing Guidelines Council has released its definitive guidelines (pdf) for sentencing in cases of dangerous driving which result in death, describing them as "serious" and worthy of "appropriate sentences". The guidelines tackle four offences: causing death by dangerous driving; causing death by careless driving under …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Pointless sentence for a pointless offence

    There is absolutely no need for a causing death by dangerous driving offence.

    Its either murder or it is manslaughter.

    Getting behind the wheel when pissed should be classed as attempted murder.

  2. Liam

    hmmm

    "Other guidelines recommend a tariff of up to three years' prison "where death follows careless driving", with "higher sentences where there is a combination of aggravating factors", plus a maximum of two years "where death results from an offence involving driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured"

    - wtf? so no insurance etc gets you sod all? for me hammer the uninsured. they are dangerous and will screw you up if you have a collision with them.

    driving under the influence is an odd one. i dont (couldnt live with myself if i hit someone whilst high, plus you will never know if it would have happened or not otherwise) but the mrs smokes pot and drives. she drives much slower and is generally a better driver than when straight. also if fighter pilots can fly supersonic jet planes on speed (army issue) then why cant we? drugs like ephedrine, speed and coke all enhance your reactions! they are banned in sports events for a reason...

    also - you may cause death by being 'high' but was it actually your fault? seems harsh if you have a collision caused by someone else then they find you are high and you get 14 years!

    generally a good rule as people should be straight whilst driving - maybe also a rule for people like my mum who thinks she needs to speak with her hands even when driving (scary shit hehe)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about some commenting guidelines

    Having had a quick scan of the comments on the BBC's version of this article (twat-o-tron overload) I expect to see a flood of comments along the lines of "why can't they give longer sentences to <insert serious crime>; only the other day a bloke murdered five kiddies and got off with community service!!!!!".

  4. Michael
    Dead Vulture

    Funny stories

    http://forum.ctc.org.uk/viewtopic.php?t=13132&sid=ef9dd846027f916224a445cd0894abc9

    (what people get up to behind the wheel)

    http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/dangerous-driving-convictions-drop-ctc-fuming-16249

    (ctc view on dangerous driving)

    http://dev.bikeforall.net/news.php?articleshow=281

    (as is this one)

    The last one shows there is no clear definition of "dangerous driving" .... this needs to be clarified urgently

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lawmaking with due care and attention

    So basically, whenever an accident occurs, the parents will come on TV, do their sobbing, and to appease them you'll do a dangerous driving conviction for every accident.

    And the chance of conviction will be the difference between how plausible a victim is and how plausible a bad guy the suspect is. Regardless of the details of the case.

    Let me guess, there was something on TV and the politicians felt it necessary to rush out some new law to ride that PR wave? Was that it? Or perhaps something in the papers?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Pointless sentence

    Yeah, but for some reason it's NEVER treated as such, so over here we have people killing people on bicycles and motorcycles and in other cars, and it's "$80 and 200 hrs community service"

    And I'm not exaggerating.

    One of the reasons I'm in the American Motorcycle Assn is that my member fees pay for lobbyists to push exactly this sort of law, plus I've also contributed $1000 extra earmarked specifically to the lobbying efforts.

  7. Adrian
    Dead Vulture

    Twat-o-tron

    I think it is about time to reconsider the words of poet John Cooper-Clarke:

    "Bring back hangin' for everyone"

    It's the only way to really stop crime.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Proof...

    Regarding the texting part of the legislation, if you just received a text, and then crash how can they prove you were reading it at the time, or had pulled over read it and the crashed or you could drive for five minutes till you think you are in a safer place to read the text and then crash. It's going to be very difficult to prove.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When are they going to do something about people who smoke cigarettes while driving?

    See title.

  10. Edward

    Yet another...

    ...highly interpretive law they can use to kick you when you're down.

    Its either murder, manslaughter or an accident. Stop trying to blur the very well defined lines, this an attempt to gain yet more power over the legal system.

    "So we can't get him on manslaughter, because it's looking like it was an accident. Don't worry though, we can still get him..."

  11. Dan Maudsley

    Harsh but fair?

    "Getting behind the wheel when pissed should be classed as attempted murder."

    That does have a neat logic to it. Under these guidelines someone who glances at their phone to see who's calling and then mows down an old lady crossing the street will be done for causing death by careless driving and could go down for three years. Someone who glances down at their phone and is spotted by a police officer but causes no accident is liable to an on the spot fine of £60 and three points on their license - yet both people have done exactly the same thing. That was why so many people avoided jail in cases of careless driving (as opposed to dangerous driving or driving under the influence, which are more serious) because the law used to be based on punishing the deed. Now it's based on punishing the consequences of that deed, which is probably less 'just' but satisfies our vengeance culture. The flipside would be to punish every careless driver with prison - but then that's probably unworkable, even in this prison happy country.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Murder or Manslaughter

    Amen AC (14:08): You're absolutely right; a car is a deadly projectile... in the hands of an incompetent or impared driver it is no more different than wandering around the street blindly waving a loaded shotgun.

    I like the way the word "accident" keeps getting brandished about. I once had an "accident"; the first winter after passing my test I slid across the road and bumped into the opposite kerb damaging nothing more than my pride. THAT is an accident. When I took out two sheep on a country road many years later I very nearly didn't ever get back in the vehicle m- even though technically it was not my fault. There is an attitude problem rife in this country... cars are seen as a right, and not a responsibilty. This needs to be addressed.

    Right - I'll just put my 9inch Daily Mail back into my pocket.

  13. Lisa Parratt
    Flame

    Bloomin' cyclists

    Given http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/7496757.stm , I think cyclists should get their own house in order before they start moaning about deaths by dangerous drivers.

  14. Martin
    Flame

    @ "When are they going to do something about people who smoke cigarettes while driving?"

    Oh do piss off, you vile twunt.

    Do you think it would be better to have all the smokers driving round in a nicotine-withdrawl rage? Just how much concentration do you think it requires to smoke a cig, anyway?

  15. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    @Martin

    Oof. Calm down, Martin. Have a fag.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Liam RE: other person's fault

    IIRC a few years ago there was a was big story on the local news that started something like: "Woman's husband killed by drink driver but she has to pay for it". Turned out that although the woman's husband was killed in a car crash, and the other driver was drunk the accident had been entirely her husband's fault (he pulled out without looking, the drunk wasn't even speeding). The pay bit was she lost her no-claims and excess.

    The drunk driver was only charged with drink driving (and banned of course) and nothing else.

    Which implies at least that in order to cause death by <insert death causing medium here> you have to actually cause the death and not just be an incidental part of it.

