back to article 80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Tesla Model S

An 80-year-old man has died in County Durham, England, after being struck by a Tesla Model S. He was cycling along the A177 near High Shincliffe, when the car collided with him. After being struck by the Tesla at around 9.20am on November 10, the unnamed man was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he …

  1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Stop

    Betting the driver was watching a dvd while driving like the last publicised Tesla incident...but i eagerly await the results of the investigation.

    1. Pink Duck
      Go

      The only video that Tesla vehicles display from the front seats is the reverse camera when requested.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        and I seem to remember, legally only when the car is in reverse gear. (might be UK only)

        1. ukaudiophile

          The rear camera view can be displayed at any time, not just when the car is in reverse. This provides a rear view to augment that through the mirrors giving better rear coverage.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "and I seem to remember, legally only when the car is in reverse gear. (might be UK only) "

          Don't thing so, my car will display the rear camera while driving so doubt its a UK legal thing

        3. bcsteeve

          How's that make sense? Do they only allow you to use a rearview mirror while in reverse too? It is the same view and no more distracting.

          1. Mark 65 Silver badge

            How's that make sense? Do they only allow you to use a rearview mirror while in reverse too? It is the same view and no more distracting.

            I believe you are legally mandated to have 2 of the 3 rear view mirrors intact and usable. TV screen, not so much. If I were looking at my in-car entertainment touch panel whilst driving and had an accident I would expect to be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. Same goes for someone doing the same with the Tesla screen if not performing a reversing manoeuvre. I would not expect the same if I were checking my rear view mirror. One is deliberately placed within your field of view whilst driving so a quick upward flick of the eyes can check it, the other is down and to the side and considered a distraction.

          2. Spike of Bayswater
            Unhappy

            Actually, they also display a map from a satnav as well as reverse angle when reversing. But I've only been in one the once. Cool gadgets but this looks like the usual road user makes a minor error (cyclist or driver) on a country road and cyclist pays the price. A minor error by a cyclist deserves the death penalty. The point is that an 80-year old cycling on a public road died in a road accident. Whatever the "data" shows to satisfy those who think its a question of pointing the finger, it's not acceptable.

      2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        FAIL

        @ Pink Duck

        The incident in Florida where the driver was watching a Harry Potter movie while letting the car drive itself was watching the movie on a DVD player or tablet. In that case, "According to data recovered from the car, Brown's final trip lasted 37 minutes, from buckling in until the crash. During that time he had his hands on the wheel for 25 seconds and relied on the car's software the rest of the trip."

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/30/tesla_autopilot_crash_leaves_motorist_dead/

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/06/20/tesla_death_crash_accident_report_ntsb/

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

          Unsure why we're both getting downvoted to oblivion even though you've provided evidence for the incident i mentioned. Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

          1. James O'Shea Silver badge

            Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

            "Unsure why we're both getting downvoted to oblivion even though you've provided evidence for the incident i mentioned. Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?"

            You're the only one with lots of downvotes. I suspect it would be due to your assignment of blame, despite your not having any facts whatsoever to base that assignment on. You not only stated that it was the Tesla driver who was at fault, in the total absence of any supporting evidence in El Reg's story, you then went further and speculated that the driver was watching a DVD and letting the autopilot feature run the car. El Reg specifically stated, and I quote:

            "Tesla's Autopilot suite of features includes automatic braking and collision warnings as standard, and can be upgraded to automatically change lanes, maintain speed and park.

            It is unknown at this time if the Tesla driver was using the features when the incident occurred."

            It would appear that either you have sources of other than El Reg's story, or you are simply blasting hot air out of your ass. Perhaps you would get fewer downvotes if you provided support for your position. A check with the BBC's site shows http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-41953941 which gives even less information than El Reg's story. Do you have further information? if so, can you provide a link?

            1. pmb00cs

              Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

              Reasonable assumptions might play a part here.

              The Tesla S 90D is an expensive sports car. It's is likely that it was traveling at a substantial speed, it is possible that it wasn't, but why spend £70,000 on a fast car and then not go fast?

              The cyclist was, well, a cyclist. It is likely they were travelling somewhat slower, it is possible that they were travelling at substantial speed, but the cyclist's speed is limited by the limits of human performance and endurance. It is possible they were cycling up to 70km/h but for an 80 year old that seems unlikely.

              On balance, it would seem to be more likely that the car hit the cyclist than the cyclist hit the car. Under UK law (and based upon common sense) this would make it the car driver's fault (unless some mitigating circumstances can be found).

              What makes you think that it is anything but extremely unlikely that the driver of the Tesla is not at fault?

              1. WolfFan Silver badge

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                What makes you think that it is anything but extremely unlikely that the driver of the Tesla is not at fault?

                There simply is not sufficient data currently available to say who is at fault. Or even if anyone is at fault. It may well be that the Tesla was slamming down the road at 200 kph and plowed right over the totally innocent and unsuspecting cyclist... but there ain't no data currently available to draw that, or any other, conclusion. Perhaps there will be more data available later; perhaps the cyclist saw some pretty flowers on the other side of the road and turned to go smell them... right into the path of the Tesla, which was making 50 kph under the direct control of the driver. We don't know. We have no data. Making a judgement before having the data is generally considered to be Not A Good Thing. May I suggest that we wait and get some data and then make the judgement? Just a thought.

                1. Bitbeisser
                  Devil

                  Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                  >perhaps the cyclist saw some pretty flowers on the other side of the road and turned to go smell them...

                  Smelling flowers, in November, in England? I seriously doubt that...

              2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                @pbm00cs - Not just UK law but worldwide. Bicycles are vehicles per international agreement and various national laws with the same right to the road as car. What is unknown is what maneuvers both were doing at the time of the collision.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth: a_yank_lurker

                  "Bicycles are vehicles per international agreement and various national laws with the same right to the road as car".

                  Yet don't require insurance, an annual worthiness test, a proficiency test, to be visible at night and an understanding that red means STOP and green means GO.