    Regarding the potted driving I think the problems are (1) she drives slower. That is going to piss a lot of people off and possibly cause more accidents and (2) her reactions also will be slower, so although she may well be taking more initial care and reducing her speed somewhat she will not be as equipped to deal with surprises as a non druggy driver.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tough on crime, tough on stuff that loosely correlates with crime

    Is this 2 laws a day now? I'm wonder here, it looks like they get up at 5am, do a breakfast meeting, read the papers, knock up a law before breakfast, publish it by noon and have the interview points for the evening news.... regrets follow much later..

    And that insurance thing is a joke, there's no causal link between not having insurance and having accidents. There may be a correlation, but then so is driving a red car, or having spiky hair, being old. Yeh driving while old could get an extra 2 year penalty....

    So what have we run out of causality and now being tough on correlations?

    Or are they making the laws *before* the morning coffee kicks in now? I guess if I watch British TV tonight, I can predict what tomorrows laws will be? Not even a pretense of leadership, just do whatever the morning papers tell you to do?

  18. Arnold Lieberman
    Paris Hilton

    S'funny, I thought only speed kills?

    Saw an article in the Saturday Bigot on, um, Saturday about some bint who crashed into another car on the motorway, killing the other driver. Of course the headline screamed about her doing 95Mph and it was only in the test of said article that it mentioned she was twice the drink-driving limit AND using her mobile phone at the same time. if only there were more speed cameras around!

    PH, cos she probably thinks speed cameras are the answer.

  19. Rick Eastwood

    That Drugged up driver

    Its that kind of attitude that people used to have for drink drivers.

    "Ive only had three pints. It makes me play pool better so I can drive" etc etc and other such bullshit.

    You've had too much to drink (pretty much any), you smoked too much pot (no matter how much), the same to me. Youre both arseholes who should not be driving while in that state.

    To claim that just cos your mrs drives slower and thats OK is just frankly mental. If she got caught Id hope the book got thrown at her. It doesnt matter if shes had an "accident" cos shes an accident waiting to happen if shes driving while stoned.

    No excuses.

  20. Stef
    Flame

    @Lisa Parratt

    that's right, one asshole who thinks he's got the right to be an arrogant tool makes ALL cyclists into murderers. What a pile of shit, really.

    How many deaths are caused by cyclists? in the last year, last decade? not just in the Uk, lets go for the whole world eh? Get out of your polluting little personal world and smell the fumes.

    Cyclists get it tight on the roads, I've had taxi drivers intentionally attempt to take me off my bike, people in their 4X4's thinking that it's cool to drive in excess of the 30mph speed limit less than a foot from you in suburban streets, busses, lorries, the list goes on.

    Get out of your car and get onto a bike in whatever city you live in. I think it should be a requirement that every able bodied person who wants a driving license should have to cycle in their city for at least a month - then we might see some responsible driving.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Concentration to smoke a cig

    I've yet to see a smoker who could light up while concentrating on anything else. Hell, I had to shout at one to hit the brakes while he was lighting up and his car survived for that reason.

  22. adam
    Flame

    @lee

    "regarding the potted driving blablabla..........."

    do you even know what you are talking about? do you have any evidence to back up the "fact" that it slows your reactions? i drive potted all the time and i concentrate a hell of alot more, and find that my reactions are alot better. are you even speaking from experience or are you just coming in with the usual "pot is evil" attitude? Fyi luv, different drugs have different effects, and no i dont drive mashed, bt having some actually helps my driving,so bugger off.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Martin

    It's not the smoking, it's the lighting. You're playing with fire. I never got used to my dad using matches to light a cigarette while driving. It takes both hands and an amount of coordination and concentration that not everyone possesses and might lead to dire consequences when they're found lacking. It's also difficult to use your fag hand for anything other than steering or putting your ciggy in your mouth.

  24. b

    cars are seen as a right, and not a responsibilty

    For great swathes of the country cars are more of a necessity.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Stef and some other ramblings

    I think that anyone who gets behind the wheel stoned deserves jail time - whether they have a collision or not. It's irresponsible and it's askign for someone to get killed. I think stricter penalties might emphasise that message and do some good but it seems like a very loose definition on what falls into different categories, meaning the whole thing is wide open for abuse...

    In regards to Stef's comment above:

    "people in their 4X4's thinking that it's cool to drive in excess of the 30mph speed limit less than a foot from you in suburban streets, busses, lorries, the list goes on."

    -- Whatever the problems of cycling on the road, that's where bikes are supposed to be. I agree that the councils are not that great at getting bike lanes installed everywhere but even when they ARE in place, hardly any cyclists use them (at least not near Bristol).

    Personally, I get sick to death of idiots on bikes slaloming through pedestrians and usually clipping someone in the process - It's got to the point where I'm quite willing to barge a cyclist into a wall if they get too close to me on the pavement - Turnabout is fair play and all that. (To clarify, I have no real issue with someone quietly pedaling along at not much more than a walking speed - They're being careful, so fine - it's the morons who think they're doing the downhill slalom that I despise...)

  26. Tom Willis
    IT Angle

    2 laws/day? not even close

    According to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/2254464/Gordon-Brown-breaks-record-for-new-laws.html

    Currently cruising at 2800+ laws/year, up from 1700+ a couple of decades ago. Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

    At 10 months' sitting/year, 5 days/week call it a round 200 days, that is well over 10 laws/day. Add in the EU laws, and what do we get? And I wonder how that compares internationally. IT must be the wrong business to be in...

  27. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    In the word of Sargent Angel

    'Road traffic collision' because 'accident' implies that no-one is at fault.

  28. Steve Murphy
    Paris Hilton

    @Lisa

    So cyclists cannot complain about the poor drivers because one cyclist does something wrong.

    By that logic, you should STFU and get your own house in order - you are a human being and so is Mugabe, so sort out inflation first.

    Predicable icon

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Liam

    "- wtf? so no insurance etc gets you sod all? for me hammer the uninsured. they are dangerous and will screw you up if you have a collision with them."

    No, the important word here is "plus";

    "'of aggravating factors', PLUS a maximum of two years"

    So its two years ADDITIONAL time on top of the time you get for "death by careless driving charge".

    I read it the same as you until I read it out to a colleague.

    That aside I've never understood why the courts jail you for dangerous driving and ban you from driving a car while your inside. For example I've seen someone jailed for 5 years, and had a driving ban to run concurrently for 3 years. This was for killing two people. This meant while he was inside he couldn't drive (I know what you are thinking) and when he's let out, around the half sentence mark for good behaviour, the ban will have finished \ be finishing.

    wtf is the point of that?!

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Potted driving

    Anyone see '5th gear' where they tested a dope smokers driving when straight and stoned, and got identical results, except the smoker 'felt' like he was driving faster when stoned, so took more care?

    @Lee 'My reactions are better!' Yea, drink drivers chant that mantra too.

    @Martin (Smoking cigs when driving) Several years ago my Ex ran a dog over after the end fell off her cig into her lap. (Fortunately nothing worse than a broken leg, and she still cried a few times) She mounted the grass verge as it ran out of a gate.

    If a smoker can't go that long without one, they have a problem that should discount them from driving anyway.

  31. Jamie
    Linux

    @ AC

    Why did you not put your name on the log?

    I had this arguement with one of the knob jockeys at my old job who could not see how you could be charged with attempted murder by getting drunk and then driving. But he believed that someone taking a gun and shooting into a crowd was different. I believe they are the same thing.

    As for mobile, until they put more cops on the roads instead of cameras it will not make any difference. I drive the M4 everyday to and from work and always see people on the motorway using thier mobile.

    Then you have the stupid idea over here that people who steal cars while too young to drive get sentences like not allowed to get a license for a couple of years even though the sentence will expire before they come of age.

  32. Geoff Mackenzie

    I wasn't careless, officer

    Just really, really high.

  33. Dave Harris

    Re: driving, smoking & lighting

    If you can't find an open piece of road or traffic jam/lights to light up in (and muscle memory can't tell you where you're fags and lighter are) then you should just bloody wait. I can't remember the number of times I've not even remembered lighting up until I remember wanting a smoke and realising I've already got one.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Statistically

    If you have had a few and get into an accident, because the body is more relaxed your chances of suffering physical harm is reduced.

    So, when a person gets into an accident suffering physical harm when sober, they should be allowed to sue the socks off those who called for drink driving to be made illegal. Some people maybe here today had they been drunk at the time of the accident.

    It is a funny old world, but you would have thought by now, we would have made cars that were super cheap, had built-in sensors to avoid collision, and were made primarily of foam. If that was in place, then I wouldn't be surprised if you had to have a few drinks or some relaxant to further reduce the chance of injury.

    We can do a hell of a lot more than stopping drink driving to make the roads a safer place, but for some reason we seem to think that is the major cause, when in truth it is probably due more to bad luck, the fact a car is made of a material that can kill, and just lousy driving.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tough on stuff that loosely correlates to crime...

    What about them dangerous dogs, why I sure hope they have some new law by tomorrow evenings news on dangerous dogs.... ;)

    I saw on telly a poor woman who'd been attacked by a dangerous dog, the dogs owner, well, maybe if he had compulsary dog attack insurance or something that would fix it!

  36. Martin
    Flame

    @ all smoking posts & replies to me

    When you smoke a fag upwards of 20 times per day, the whole lighting a fag thing becomes a matter of coordination rather than concentration.

    I have tested this before, the last time I had an argument in the Real World with someone who reckoned that cigs and driving are dangerous. I demonstrated to them that without exception, I can go through the whole process of finding and lighting a fag without ONCE taking my eyes from the road, even for 1/1000 of a second. The trick is to keep one's cigs to hand (the door pocket works for me) and to have an easy to use, reliable lighter. People who use matches (or hand roll cigs, yes I've seen it!) while driving DO have something wrong.

    Of course, anyone with an ounce of sense lights up whilst sat in traffic, or in a similar low-danger moment, rather than while traversing a busy roundabout for instance.

    Similarly, one can let ash fall into one's lap rather than flicking the ash out of the window (or indeed the nub end into the ashtray) at a tricky moment. Most of the time (and at any time that it is necessary) both hands are on the wheel. As for dropping lit fags (the last time this happened to me was 7 years ago..) the sensible motorist realises that a fag burn in the carpet is considerably less serious than a wrecked car, and pulls to a safe stop by the roadside before retrieving the troublesome cig.

    On the whole smoking a cig while driving takes about as much concentration or effort as scratching one's balls while driving.

    /flame icon for users of dodgy lighters

  37. Claire Rand

    proof?

    they need proof now?

    one person in a car.. guilty obviously, thats how it works now innit?

    you own a car you must be guilty unless you prove otherwise.

    of course the standard of said proof will be very high, afterall we don't want people getting ideas about not pleading guilty do we...

    sigh.

  38. Pierre Silver badge

    One law to rule them all

    As stated before, some politician trying to look like the're actually doing something. One law against careless driving, one law for carelessely firing a gun, one law for carelessely swinging an axe, maybe a law for carelessely dropping a nuclear warhead? When you get your license, you're told that your 1.5 tons pile of sharp metal is a death machine. If you use it carelessely, it's manslaughter (or even murder, I've heard that a guy purposedly ran over a nasty lazy pinko demonstrator a couple years ago). No need for a shiny new law, just have tribunals enforce existing ones.

  39. Aha!
    Pirate

    Obvious, really

    If you're involved in a car smash with a mobile, all you have to do is run back and wave a knife at the other guy.

    Labour's already refused to jail people for that offence. Spare the knife and get a decade in prison... what a message to send.

    I'd really like to think that this is sarcasm, but my imagination can't keep up with the current government.

  40. Pyros

    @Pierre

    So... just to catch 'em all, we should make a new law about capital crimes for carelessly making new laws at the drop of a hat?

    We might catch Mr. Brown-is-the-color-of-my-pants with his trousers down and send him to a place where pants might be optional!

  41. PT

    String 'em up, it's the only thing these people understand

    Clearly the UK government is soft on crime! Over here in the US, we know how to deal with people who have so-called "accidents", like this young woman who dozed off at the wheel and ran into some kids wandering around on a motorway -

    http://www.courttv.com/trials/williams/background.html

    What they don't tell you in the linked article is that the jury found her *not guilty* on all charges related to the actual accident, and her sentence (48 years) was based on her admission that she smoked a joint occasionally.

  42. Liam

    hmmm

    @ "When are they going to do something about people who smoke cigarettes while driving?" - its an

    interesting one this. i smoke. i have crashed my car due to the end falling off and almost

    setting me alight! - this is why i dont smoke rolling tobacco any more - btw - no injuries as i

    managed to hit my bosses car in the car park - doh!

    but then again - lets ban women drivers as they cant not look you in the face whilst driving and

    talking, lets ban the radio as you have to bend down to turn the station/volume, lets ban loud

    music as you cant hear the sirens of the police etc, lets ban phones altogether as hands free

    often means still pressing plenty of buttons to do shit... where do you end? remember the smokers

    have been massively funding society for years - what is it now - 2000% tax on them?

    on to cycling - can we see laws against these twats who dont know how to use the road

    (undertaking, ignoring lights, swapping lanes willy-nilly)

    @ "Regarding the potted driving I think the problems are (1) she drives slower. That is going to piss a lot of people off and possibly cause more accidents and (2) her reactions also will be slower, so although she may well be taking more initial care and reducing her speed somewhat she will not be as equipped to deal with surprises as a non druggy driver." - i fully agree mate - as i say i dont smoke or drink and drive as i know im impared... by drive slower i mean she doesnt speed everywhere! you know what 20 something women are like - little nigel mansells (without the tache!)