                  1. cream wobbly

                    Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth: a_yank_lurker

                    "Yet don't require insurance, an annual worthiness test, a proficiency test, to be visible at night and an understanding that red means STOP and green means GO."

                    Insurance, roadworthiness and proficiency tests aside, bikes are required to be visible at night in the UK and the US, and cyclists are are required to follow the rules of the road; which include not breaking the push-bike speed limit of 25 mph. (You get a lot of pop-pop bikes being impounded in the US for doing 30.)

                    Other road users also subject to all the same conditions as cyclists include walkers, runners, skateboarders, rollerbladers, wheelchair users. Are you butthurt about them, too?

              3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                "On balance, it would seem to be more likely that the car hit the cyclist than the cyclist hit the car."

                Having seen a cyclist suddenly turn square across the road in front - but just far enough away for an emergency stop - I'd say either is possible and, in the absence of more detailed evidence, I'd hate to decide on balance of probabilities. OTOH it does seem less likely that he was a MIMIL and learned to cycle in an age when the Highway Code was drilled into cyclists.

                1. Doctor Evil

                  Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                  To paraphrase a saying about pilots, here are old cyclists and there are bold cyclists, but there are no old bold cyclists.

              4. ChrisBedford

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                "On balance, it would seem to be more likely that the car hit the cyclist than the cyclist hit the car. Under UK law (and based upon common sense) this would make it the car driver's fault (unless some mitigating circumstances can be found)"

                ...mitigating circumstance like maybe the old codger fell or swerved or shot out in front of the car, for instance. Let's be fair, not many 80-year-olds are completely as wide awake as, say, the average 40-year-old. Facts are facts. Yes I know, "collision avoidance", but with the best will in the world, and the best programming and brakes and suspension and anything else you can think of, you can't avoid 100% of collisions.

              5. Ahab Returns

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                "The Tesla S 90D is an expensive sports car." This is a saloon car (or a Sports Saloon if you prefer).

                Tesla used to market a rather nice sports car but I don't think they sell it anymore.

                Not all sports cars are fast (mine is 45 years old won't even get close to 100mph) and there is nothing to indicate that this vehicle was being driven at excessive speed, nor that the cyclist didn't have a heart attack and fall beneath the wheels of the car, unless you have information beyond that provided here and elsewhere of course?

              6. VulcanV5
                Flame

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                Most of us here can remember how miffed El Reg was over the refusal of Tesla's PR department to play ball with it on a particular story some time back. Clearly, El Reg is still miffed, to the extent that anything with the word "Tesla" in it is worth chronicling. Perhaps you're not aware of that? And perhaps you're also unaware that an RTA is like any other kind of untoward incident, causality arising not from one or two factors but many?

                Your simple-minded rush to judgment is only marginally less irritating than El Reg's decision to publish this non-story in the first place.

                Ah well. Must dash. I need to ring Toyota's PR department for a comment on the Prius which knocked over an octagenarian pedestrian in Wigan last week. . . and then put a call into Ford PR about a Fiesta which crashed through a wall in Reading and flattened two innocent gnomes. I expect the representatives of both motor manufacturers to immediately tell me the reasons for these incidents.

                1. Excellentsword
                  Trollface

                  Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                  u mad bro?

              7. Milton Silver badge

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                " ... It's is likely that it was traveling at a substantial speed ..."

                You're speculating about speed when there is no evidence whatsoever, yet, of the speed of either party, or why or how the accident happened. We might just as easily speculate that the cyclist failed to stop while crossing a road and piled into the side of a stationary Tesla—but no reporting has told us *anything* so it would be equally stupid to start assigning "probabilities".

                The incontinent spraying of uninformed theories and blame at this point, some of it betraying nothing more than witless axe-grinding, should put Reg readers to shame.

              8. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                On balance, it would seem to be more likely that the car hit the cyclist than the cyclist hit the car.

                I don't know if that is the statistical case and, even if it was, that doesn't prove it is the case here.

                I refer the jury to my mate who cycled down a long straight road and right into the back of a double-decker bus which had been parked up after breaking down. He still has no idea how he never saw it and has always been honest about it being his own fault.

                These things happen, the mind wanders, then >BANG<

              9. cream wobbly

                Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

                "why spend £70,000 on a fast car and then not go fast?"

                Sensible people who buy fast cars for 70 grand (and more, and less) take their speed to the track. Croft and Barford circuits aren't that far away. Barely more than a half hour. Maybe the battery would run out before he got there, though? Is that the "mitigating circumstances" you're looking for?

                The limit at Shincliffe is 40 mph. The cyclist was heading south (per the local papers -- you can look up the Chronicle and the Northern Echo yourself though.

          2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

            Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

            Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

            I doubt it. More what James O'Shea says above; you are casting aspersions which are completely unfounded and unwarranted.

            I am not even convinced of the merit of reporting this incident here. On the evidence so far, it seems no more than the sadly all to familiar tragic road collision between car and cyclist. The only reason it has been reported here is because it is a Tesla and not some other vehicle. It would be merely speculation that it was the fault of the Tesla driver, the Tesla itself, or arose because of the nature of that Tesla.

            It's not far above the level of clickbait.

            1. Lee D Silver badge

              Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

              I'd imagine the reason it's posted here is the magic words "collision avoidance". Whether or not the other stuff was self-driving, collision avoidance is on pretty much all the time on a Tesla isn't it?

              1. AMBxx Silver badge

                Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

                There aren't lots of Tesla owners anywhere.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

                  And they are all butthurt from being sold a pup.

                2. Bitbeisser

                  Re: Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

                  >There aren't lots of Tesla owners anywhere.

                  Well, we have a lot of those around here (Los Angeles), in all models and colors (Pepto-Bismol pink anyone?), and a lot of those drivers with quite an attitude ("Look at me, I am driving a Tesla, now get the f*** out of my way!")

                  1. Dr_N Silver badge

                    Re: Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

                    'and a lot of those drivers with quite an attitude ("Look at me, I am driving a Tesla, now get the f*** out of my way!" '

                    Are Audi bleeding sales to Tesla over there, then?

          3. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

            Unsure why we're both getting downvoted to oblivion even though you've provided evidence for the incident i mentioned. Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

            One of the downvotes is mine. I don't own a Telsa. I also have exactly as much information on the incident as you do, also known as 'not enough data to come to a conclusion'. You're getting downvotes for having declared the Tesla driver guilty on the basis of zero data.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

              "...having declared the >>Tesla driver<< guilty..."

              You spelled >>Tesla Autopilot / Collision Avoidance System Marketing Team<< incorrectly.

          4. Kiwi Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

            Lots of butthurt Tesla owners here?

            Maybe someone's been showing them "alternative storage places" for their bloody DVD players and other toys they play with when they should be focused on the road.

        2. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: @ The Man Who Fell To Earth

          "Mulligan told investigators he could not say either way whether any film was playing in the vehicle once he reached the crash site, while NTSB investigator Jane Foster stated in her report: “No Harry Potter movie file was found on the hard drive” of Brown’s Asus laptop.""

          Kind regards

          The author of the second El Reg link you cite.

      3. Neiljohnuk

        Really, and it can't be circumvented? Like the Academic who I regularly saw watching the BBC new's on her Merc sports cars flip out screen whilst driving, even though it wasn't supposed to be able to do that. Never underestimate the ingenuity of a determined idiot...

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Both travelling south on the A177 near High Shincliffe.

      A very standard ordinary road if my memory serves me right, I used it often to get from Durham Uni to the A1M.

    3. Anthony 13

      What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

      On Friday I was t-boned by a car on a roundabout - the driver accelerated into me when I was in front of them, sending me flying (no doubt "didn't see me"). So what does this information tell us about this story; absolutely nothing!!! Though to be fair, I'm not actually sure this story tells us anything at all either, other than to be another place to see how the whole 'cyclist debate' is corrupted by people's preconceived notions and irrelevancies.

      FYI not badly injured, but the bike is a write-off.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

        A13 reported, "not badly injured, but the bike is a write-off."

        Nice that you're okay.

        The explanation (maybe about 80% accurate) for car drivers running over cyclists is actually quite simple. Too many car drivers are using incorrect upside down logic in their driving. They're looking out for other cars, and proceeding if their reptilian brain stem doesn't see another car (includes trucks and buses). They're not looking for empty road, and proceeding only if the road is actually empty.

        Their logic is backwards; dangerously wrong.

        The drivers using the correct "empty road" logic will see anything. Car, buses, trucks, bicycles, escaped beasts from the zoo, anything... Doesn't matter what. They're looking for empty road.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

          The explanation (maybe about 80% accurate) for car drivers running over cyclists is actually quite simple. Too many car drivers are using incorrect upside down logic in their driving.

          Nah, too many drivers just don't look. Had someone pull out in front of me at a T-junction whilst I was travelling along the major road. Had to slam on the brakes, other driver couldn't care less - "he'll stop" seemed the attitude. I should have just ploughed into the back of them if it weren't for the inconvenience.

          At the weekend I had someone cut in front of me in their little Mazda 1 or similar sized city car. Too busy talking to their buddy and laughed it off. I was driving a near 3 tonne 4x4 and had to slam the brakes on as did everyone behind me. I am rapidly approaching the point at which I'm considering giving Darwin a split-second head start before braking as this driver behaviour is really starting to give me the shits.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

            "Nah, too many drivers just don't look." too many screens to watch the road distraction usually, "Had someone pull out in front of me at a T-junction whilst I was travelling along the major road. Had to slam on the brakes, other driver couldn't care less - "he'll stop" seemed the attitude." ride a motorcycle and it's even more common, there it's "He'll have to stop or he'll get hurt".

            "At the weekend I had someone cut in front of me in their little Mazda 1 or similar sized city car. Too busy talking to their buddy and laughed it off. I was driving a near 3 tonne 4x4 and had to slam the brakes on as did everyone behind me." be glad you managed to, I had a middle aged woman in a Corsa do that to me ~10 years ago, except she cut it too close at hit me, still suffering from the whip-lash wrenching of my neck and shoulder. No matter I was in a Bright White Discovery and clearly visible, IF she'd bothered to look, but like most darting roller skate drivers she assumed everyone else can change lane and avoid as quickly and easily with a flick of the wrist as they can...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

        "FYI not badly injured, but the bike is a write-off".

        Good to hear you're ok. Perhaps now you'll buy a car.

        (some) Cyclists are an utter liability ATM.

        Until the law requires mandatory HI-Vis clothing, lights and insurance my attitude towards quite a few of the two wheeled, lane hogging, red light ignoring arseholes isn't going to improve.

        Same goes for moped / scooter riders too.

        1. Kebablog

          Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

          ' Perhaps now you'll buy a car.'

          And contribute to the extending traffic queue. No thanks. Not all cyclists are as you describe, the RLJ'ers are an annoyance to us as well.

          You want all cyclists to wear hi-viz, the problem is most accidents are side swipes where the hi-viz doesn't get noticed. Lights/Reflectors are mandated by law - if not fitted then cyclists should be (and are occasionally) prosecuted. Maybe, as road users we could all just watch out for each other rather.

          As for insurance, who is going to enforce it? Probably the same people who can't enforce VED, MOT and Car insurance.

        2. JMcL

          Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

          @cornz 1

          "(some) Cyclists are an utter liability ATM.

          Until the law requires mandatory HI-Vis clothing, lights and insurance my attitude towards quite a few of the two wheeled, lane hogging, red light ignoring arseholes isn't going to improve."

          "Yet don't require insurance, an annual worthiness test, a proficiency test, to be visible at night and an understanding that red means STOP and green means GO"

          Have a downvote nob, in fact have several, then go off and learn the actual provisions of the road traffic act or whatever it may be called in the UK - both from the perspective of motorists and cyclists

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Good to hear you're ok. Perhaps now you'll buy a car.