  43. Chris G Silver badge

    A load of bollocks

    Coming from everyone who is defending their abilities to smoke / drink / get hi, whilst driving. Check out the research, it is a FACT that the human brain can do two or sometimes more things at once BUT it just spreads out the available processing power and does them all less well. This is from scientific research over the the last two years. If you are more relaxed, you are not concentrating, if you are speeding, you have a shorter attention span and are still not concentrating. For the guy who said he concentrates more it should read `is trying harder´ because his abilities are impaired. Any thing you do that is in addition to the task in hand will compromise the initial task. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Just try being honest with your selves, and be empirical when assessing abilities, subjective opinions are meaningless and cloud the issue.

    Before any one tells me to get off my high horse, I used to drive drunk, stoned and high at various times in the sixties and seventies, sometimes all three at once . It is something to be ashamed of not proud about, it's just luck that I never killed or hurt anyone including myself.

  44. Mr Larrington
    Flame

    @AC

    "I agree that the councils are not that great at getting bike lanes installed everywhere but even when they ARE in place, hardly any cyclists use them"

    There is a very good reason for this. Most bike lanes are crap.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/

    Back on topic, here is how much difference this will make: 0. The CPS is notoriously reluctant to bring cases against motons which /may/ result in a custodial sentence. I don't see this changing any time soon.

  45. Alan Fisher
    Pirate

    Don't have a go at cyclists please

    I'm a serious cyclist and, while I won't defend the type of cyclist I cannot stand; those who ride on the pavement and ignore traffic signs, i have been hit and badly injured by motorists TWICE whilst following the rules of the road and wearing Hi-Viz clothing!! Drivers treat all cyclists with contempt and I have had to use some pretty flash moves to avoid being injured more often......many drivers disregard other road users and this law cannot come soon enough for me.

    For anyone who may challenge me so, I would also welcome Cycling Licenses on a compulsory basis and it'd stop us real cyclists getting such a bad reputation

    back to topic, yes a car is a dangerous weapon and if it's misused, then the user should be appropriately punished....

    using your mobile in the car has been illegal for ages now so there's no excuse

  46. David
    Flame

    @ Pretty much every rant

    @Martin. Here Here! I use the cigarette lighter in my car to light my fags (See, it's not just for powering the satnav!) I can do it one handed, never need to take my eyes off the road and it takes less effort than changing gear (or scratching your balls, as Martin so eloquently put it).

    @Stef. I think anyone who wants to cycle should be made to drive for a month, so they can see just how selfish and inconsiderate cyclists are. Slaloming in and out of traffic waiting at lights, scraping within inches of my paintwork when I give them several feet, pulling in front of cars at that bit where the cycle lane stratches over the whole lane at traffic lights, not to turn right, just because they can, ignoring traffic lights, riding side by side so no cars can get past them, I could go on.

    @anti pot people. As has been mentioned, people smoking pot are three times LESS likely to have an accident than straight people. I will conceed that this is slightly akin to saying that, by driving at 25mph wherever they go makes old people 3 times less likely to have an accident, but winds up every other road user and makes them more likely to cause an accident, so it's still bad and a little bit stupid, but please try and get your facts straight before going on a rant, it makes it so much easier to get your point across

  47. Michael
    Dead Vulture

    @Bloomin' cyclists

    Death by dangerous cycling gets a £2200+ fine, whereas overtaking a cyclist on a tractor with a trailer, giving insufficient room, and fatally sandpapering them against a wall gets an £800 fine and some points?? CTC is looking for clarification on dangerous driving ... it is set to include drivers that do NOT allow a cars width when overtaking , as per the rules of the road. ( you can see/avoid the danger, = difference between inconsiderate & dangerous driving).

    Try telling me there is absolutely no bias.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A difficult problem (in the technical sense)

    It is very hard to draw up fair laws to deal with accidents that are "caused" by factors like someone having drunk alcohol, smoked pot, using a phone, reaching for a mint, tuning the radio, trying to read road signs, being short of sleep, or just having a sexual fantasy.

    Take the bloke who got a hefty prison sentence because he reached for a mint while driving alone on a motorway. While his attention was distracted (probably a second or two) he swerved, and eventually hit another vehicle and caused a crash in which deaths occurred. The court took the view that his inattention caused the crash, and the crash caused the deaths, so his attempt to get another mint caused the deaths. In short, manslaughter or whatever. But thousands of people do similar things every day without causing accidents (or not so obviously and undeniably) and they do not get punished at all - although what they did was exactly as culpable. No more and no less. Indeed, if the man in question had simply chosen not to mention the mint and his momentary distraction, he would almost certainly have got off without a prison sentence - perhaps without any punishment, or even blame, at all. He could simply have said "I dunno what happened - one moment I was driving along, then the car suddenly swerved..."

    Or take alcohol. Once an issue reaches the public eye, and therefore the political limelight, there is an unfortunate tendency for it to blot out everything else - including common sense. A blanket ban on alcohol would be neither practicable nor reasonable. I recall an episode of "The Bill" in which inspector Gina has a few one night, drives to work the following day, is involved in an accident, and found to be driving under the influence. The factor that is always unmentioned in these discussions is "how long does it take alcohol to be completely metabolised" - because no one can say precisely. So a demand for "zero blood alcohol" means that, if you ever drink alcohol in any quantities, you must never drive a vehicle; and vice-versa. I don't think that would work, in a society where most of us (have to) drive, and most of us also like to have a few drinks.

    Personally, I feel that while I prefer to be stone cold sober, I can manage a car safely after perhaps one pint of beer or a glass of wine. Two pints, a couple of glasses of wine, or any spirits, and I would call a taxi or whatever. This way, I think I stay within the law; but, more important, while my driving is certainly impaired, it is within acceptable limits.

    How can I say any impairment is acceptable? Simply by comparison with other everyday impairments (some of them unavoidable), such as: having a cold, having had an argument, being angry with my boss, having had less than 8 hours of sleep every night for the last week, or even driving through a cloud of toxic fumes emitted by a bus or lorry. Or listening to the radio, or having two passengers conducting a conversation in the car while I'm driving. Or worrying about income tax, or my pension, or a leaking roof... Not to mention musing happily about some sexy film star, or thinking about my next holiday. Or, as has been demonstrated by experiment, being distracted by trying to make sense of a forest of road signs. The list is long.