          Jeez, I'd love to be in a position to get rid of my car. Being able to bike or walk to work would be great.

          Or having mass transit here - my idea of the ideal commute is me reading a paper and having a coffee while someone else drives.

      3. david 136

        Re: What's the point of all these anecdotal comments???

        SMIDSY! (Sorry mate, I didn't see ya)

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Betting the driver was watching a dvd while driving like the last publicised Tesla incident...but i eagerly await the results of the investigation."

      Unlikely on that road at that location. It may well be "predominantly straight" but it's narrow enough with plenty of obstructed view places where traffic can join that only a total moron would entrust the very simplified Tesla "auto pilot" features to maintain itself safely on the road. I've driven it many times and it's covered by Streeview if you want to have a look and virtually drive that stretch for yourself.

    5. bcsteeve

      Sigh.

      I'll take that bet. Come on, man up... put your money where your mouth is. You had ZERO reason to make that statement, yet you're (apparently) willing to put money on it?

      Incidentally, there was never any real evidence that Joshua Brown (presumably the "last publicized Tesla incident" you're referring to) was watching a movie. There was a portable DVD player found in the car and the truck driver said he thought he heard Harry Potter "blaring" after the accident. Mr. Brown was a grown ass man... it seems unlikely to me that this ex Navy Seal was watching a kid's movie at a "blaring" volume. Reports say that police found a portable DVD player in the car (no mention of whether the inserted DVD was Harry Potter to coroborate the trucker's story, but whatever) but that means nothing. In a violent crash like that, it was just as likely that the device got thrown around and turned on inadvertently than it is that he was watching this kid's movie while driving. The point is, YOU DONT KNOW then and you don't know now.

  2. unwarranted triumphalism

    Shouldn't be on the road then.

    1. Bob Doe

      re: unwarranted triumphalism

      Totally agree, the road is no place for a Tesla (that pays none of the mythical "road tax").

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

        There is no 'Road Tax', hasn't been since Winston Churchill axed it in 1947.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

          "There is no 'Road Tax', hasn't been since Winston Churchill axed it in 1947."

          Ahem: " (that pays none of the mythical "road tax")."

        2. Bob Doe

          Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

          A whoosh parrot for Grunty.

        3. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

          Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

          downvoted for gratuitous pedantry.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

            And upvoted for being technically correct.

            The BEST kind of correct.

        4. MarkinDurham

          Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

          A pedant writes...A neat trick, as WS wasn't in power in 1947

      2. Pink Duck

        Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

        Except courtesy of UK gov there's a £310 luxury vehicle tax from years 2 to 6 inclusive.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: re: unwarranted triumphalism

        "that pays none of the mythical "road tax" "

        Stop being silly. Road tax is a pretty good description of it. It isn't a car tax, as lorries and motorcycles pay it, and if you state SORN then you don't either In fact, you only pay it to drive on UK roads. Its official name was Road Fund Licence, later VED. Road Fund Licence is very similar to Road Tax. I still call the water rates even though they are a bill from a privatized utility company. People call it the dole instead of JSA.

        I suppose you never referred to it as the 'bedroom tax' either, and solely as the 'under-occupancy penalty'.

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      FAIL

      RE: unwanted infantilism

      And when pedestrians are killed by out of control cars on the pavement is your response "shouldn't be on the pavement then?"

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

        I don't know, has that happened?

        It seems to be the 2-wheeled criminal thug brigade you should be asking about pedestrian deaths anyway.

        1. Ochib

          Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

          As recorded by the ONS on the number of pedestrian deaths caused by bicycles are between 2-3 a year, however the number of pedestrian deaths caused by cars are around 400 a year

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

            "As recorded by the ONS on the number of pedestrian deaths caused by bicycles are between 2-3 a year, however the number of pedestrian deaths caused by cars are around 400 a year"

            The comment related to on the pavement, which is where the vast majority of incidents involving cyclist killing pedestrians happen. The vast majority of pedestrians and cyclist killed by motor vehicles happen on the roads.

            1. Adrian Midgley 1

              At 2 per year, what

              does "the vast majority" mean please?

              1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: At 2 per year, what

                AM1 asked, "...what does 'the vast majority' mean please?"

                "The vast majority" = 40%

                The Reverend Peter Leary told us so. And we believed him.

                (Hi Pete!)

          2. Bitbeisser

            Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

            >however the number of pedestrian deaths caused by cars are around 400 a year

            I take it that is the whole UK? Here is Los Angeles Country, a guy killed in Long Beach 5 days ago was the 25th this year in Los Angeles County.

        2. thegroucho

          Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

          Blame the victims.

          https://www.rospa.com/road-safety/advice/pedal-cyclists/facts-figures/

          2015 figures:

          cyclists killed - 100

          cyclists seriously injured - 3,239

          1. Commswonk Silver badge

            Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

            Ah; but beware the concept of "lies, damn lies, & statistics". The raw figures do tell a depressing tale but to demonstrate how misleading they can be I suggest you consider the following: In the event of a collision between a motor vehicle and a cyclist the cyclist is going to come off worse every time. However, the figures you quote could mean that there were 3,339 occasions when cyclists did something really stupid and as a result were either killed or seriously injured despite the vehicle driver doing everything they could to avoid it. Now that is obviously statistically improbable, but it does help show that raw data, without anything further by way of detail, presents a totally incomplete picture of the overall situation which in turn can mislead those reading it.

            If you are trying to solve a problem then the likelihood of finding the correct solution is greatly reduced if you don't make sure that you analyse it properly first and garner all the relevant information about it.

            1. rh587

              Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

              Ah; but beware the concept of "lies, damn lies, & statistics".

              Indeed. As a cyclist I have been taken off my bike by a car who didn't check their blind spots. It informed my behaviour as a driver and I hope I am more diligent as a result.

              However, some cyclists will not be helped. I have - more than once - nearly mown down a cyclist who thought it appropriate to weave along a 60mph stretch in black clothing, with no lights or reflectors (a legal requirement as important as having an MOT) on a moonless night. I suspect that someone with less than the 20/20 vision I am fortunate to be blessed with might not pick out the dim shadow moving at the edge of vision and brake too late to avoid the moron. Just last week I swung into a one-way street at 10pm to find a kid coming the wrong way down it without lights or helmet (quite what they were doing out at that time I do not know).

              But inevitably it would be the driver who is at fault for hitting the criminal(1) cyclist, and the statistics will not reflect this nuance.

              Most drivers are good, most cyclists are considerate. But churning out a scary-sounding, yet context-less number of cyclist accidents/fatalities tells you absolutely nothing because some of them are bordering on suicidal.

              1. Yes. Criminal. Going out at night without lights or reflectors is a criminal act, just like driving without MOT or insurance.

        3. stevewolves

          Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

          Might be worth checking your stats, in UK 2 pedestrians die a year from cycles but 6 a day from cars.

          Evidence based approach please!

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

            "Might be worth checking your stats, in UK 2 pedestrians die a year from cycles but 6 a day from cars.

            Evidence based approach please!"

            On the pavement? Really?

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Evidence based approach please!

              "On the pavement? Really?"

              Concrete observations, mate.

          2. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

            "Might be worth checking your stats, in UK 2 pedestrians die a year from cycles but 6 a day from cars.

            Evidence based approach please!"

            Ooh, ooh, can I do that?

            You've forgotten to divide by the number of passenger miles. Cars kill 2000/year, roughly, bikes 2/year, roughly. So if there are more than 1000 times as many passenger miles by car than bike, then cars are safer for pedestrians. Here is the data per billion passenger miles. It looks bad for Mr Cyclist, but terrible for Mr Motorcyclist.

            https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/647923/ras30018.ods

            Pedestrians KSI per billion vehicle miles (not even passenger miles, which inflates the car death rate, as average occupancy rate is about 1.6, and of course massively inflates the bus death rate):

            By cycle: K 0.9, SI 31

            By motocycle: K 6.0, SI 66

            By car: K 1.1, SI 16

            By bus/coach: K 12, SI 81

            By van: K 0.7, SI 6.4

            By HGV: K 3.9, SI 5.3

            (K = killed, SI = seriously injured)

            So what can we learn from this?

            1) Carpooling wouldn't change this data, but would reduce absolute numbers of casualties,

            2) Two people in a car are safer than two bicycles for K, and one car much safer than one bicycle for KSI in total.

            3) Motorcycles are a menace to society and maybe should be banned on safety grounds.

            4) Get rid of all bus routes with an occupancy below 12 or so?

            1. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: RE: unwanted infantilism

              You've forgotten to divide by the number of passenger miles. Cars kill 2000/year, roughly, bikes 2/year, roughly. So if there are more than 1000 times as many passenger miles by car than bike, then cars are safer for pedestrians.

              Think you missed a trick. Dead person is dead person, doesn't really matter if the vehicle that did it has done 1mile or 100 billion miles.

              Someone hit by a bike also likely has a far higher chance of surviving than not.

              And ooi how reliable are the stats on bike distances traveled? Not like they have a device on them that measures distances as a normal fitting.

    3. hplasm Silver badge
      FAIL

      Fail

      unwarranted triumphalism

      Shouldn't be on the road then.

      Agreed. Stay indoors- away from the computer.

    4. Adrian Midgley 1

      You should now have to demonstrate

      that you are suitable to control a vehicle before being allowed to do so.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: You should now have to demonstrate

        I've already got a driving licence. Good enough for you?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If this was a Ford it wouldn't even make the news.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not on a tech site, no.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sort of agree.

      Maybe if it was shown that "auto-pilot" AKA "sell a feature it isn't then blame the meat sack when it doesn't do as labelled" was engaged and it ploughed into the cyclist, then feel free to report.

      It may equally be, cyclist on wrong side of road rides straight into path of oncoming car (seen it enough near misses to know this is a real possibility).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Did a job cataloguing old court records a few years back (protip: if you ever have a warehouse full of paper records, for the love of all that is holy DO NOT LOSE THE CATALOGUE) and one of the cases was for a cyclist who ran a red light at a t-junction, hit the SIDE of a car who was travelling on the main carriageway, then tried to claim on the driver's insurance for their medical costs.

        While commuting to said job, I had to slam the anchors on to avoid a head-on collision with a cyclist who was riding the wrong way around a roundabout.

        And cycling groups wonder why drivers are resistant to the idea of "automatically assign fault to the driver in a collision" policies.

        1. ukaudiophile

          It will be interesting to see if a full investigation of this incident is carried out looking at the actions of the cyclist in relation to other road traffic and conditions, rather than the usual action of the Police which seems to be find a way to completely blame the driver, no matter how tenuous, and end the investigation there.

          Frankly you need cameras to record what's happening on the road now, not to protect against uninsured drives, but so you actually have evidence to protect yourself, because if you're a motorist you can't rely on the Police to be thorough & impartial.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Trollface

            because if you're a motorist you can't rely on the Police to be thorough & impartial.

            FTFY

        2. unwarranted triumphalism

          And the hatred begins... because they're all like that, aren't they? Every single one.

        3. TWB

          ...

          As a level headed cyclist and a car driver (though not at the same time) - there are bad cyclists and bad car drivers. These are the ones you notice - that is human nature.

          Good road users - cyclists and car drivers - you don't notice as they are unremarkable.

          As a cyclist I actually believe most road users are OK - I have been cycling in London since 1990.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          seen a lot of shoddy cycling

          seen a lot of shoddy driving/riding a motorcycle

          cyclist+bicycle weight rarely exceeds 130kg, soft and mushy for most part, speed rarely exceeds 20 mph

          car weight - circa 1500kg, made from solid metal, speeds often around 50 in 20 mph zones

          delivery vans/drop side lorries - anywhere up to 3.5 tonnes, metal all round, speed - depending if they are late to go home after a job, pick a number anywhere from speed limit + 20 mph to maximum speed of said vehicle

          which is most likely to kill or injure?