    Actually, I would like to see much more attention given to the role of sleep deprivation in causing accidents - and not only on the roads. Our culture actively conspires to deprive people of the sleep they need to be at their best, by forcing many of us to work 40-hours weeks (or longer), often with ever-lengthening commutes, and insidiously encouraging us to make the most of our leisure as well. Result: burning the candle at both ends. How many crashes are caused by drivers who never even realise they are falling asleep?

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    mehh

    hi, im not trying to be an idiot but im used to smoking pot, i dont drive too slow, i drive normally, i wouldnt get behind the wheel if i didnt trust myself - i thinnk drink driving is completely different, giving you false confidence , whereas with weed i have always been more cautious. i am not trying to enforce my opinion on others like some people posting, and im not saying everyone is the same as me, but i know myself and would never drive if i had drunk at all because i know it makes me worse, but im still seen as a pillock because i drive whist stoned. fair enough if some people smoke whilst driving, why not? its not exactly rocket science to do, just because some people have the brain capacity of a tea spoon doesnt mean others do........

  50. Liam

    hmmm x3

    in response to some of the above.

    1) any decent smoker can light up a cig without taking their eyes off the road... plus i have an automatic. plus, its not like smokers light up whilst going round bends etc. all the ones i know do it when stuck in traffic or on a long strgight road.

    "As for mobile, until they put more cops on the roads instead of cameras it will not make any difference. I drive the M4 everyday to and from work and always see people on the motorway using thier mobile." - phones are an odd one. for example, while driving on a motorway (i.e. big fucking long straight road) how dangerous REALLY is it to use a phone? for me to answer my phone i have to put hand in pocket (2 secs) then press a button and put to ear (1 sec) - not exactly super dangerous is it? never taking eyes off road. but like everything in this world a few stupid people take the piss and everyone is banned. ive seen plenty of people texting whilst doing 50 in a residential area - its these idiots that fuck us all up!

    @ "Clearly the UK government is soft on crime! Over here in the US, we know how to deal with people who have so-called "accidents", like this young woman who dozed off at the wheel and ran into some kids wandering around on a motorway" - yes, that why in the US ive seen LOADS of highway videos of officers letting off drunken drivers as you dont use breath testers everywhere (anywhere?). i can pass one of your sobriety tests easily when over the limit. and i can also do that test for pot smokers when stoned and pass (the one where you move finger in/out in front of nose). i have actually seen US officers put blatantly pissed drivers back in their cars and tell them to go home!

    @ "i have been hit and badly injured by motorists TWICE whilst following the rules of the road and wearing Hi-Viz clothing!! " - is one of these rules that cyclists think they can undertake and wonder why you alomost hit them? as a driver you DONT NEED TO LOOK IN YOUR LEFT WING MIRROR! you dont even need one, but almost all cyclists think undertaking is ok. when i was a kid on a cycle i had no idea how bad cyclists are for car drivers.

    @ "For anyone who may challenge me so, I would also welcome Cycling Licenses on a compulsory basis and it'd stop us real cyclists getting such a bad reputation" - i did one at school when i was about 8 - by 9 we couldnt give a shit and did what we wanted - but those were the BMX halcion days and i knew people who used to jump moving cars etc!

    yes - there is bias towards cars on the road - i wonder if thats because motorists pay for the roads and cyclists pay fuck all?

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most Ridiculous Idea Ever Award Goes to:

    Quote:

    Where death results from an offence involving driving unlicensed,

    disqualified or uninsured, the maximum sentence possible is two years.

    The level of seriousness will be based on why the offender should not have

    been on the road, with driving while disqualified being the most serious when

    the starting point is set at 12 months imprisonment.

    So if you've already done something to get banned from driving, then go out and kill someone when you shouldn't be driving at all, you get a much shorter capped sentence?

    maybe I should get banned for something minor quick. In case I have a bad day and get careless later..........

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    A colleague of mine...

    ...has a friend who has been in three car accidents which were caused by smoking behind the wheel.

    Apparently, each time the accident was due to him trying to flick the cigarette out of the closed window. Some people never learn.

    In any case, it's now possible to serve a longer sentence for killing someone by accident than for killing someone deliberately. Fair and just legal system? Hah!

  53. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    @Lisa Parratt

    "Cyclist kills pedestrian and gets £2000 fine" is big news because it happens so rarely.

    Meanwhile "Lorry driver ignores Give Way sign, kills cyclist but only gets £275 fine" only makes the local papers because such things are commonplace.

    http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/Widow-outraged-at-39ludicrous39-sentence.4268357.jp

    And for those who criticise some cyclists for dangerous riding, I agree that they're putting themselves in jeopardy (and shouldn't do it), but, apart from some very rare cases, that's pretty much *all* they're doing. Whereas someone in control of a ton and a half (or more) of metal puts many others in jeopardy by failing to pay attention...

    ... "Sorry, mate, I didn't see you"

  54. Alan Fisher

    @Liam

    No mate, I always stay inside and behind if I suspect even for a second that the driver is going to turn. I got hit by people NOT following the rules. Also isn't the left side where pedestrians come from normally?

    my example is this, one occassion I overtook. It was at a junction and the driver was signally to turn left. So the lights changed and I can reasonably overtake on the right, yes? I did so but the traffic didn't move as fast as the driver liked so they swung out and, had my reactions not been quicker and I prepared for anything, i would not be writing my rants, I got off with a broken hand and dislocated shoulder and 6 weeks off the bike. FOR FOLLOWING THE LAW. Ok a lot of cyclists are idiots who flaunt the rules of the road but motorists seem to think it's ok to hassle cyclists because we're all breaking the rules innit? I've been buzzed and cut up and beeped and sworn at and god knows what for using the one mode of transport which is both healthy and truly green....

    I mean mandatory cyling licences, you have to take a cycling test and police have power to nick cyclists who flaunt the rules and also drivers who give us a hard time.

    Drivers seem to think they are gods once they get behind the wheel and can do no wrong; try a week on the roads of Cork and tell me how much fun it is

  55. Mark

    Simple solution

    Simple solution to all this:

    All driving offences (speeding, failing to indicate, insurance, using a mobile, whatever . . ) attract a 3 month ban and you are required to retake your test before getting your license back.

    Currently the penalties completely fail to address the level of danger to others most drivers cause by what seem like minor infractions - minor until they kill someone ofc. The number of times I've nearly been taken off my bike by drivers speeding, failing to indicate, just pulling out in front of me, forcing there way past me so they can make 20 yards progress down the road to the next traffic jam, etc is uncountable. I've seen two cyclists lying in the road covered in blood waiting for ambulance pickup in the last month.

    As someone else said earlier driving needs to stop being seen as a right and start being seen as a responsibility.