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            I once passed a cyclist, gave him a full lane width of space, he still turned right without looking or signalling and hit the back of my car.

            In fact most car drivers drive in such a way as to yield their so called "right of way" (doesn't exist) in the interests of everybody. But I've noticed a prevalence among cyclists to assert their perceived "right of way" even if that means putting themselves in danger.

            On days when I cycle to work (days when I'm not going to be either soaked in sweat or rain) I tend to try to help all the traffic along and I won't let a queue build up behind me. Observe the drivers, at least 19/20 will be looking after you. I observe the other cyclists, they tend not to want to give anything away, some of them even get aggressive toward each other and pedestrians.

            It's should always be a co-operative effort, regardless of who has the largest and hardest mass.

            Some motorcycle training would be a very good thing for cyclists and drivers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Go

              Three things I've learned that have stood me well over the years.

              1. Aim to hit the gap, not miss the object (this applies to stationary and moving objects). You will naturally gravitate to what you are looking at.

              2. Accept at some point, you will get cut up. With this in mind, road rage dramatically reduces.

              3. Treat as everyone on the road, including yourself, as an idiot. When your proven right, at least you are ready to take as much action to avoid the situation as possible.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "cyclist+bicycle weight rarely exceeds 130kg,"

            Blimey, for me to reach 130kg with my bike, I have to be riding my 45kg Bakfiets.nl Cargobike with the box full of shopping. Saying that, I wouldn't want to be run over by a cargobike at any speed...

          4. Def Silver badge

            Lardarse+bicycle weight rarely exceeds 130kg

            FTFY.

            I weigh around six times as much as my bike, which gives us a combined weight of around 83kg on a slow* day.

            * You know what I mean. ;)

            1. thegroucho
              FAIL

              @Def

              Of course your cycling prowess and svelte physique is only surpassed by your giant and overinflated feeling of self importance. Now go and kiss yourself in the mirror.

        5. Adrian Midgley 1

          It isn't automatic...

          It is default.

        6. Kiwi Silver badge

          And cycling groups wonder why drivers are resistant to the idea of "automatically assign fault to the driver in a collision" policies.

          Interesting. Maritime law basically says "smaller (and thus more maneuverable) gives way to bigger". This, and law of survival, should say "cyclist has most to lose so cyclist must take action to save themselves, and if they don't there's a good chance it was their fault".

          When I was a kid a cager knocked me off my bike (she actually lost her license a short while later when putting another kid in hospital). Had I been taking more care of my safety, I would've dismounted before going through that particular intersection, and waited for a safe time to go through, not when I had the right-of-way but when I could get through unharmed. She was wrong, but I could've died.

          Cagers, as a group, are idiots. Much like computer users. They do stupid and unpredictable things. Hell, they define stupid! So if you're on 2 wheels, keep an eye out for them and protect your safety. Don't worry about right, worry about life.

          Oh. And remember. A large part of your cycling brethren are also computer users, and also rather stupid at times!

  4. tiggity Silver badge

    Premature?

    Given the lack of information about whether auto-pilot and inattention or no autopilot and inattention, is the early reporting just to stop people asking why has the Tesla story not been reported?

    If we want tenuous electric car related stories how about Dyson and his desire for no corporation tax, UK to become low wage slave style economy (only way he will move production from Malaysia is when we get as cheap as that!)

  5. JetSetJim Silver badge

    > It is unknown at this time if the Tesla driver was using any self-driving technology when the incident occurred.

    It is also unknown as to what the cyclist was doing prior to being struck, even if driver aids were in use by the Tesla.

    It will be interesting if there is information in the telematics of the Tesla regarding the movements of the cyclist in the few seconds leading up to the incident. Did it make a sudden movement - e.g. to avoid a pothole - or was the victim moving in a nice predictable straight line? Doesn't Tesla own the data for this and doesn't necessarily hand out the raw data?

    A cyclist being killed in a collision with a car is a terrible thing, but blame *could* be on either party. But now we're into the murky uncharted waters of if the self-driving systems are active, how do you judge whether either the meatbag or the computer programs were capable of avoiding the incident, or even if avoidance was possible.

    Certainly the driver has responsibility of keeping an eye on the road constantly and assuming control to attempt to prevent/avoid/minimise the collision.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      RE: JetSetGim

      If he made a sudden movement to avoid a pothole then that would put the Tesla driver at fault for being far too close. In the UK at least drivers should pass a cyclist with the same space they would give a car (mainly because cyclists need space to dodge potholes and crap).

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: RE: JetSetGim

        That may well be the case, but equally (or possibly less likely) it may well also be that the movement to avoid the pothole was excessive. Other possibilities include the cyclist undertaking in traffic and swerving, or some other irresponsible action.

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to pin blame on the cyclist, the driver or the Tesla autopilot, there are lots of ways either party could be at fault, but because it's a Tesla - with their claims that their driving software has a stellar safety record - it makes headlines before anyone knows any facts.

      2. Ochib

        Re: RE: JetSetGim

        Nope,

        Cyclist made a sudden movement, either foot slipped of the peddle or moved to avoid a pothole, got run over by a bus that was behind the cyclist and the courts ruled that it was an unfortunate accident.

    2. MOV r0,r0

      <q>Did it make a sudden movement - e.g. to avoid a pothole</q>

      The "it" JetSetJim refers to had clocked up 80 years therefore simply on Darwinian grounds is likely to have been a careful and conscientious road user.

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      According to this report he was cycling on the southbound side, presumably in a southerly direction. Also keep in mind that while Mr. Heppell may have been in good health he was 80 years old and even a very low speed collision could be serious enough to cause death to anyone especially if suffering a head injury. Also consider unintentional falls are the leading cause of injury death for people over 65 in the U.S. with over three times the number two cause, motor vehicle deaths.

      That said, accidents do happen and some are even unavoidable with no real blame attributable and until more is known there is little point in speculating.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Doesn't Tesla own the data for this and doesn't necessarily hand out the raw data?"

      I think it has front facing cameras and if the Police demand the evidence required to investigate a road death, I'm sure Tesla will be forced, if necessary, to hand it over.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Black boxes

        The investigation into the Florida fatality provided some detail. Like Tesla's reluctant to provide details. It does have cameras, but think they're primarily for it's rear-end detection system rather than storing images.

        So the Police may request the evidence, and Tesla may say 'Nope'. There's probably fun with jurisdictions and liability. Or they could print the data logged, one hex char per page. But as more autonomous vehicles hit the other road users.. I mean roads, these issues need to be addressed.

        AFAIK in a fatality, the Police seize the vehicle and examine it. So they could have the data, ie the 'black box', but no means to decode or interpret it. So it would probably be a good thing to have some system similar to aircraft investigations where TPTB can access car data. The Florida crash showed a CDIT (Controlled Drive Into Truck) with neither the driver nor the vehicle making any attempt to avoid it. Data from this fatility may show if the driver was in control, and if collision detection activated. But the Florida crash also showed several blind spots.

        It's not a problem unique to Tesla, but I think there should be a way for investigators to access vehicle data, quickly and conveniently, especially in fatalities.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        'I think it has front facing cameras and if the Police demand the evidence required to investigate a road death, I'm sure Tesla will be forced, if necessary, to hand it over."

        The question is whether those cameras are recording video or just using the feed in real time for navigation. There might not be anything to hand over.

  6. 0laf Silver badge
    Holmes

    Doesn't matter if it was on or not only if the cyclist or the car was in the wrong. If the car got it wrong on autopilot the driver will still be responsible.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Eh?

    "It is unknown at this time if the Tesla driver was using any self-driving technology when the incident occurred. We have asked Tesla for comment."

    Should you be asking the actual driver instead?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Eh?

      Yes, a bit like asking the driver who killed Chris Boardman's mum - totally deny it despite mounting evidence him and his GF lied through their teeth.

      The telemetry won't lie.

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: Eh?

        Were you there?

      2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        Re: Eh?

        Quote:

        The telemetry won't lie.

        Which is why both my motorbikes are fitted with cameras (called rather morbidly "My last five seconds" )

        Their job is to record what I run into and what it and I were doing before hand (in case I get splattered by events and cant say anything)

        Far as I'm concerned every motor vehicle on the road should be fitted with one (and a black box recording things like throttle/brakes/steering and gear), and you might see some better driving out there

        As for the tesla.... a tesla car hit a cyclist, cyclist died.. thats all we know.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are we hearing about every single accident involving a Tesla?

    If so I would say they are doing pretty well so far.

    If the news reported every incident with, say a BMW, we would have several hundred a week.

    I am inclined to think though that Autopilot is too much of a compromise between driverless and driver assisted that is likely to result in the meatbag manual pilot being rather too slow to intervene in the event of something unexpected, particularly if that unexpected thing is related to another meatbag.

    Most drivers will know, that at speed, regardless of your input to steering and brakes there is an area in front of your car that you will be unable to avoid. If animal, bird, cyclist, car, or pedestrian puts itself in that area and cannot get out fast enough there is nothing at all that you can do and it will get hit.

    Neither, humans or autopilots will make the car or others invulnerable unless they creep about at walking pace with a man waving a red flag walking in front of the car.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Are we hearing about every single accident involving a Tesla?

      If the news reported every incident with, say a BMW, we would have several hundred a week.

      Now correct for the number of kilometers driven by each of the marques.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are we hearing about every single accident involving a Tesla?

        Not by miles, but there are some stats here for the USA...

        http://www.iihs.org/

    2. Paul Hargreaves

      Re: Are we hearing about every single accident involving a Tesla?

      > I am inclined to think though that Autopilot is too much of a compromise between driverless and driver assisted that is likely to result in the meatbag manual pilot being rather too slow to intervene in the event of something unexpected, particularly if that unexpected thing is related to another meatbag.

      Not with the current level of autopilot. On a non-motorway when you engage it you definitely keep your hand(s) on the wheel since the car will react like a learner driver and, for example, over-steer or slam the brakes on thinking that a car in opposite lane is about to do something. By having your hand on the wheel as the car attempts to do something that you weren't expecting then it'll turn itself off automatically.

      It's still a much better experience than driving without, but once you've spent more than 10 minutes you quickly learn the limitations and how to correctly handle it. On the motorway it's fantastic, similarly on large A-roads it's amazing, but on smaller A roads, or normal side streets, autopilot isn't perfect. Nor is it sold as such.

    3. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      Re: Are we hearing about every single accident involving a Tesla?

      But the Mach 5 can leap into the air and jump over!

      Mach 5 5 5!

    4. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Are we hearing about every single accident involving a Tesla?

      "...there is an area in front of your car that you will be unable to avoid."

      But the Mach 5 can leap into the air and jump over!

      Mach go go go!

  9. Commswonk Silver badge

    Alternative Explanation

    It will be interesting to find out once all the evidence has been gathered whether the driver's mobile 'phone activity played any part in this fatality.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Alternative Explanation

      Or, it may have been the cyclist who was looking at his mobile phone?

      1. unwarranted triumphalism

        Re: Alternative Explanation

        I've been assured that they are all poverty-stricken social outcasts who couldn't possibly afford such luxuries as a mobile phone.

        So you are wrong. Again.

  10. JaitcH

    This means that . . .

    The Independent newspaper can now update the article in it's 'Tech' section headed TESLA CRASH: DRIVER KILLED IN FIRST FATAL CRASH INVOLVING AUTOPILOT MODE which has occupied a prominent position since 1 July 2016!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This means that . . .