  56. Christopher Key
    Stop

    everyone is to blame

    @pot smokers - MIND ALTERING DRUG

    @smokers - its bad for your health, don't make it bad for everyone else's

    @cyclists - the MAJORITY of cyclists I see ignore the rules of the road by ignoring red lights at junctions and pedestrian crossings, causing cars to have to swerve out of the way or pedestrians to jump out of the way

    @drivers that ignore junctions rules - I've seen two small children jump out of the way of a BMW that turned right when the junction indicated straight only. THEY HAD A GREEN MAN!

    @middle lane motorway goons - driving solely in the middle lane IS DANGEROUS. When someone who is following the rules properly by driving in the left hand lane, they have to move over TWO lanes to go around you. You are also completely blocking the inside lane, making it pointless having three lanes. I saw someone this weekend who was in the middle lane and was so scared of moving over lanes in his Jag that when a raft of cars came down the slip road onto the motorway, a car in the inside lane was forced to move over, so indicated for a long moment before moving, and the Jag, rather than move into the empty outside lane slammed on his brakes nearly causing another accident behind him

    @uninsured drivers - your car/driving is probably not roadworthy, hence you are probably endangering yourself as well as everyone else

    @mobile phone users - you can be convicted of death by dangerous driving even when using a hands free kit. Is it worth losing your freedom to talk while driving or can it wait? I know sometimes it is going to be necessary, but take precautions and do it as little as possible

    @tailgaters - i will brake if you follow too closely, or throw a cream cake out of the sunroof if there is nothing behind you

    @undertakers in traffic (i.e. moving over to the inside lane because it is clearer than the outside lane at speed) - yes the less congested lane is safer, however undertaking at speed will not be perceived by most people, so you could find yourself in their boot

    @motorists who ignore cyclists - remember they can take off your wingmirror / dent&scratch your car. Give them the space they need, if only for your own protection

    @pedestrians - stay out of the way of everyone else!

  57. JohnG

    Tough on crime, tough on "criminals" who pay tax and have a fixed address

    ..not so tough on the ones we can't be arsed to keep tabs on, might have weapons or a few dangerous dogs and who won't turn up to any of their court appearances.

  58. Martin
    Stop

    @Mark

    How can you 'nearly be taken off your bike by someone speeding'??? If you were -nearly- hit, then it was the driver's direction/position that was at fault, surely? And how in hell did you KNOW they were speeding? Do you carry a radar gun attached to your head?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    licences

    Anybody who is convicted of causing death by any kind of driving should lose their licence.

    Forever, no retests, no 6 months ban, no counseling.

    Maybe it's hard to enforce, but no worse than it is now, and you get the added benefit that it's very hard to get a driving JOB if you have no licence.

    In fact why wait for death to occur, when any major offence is such because of its potential to cause injury. No insurance - no licence, no MOT - no licence, etc etc. You know the rules in advance, so no excuses.

    Soon sort out the congestion.

  60. Mark

    @ David

    I think anyone who wants to cycle should be made to drive for a month, so they can see just how selfish and inconsiderate cyclists are.

    - Slaloming in and out of traffic waiting at lights, [thats down to the lack of a cycle lane on the inside at every traffic light - and tbh even when there is one theres normally a car parked/encroached in it giving the cyclist no choice. Your altenative is to be stuck behind the cyclist while he goes through the traffic lights unless of course you force him into the gutter like most drivers. Giving the cyclists room to get to the front at lights actually improves traffic flow for cars - hence the areas reserved for cyclists at the front of the queue at many junctions]

    - scraping within inches of my paintwork when I give them several feet [awww poor paintwork /sob]

    - pulling in front of cars at that bit where the cycle lane stratches over the whole lane at traffic lights [thats why its there stupid. Cyclists actually accelerate faster than cars for the first few feet given the space to do so. Moving off from stationery is when a bicycle is least stable and the more space a cyclist has the quicker they can move off. They didn't put those spaces there just to look pretty its to reduce the impact on traffic flow caused by cyclists getting moving]

    - ignoring traffic lights [no cyclist ignores traffic lights, that would be fatal for the cyclist noone else. Cyclists take note of traffic lights (and the fact that if it wasn't for cars they wouldn't exist) and proceed when its safe to do so. On the other hand the many car drivers that ignore speed limits, fail to indicate, go the wrong way down one way streets, don't watch where they are going, etc kill/maim other people and very rarely themselves]

    - riding side by side so no cars can get past them [you're making them up now - yes cyclists ride side by side occasionally, and why not? Give them a few seconds and they'll let you past. Its not like we congest the streets of the entire country, spewing out toxic fumes at the same time is it?]

    I could go on. [So go on then - carry on with your list of fatally dangerous infractions caused by cyclists bringing murder and and mayhem to the roads of Britain. The current list has been a riveting read]

  61. Mark

    @Martin

    "How can you 'nearly be taken off your bike by someone speeding'??? If you were -nearly- hit, then it was the driver's direction/position that was at fault, surely? And how in hell did you KNOW they were speeding? Do you carry a radar gun attached to your head?"

    I knew they were speeding by the fact that roared past me at around 60 in a 30 limit then switched to the opposite side of the road and went past 3 cars that had just passed me (considerately doing around 30). Its not difficult to tell when someone is doing 1.5 to 2x the speed limit. In addition my speedometer said I was doing 25 so its not that hard to make comparisons.

  62. Steve Mann

    Well...

    It's refreshing to find out that the plague of brainless tw*ts who don't understand that even with cruise control and an automatic gearbox you shouldn't spend your drive texting, working the GPS or fiddling with the center-console mounted GUI for the stereo is not limited to the people of New York.

    I've had the telephone pole outside my house knocked in half twice in as many years by kids who thought the car would drive itself (at twice the posted speed limit) while they did something more important.

    I was almost hit on the way to work this morning by a total nidiot who blew through a stop sign at a T junction (I was on the main road) because he was too busy with holding his cellphone to his ear - in direct contravention of NYS law I might add - to put both hands and both braincells to the task of keeping his vehicle under full control.

    It's good to know I won't have to reacclimatise if I return to blighty.

    Other than that whole left-side/right-side thing of course.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @ Mark 13:52

    Mark, you just summed up quite neatly everything motorists hate about cyclists.

    To summarise your post:

    "Every crossroads in the country should have cycle lanes put in. I kick cars and scratch their paintwork when I don't like their driving. I disregard traffic lights, but of course drivers disregarding speed limits is TOTALLY different and unacceptable. All cyclists are innocent (even when they're breaking the law) and all motorists are murderous cunts. Cars congest the roads spilling out toxic fumes, unlike me, a self righteous cyclist."

  64. Michael
    Black Helicopters

    Here's a solution ....

    Bullett cameras for cyclists , sponsored by the insurance companies.... after all , if the government and the law won't help, what about the private sector??? hell, we could even do an impartial online poll.

  65. Liam

    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    @ Christopher Key - "@pot smokers - MIND ALTERING DRUG". yes, so are caffeine and nicotene and chocolate... you wanna ban all coffee drinkers and women?. in tests it has been proven that caffeine can actually have more of an effect on the brain that the likes of coke and Pot.. makes you think doesnt it? i know plenty of 'double espresso' people who are almost incoherant at work - my ex mrs was one of them (2 double espressos in one cup for breakfast lol). im not saying i dont agree with everything you said tho!

    @ alan fisher - "No mate, I always stay inside and behind if I suspect even for a second that the driver is going to turn. I got hit by people NOT following the rules. Also isn't the left side where pedestrians come from normally?" - yes, but padestrians dont usually come flying from behind and left. btw - im just playing devils advocate here.... cyclists arent angels and neither are motorists...

  66. kk

    Deterrent vs punishment

    The shift to sentencing being related to the outcome of you actions (ie if death was caused) rather than from just the action itself I think is due to the need for a deterrent.

    People do drive dangerously and in some cases causes death.

    Everyone thinks they can multitask while driving and while I'm sure many can, not everyone is able to for example light up without breaking concentration. Sadly we are usually the worse people to decide which camp we belong in.

    If people could be trusted we wouldnt really need any laws.....

  67. David
    Flame

    @Mark

    Your response to my post demonstrates perfectly why cyclists are held in such contempt by motorists

    1. "thats down to the lack of a cycle lane on the inside at every traffic light"

    And that's the fault of motorists how exactly? Write to your council if you feel there should be more roads, don't antagonise drivers about it. My journey to work would be a hell of a lot easier if ther were roads instead of fields. Does that mean I drive over the fields to make it easier? No. I make do with the situation.

    2. "awww poor paintwork /sob"

    Congratulations, you missed my point entirely, but you made yourself look a prick in the process so it's not all bad. It's not about my paintwork (Well not entirely), it's about showing respect for other road users. You know, that thing your always bleating on that we should show you. It works both ways.

    3. "Cyclists actually accelerate faster than cars for the first few feet given the space to do so"

    Are you seriously suggesting that your bike, powered by your legs can outaccelerate my car, powered by an engine? They obviously didn't test any cyclist I've ever been caught behind in that survey. Are you sure the cars just seem to be moving slowly because they're stuck behind you? Maybe if you include the time it takes to realise the lights have changed, put the car into 1st, find the bite and take the handbrake off, but I wait at the lights in 1st and am ready to go. (After I've lit my fag of course)

    4. "no cyclist ignores traffic lights, that would be fatal for the cyclist noone else"

    I'm going to assume you didn't see the Episode of Top Gear where Hammond rode across London. They showed footage of cyclists repeatedly ignoring lights. And it's not only cyclists you could get hurt, pedestrians could be crossing (but lets not bring that argument up again). As for cars going the wrong way down one way streets, I've never seen that. The number of cyclists I've seen doing it however...

    5. "you're making them up now"

    Making it up? Why would I want to make anything up? Life's depressing enough as it is without inventing more of it. Drive down any country road on any given Sunday (Assuming the reason that your not so anti-motorist isn't because you can't pass a driving test) and you'll see cyclists side by side, refusing to pull over (and before you ask I dont "encourage" them with my horn) because they're under the mistaken impression that I can see round corners and know if it's safe to overtake or not

    6. "The current list has been a riveting read"

    Clearly it has been, not only did you read it all the way through but you felt compelled to write a rebuttal to it.

    Drop the self superior attitude and realise that just because your bike doesn't produce any pollution doesn't mean you have a greater right to the roads of Britain. If nothing else, try engaging a bit of survival instinct. "That car will do a lot more damage to me than I will to it, therefore I will treat it with a bit of respect"

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Alan

    So you pull out in front of me and get t-boned and die. Your license is permanently revoked. Problem solved, innit?

    Anyway, most of the problem is that we're buried under laws and the thought of "justice" somehow got slipped out of the picture.

    Even she gets the picture, mate.

  69. Michael
    Pirate

    Just for the record. considering this thread is no longer active on el reg.

    I am a motorist and a cyclist. I regularly commute by either method between reading and maidenhead. It's a nice flat easy run, and this shouldn't be any problem.... i'm in my forties , and would recommend the route to anyone either more junior or senior to me. The crux of this whole argument is about rights and responsibilities. Does a cyclist have a right on the road? YES !......... Do they have a right on the pavements? No! (Unless otherwise forced off the road!.....think of the kiddies!)Does a motorist have a right on the road? hell yes ... they pay road tax .... (no sorry, thats VED ... a duty... so maybe they don't) ....

    All I can say on this point is this... as a cyclist , i DAILY come across acts of incompetence which may have left me for dead on many occasions . As a motorist, i recall what I learn as a cyclist , and it makes me shudder.

    So... it brings me to the real question i want to ask .....if it's ok for a motorist to drive without REAL due care and attention, shoud'nt cyclists be allowed to protect themselves,?? I mean that in the american home -defense sense...

    This is one topic that isn't going to go away.

  70. Pierre Silver badge
    Happy

    @ Pyros

    "So... just to catch 'em all, we should make a new law about capital crimes for carelessly making new laws at the drop of a hat?"

    You MUST be reading my thoughts, it's not possible otherwise. Maybe not "capital crime" though, a good ass-kicking might do.

  71. Mark

    back @ David

    You missed my point entirely mate. My response aimed to highlight how frivolous your issues were when compared to the death & disability, noise, congestion and pollution caused by cars and their drivers. You getting all worked up and defending your petty little gripes just shows what a selfish ignorant mindset the average car driver has.

    Get a grip - having to slow down a bit to make life easier for cyclists, or tolerate them squeezing past you at traffic lights so they aren't stuck behind you breathing your fumes ain't worth getting worked up about. The thousands of people maimed and injured each year by drivers not watching where they were going and the damage to the planet caused by societys over reliance on private cars is.

  72. Sceptical Bastard

    @ stoners, piss-artists and petrol-heads

    When I was young I used to smoke dope (not a lot nor often in later years but heavily in my teens and twenties).

    Compared to the stuff we enjoyed in the late 1960s, strains of weed have gradually become far stronger. In fact, that is one reason I stopped - even a few tokes made me either too stoned to function or I simply monged out.

    Sometimes - rarely - I drove home stoned from my friend's house, a few miles on country lanes. I KNEW I shouldn't have - the ten-minute trip usually took thirty because I dared not exceed 20mph and I realised my reactions were definitely slowed and my spacial awareness and concentration were diminished.

    As a very young man, I also used to drive after drinking - we all did back then - and that was even worse because the impairment was not accompanied by the caution and slow pace induced by smoking dope. Quite the reverse, in fact - drink made me feel invincible.

    In my view, anyone who drives while drunk or stoned - and that includes me - should be banned if they are caught. And if it is proved in court that the drug or drink contributed to them killing someone, they should face very harsh penalties.

    Bootnote to all ranting petrolheads:

    * cars pollute and kill;

    * driving a car is a privilege NOT a right;

    * Jeremy Clarkson is not a demi-god, just a big-faced unfunny rent-a-gob;

    * driving a 'hot hatch' with little blue lights underneath and a loud exhaust doesn't make you look cool - it merely proves you are a total prick.

  73. William Morton

    If I had a licence for a gun, would I get away with murder

    1. There are too many people on the road

    2. There is a wide range of driving ability and ideas about how to drive safely

    3. When you get your license they don't test you again unless you get banned

    4. Driving a car is not seen as being equivalent to shooting a gun, although it is just as dangerous in the wrong hands

    5. Employers unnecessarily require people to be able to drive to work

    6. The way they teach you to drive to pass your test is never used again after passing

    7. The law accepts the argument "I didn't see them"

    8. Pedestrians and cars are insufficiently separated

    9. People do drive even when they know they shouldn't

    All these are reasons why people get killed.

    When you get behind the wheel do you think "If I am not really careful I could kill someone today", no, you don't think of the repercussions at all. Instead you think I am late, what shall I do tonight, cor look at the **** on that. If you had a gun in your hands would you aim and be thinking of anything other than shooting. I hope not, If you would then you should have a gun nor a car as you are a dangerous fool.

    The law need to treat cars like guns or any other dangerous device, and the people in control of these weapons need to be continuously concentrating on not creating danger.

    How many people always obey the speed limit?

    How many people check their car for safety every time before they drive?

    How many people believe that rushing whilst driving is a good idea

    Very few I imagine and I bet there as loads who think this doesn't apply to me I am a good driver.

    There is no such thing as a "good" driver only "lucky" ones.

    There are some people who take driving seriously i.e. think of the consequences virtually every time. So when you see them do you follow suit? no you drive around them or take advantage and think yourself superior.

    Good driving on the road is not measured by how quick you get somewhere it is measured on how you avoided hurting someone.

    The law needs to treat road injuries just the same as any other weapon injury.

  74. Alan Fisher
    Alert

    Sheesh

    @AC if someone breaks the law, they pay the price; end of story

    @all the angry drivers....what is wrong with you all? All this vitriolic hate of everyone on two wheels is quite sad really. You, as is usual of tabloid readers (I'm sure you're not all tabloid readers, but you're behaving like they do) you take one or two isolated incidents and apply the same layer of bitumenous coating to all with the same applicator! Dear me. I don't hate all drivers and some have been terribly polite and considerate, i return the favour. I've been hit and run once or twice and once the driver got out, took me and bike to hospital and gave me their insurance details without quibble, admitting it was their fault. I'd hate to have one of you lot hit me, I'd be off to the great bike shed in the sky just for being on the same road by the sound of it!

    Surely in today's climate of energy worries, someone using truly green transport responsibly should be given some measure of respect?

    Also I'd like data please, to back up your claims. How many, exactly and empirically data supported, of how many accidents on British roads have been CAUSED by (not involving but caused by) cyclists and how many deaths they have caused? No rush, whenever you're ready.

    AC, yes my cause is simple. We have licences (free due to zero emission status of bikes, or maybe a small annual fee) and are subject to the Highway code and law and punishment. I propose the points system exactly as drivers have. Jumping lights, speeding (it is possible, believe it or not to crest 30 or 40 mph on the flat if you're fit enough and on a good bike - mine probably cost more than most of your cars to buy if you bought 2nd hand)...I'm all for fair play in other words. But that means the road is as much for us tax-paying cyclists as you drivers.

    As far as the vitriol, get over it, you're just annoyed that you get stuck in queues and we don't...no big, you can still go faster than us and crash into lamp posts and stuff.

    I've never hit a pedestrian

    I've never cut anyone up

    I've never ran a red light and slow on amber always

    I never ride on the pavement except in special areas where this is permitted

    I never drive too close to cars and, if it's tight, I let them on by and stop myself

    I always use high viz and lights when needed

    I don't pollute or drive recklessly or drunk

    I don't blare annoying music out at people (my generic fruit related pmp device is plenty)

    I'm very fit and healthy and am never late anywhere

    Ergo, myself and my acquantences are MORE considerate and polite than the majority of drivers..

    So get over it and realise the driver is not god nor in anyway superior to cyclists. We should all get along and stop being such utter fools. I'll bet after my reasonable discourse here, my good points will be ignored and you'll continue to drone on about how evil we all are.....

  75. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    in my twenties I concluded that...

    ...no one should be permitted to apply for their car test until they had completed at least 6 months on a motorcycle and that no one should be permitted to apply for a bike test until they had completed 6 months driving a car. Why? well, as a car driver of some 30 years experience... who actually prefers motorcycles, I learned first hand that the best way to be a considerate and observant vehicular user is to experience the road from the other side. I know this thread emphasises bicycles... the analogy should be quite clear.

    I am far from perfect... I drive too fast, I have cut people up and I have driven under the influence (quite a selection of influences in my yoof)... however... I have never mounted the kerb, never hit a pedestrian, never hit a bicycle, never hit a motorcycle, never rear-ended another car, never been squeezed by an articulated lorry, never swerved to avoid a bus (and I pray to the Gods that I don't believe in that I will be sufficiently lucky to avoid such an event if my powers of observation and proactivity ever let me down).

    People don't spit on my car, or scratch it. Why? because in the highway code it states (or the old version certainly used to state) that the pedestrian has right of way at all times - and I see my licence as a priviledge, not a right.

  76. Alan Fisher
    Linux

    fair enough

    Fair enough, I don't drive a car and never have, the bicycle is my transport of choice for more reasons than one but I do see your point.....Maybe I'm just naturally considerate ;)

    thing is I won't have cyclists universally badmouthed for the sins of a few...drivers like AC don't like it when such comments are made about drivers...

    one criticism though AC ol' mate, the reasons I own a bike are;

    1) Personal preference

    2) Cheaper and cleaner

    3) No fuel cost

    4) No parking or jams to worry about

    5) better for the environment

    so driving a car is simply not workable nor realistic for me I'm afraid...many cyclists would rather not use a car for similar reasons.

    In short though yes, I agree with you oin essence.

    Regarding the new law though, i think it is a good law and just hope it is properly enforced and maintained. Something has to be done about the level of death on the road, almost all of which could be avoided...

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