      RTFA: "Not known if electric car's autopilot was in use"

  11. Mike Ball

    So what's the story??

    What's the story here? You state that its not known if AP was in use, so it's 'car hits cyclist'. Good grief. Why not publish a story that says 'Mercedes on cruise control hits cyclist' when it unfortunately happens? At least wait until there are known facts to make a story.

    1. wheelbearing

      Re: So what's the story??

      The story is that a large chunk of metal on 4 wheels, probably moving very fast, and quite possibly under the active control of an AI system (the other big selling point of this car aside from being electric powered), has killed a road user. Non-AI cars killing people is not big news as this is sadly common.

      The growth in the number of AI controlled cars is a big deal for all sorts of reasons.

      Most people in charge of cars and bikes are on occasion incredibly careless and slipshod in the way they control their vehicle of choice - this is why lots die and are mutilated every year on the roads. AI may be a way of reducing the carnage (pardon the pun).

      There are well understood and established laws and principles which determine how the people involved in vehicle related incidents are treated by the legal systems.

      It's still early days for how AI systems will in practice affect this whole area of the law.

      Every day, large numbers of people get away with their random stupid driving or cycling choices, but when something bad happens as a result and someone is hurt, the legal system will often examine the what the people involved were doing and their reasons for acting as they did.

      AI control adds a whole new level of complexity to this exercise, such what was the AI doing, how was it designed to manage the situation it encountered, what AI settings/options did the "driver" select, did the AI actually do what it "should" have done, etc. etc.

  12. John Robson Silver badge

    As a cyclist, a motorist and someone who can't wait for self driving vehicles to be the norm

    First up - condolences to the bereaved family...

    This case interests me greatly.

    An 80 year old cyclist is particularly vulnerable - both from not carting around a tonne and a half or armour, and from the 80 years they have spent on the earth.

    An 80 year old cyclist is also unlikely to have been a novice - most of the octogenerian cyclists I am aware of are life long cyclists continuing to do what they enjoy.

    There is a pretty good chance that at least the authorities will get excellent data on the incident.

    Assuming the normal case of motorist at fault (75% according to the police) then if any of the 'auto braking' systems have been actively disabled then I can't think that anything less than a manslaughter charge is appropriate.

    If the cyclist has had to take evasive action for a road defect then I would hope that the courts would view that as a normal course to take.

    It is also possible that the cyclist had a heart attack in the couple of seconds preceding the incident...

    We just don't know - but I am interested in the investigation.

    1. Bear

      Re: As a cyclist, a motorist and someone who can't wait for self driving vehicles to be the norm

      John - you are the first commentator to recognise that a tragedy has occurred. I just hope that I am still riding my bike if I make it to 80.

  13. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Wow, such hatred for the Tesla and its driver based on nil evidence in print.

    Time to balance the scales:

    This old octogenarian crinkly probably forgot where he was and what he was doing or wobbled all over the road while he tried to get his pills out of his pocket or suffered a heart attack and fell in front of the Telsa.

    There we go. All nice and even now.

    All based on the same reported facts in evidence per the article.

  14. bcsteeve

    This just in! Honda runs down a cyclist... oh wait, that one didn't make the news? Oh oh, I don't... "Random Toyota crashes and kills a marmot". No?

    Why is it at ALL a salient fact that the car that hit this unfortunate man was a Tesla? How is that relevant in the slightest? If it is news that this poor man died, then it should have been news regardless of the car's make... but that isn't the case. We're only here because it was a Tesla.

  15. TimeMaster T

    I have to wonder.

    If the story had been

    "80-year-old cyclist killed in prang with Lamborghini Huracán"

    would anyone care?

    Any car, with auto-pilot or not, can hit and kill someone if the driver isn't paying attention. Even if the Tesla's autopilot was engaged and working perfectly the driver was not paying attention to the road and thus is to blame, not the car. I believe Tesla makes it quite clear that the driver should not take their attention off the road even with the AP engaged.

    As a driving instructor once said "There are no 'accidents', its always because someone wasn't paying attention"

  16. Jim Birch

    I would suspect Tesla's got lot of work to do if it wants to reach the kill rate of ordinary drivers.

    The correct statistic to compare is Tesla v other cars. Comparing Tesla v Zero is is emotional claptrap.

  17. mediabeing

    Wisdom with age?

    I know that if I were an 80 yr old on a bicycle, I'd be damned careful where I pedaled.

  18. coolcity

    Unbelievable that lot of people are slating Tigra 07for making assumptions while making assumptions themselves. How does that make you people any better? "I betcha" doesn't actually mean that he was apportioning blame to anybody incidentally. You can bet on anything, it doesn't mean that bet will come in.

  19. StorePete

    Relevance

    Was it an e-bike ....

  20. Hankhill

    Clickbait...

    I'm not a particular Tesla fan, but if this accident had involved literally any other make of car on this planet, would this article, and these comments, even exist? Even the header says “Not known if electric car's autopilot was in use “ so why is the fact it’s a Tesla even relevant? This is just sensationalist journalism, or as one commenter put it, CLICKBAIT, and el Reg should question why they even printed this article. Slow news day? Click count getting low?

  21. gaz 7

    bullshit all bullshit

    There's a lot of know nothings on this thread. I am local (I work in durham and cycle commute 16 miles daily). that road is a 40 limit, but has islands, traffic lights as well as junctions. There is a very poor footpath which for some of it has been "converted" to make it legal for cyclists to use although in reality not fit for purpose

    It was reported yesterday that the poor guy killed although 80, was an experienced long distance cyclist who still did 3 or 4 60ml+ rides a week, so probably a damn sight fitter and more alert than most people on this site. It would have been appropriate for him to be on the road and not on the poor path, so LA must carry some responsibility for lack of suitable infrastructure.

    Bear in mind that a husband, father and grandfather died, some of the comments have been in decidedly bad taste and some verging on the offensive

    there's been no reports about the mode the car was in, or any other circumstances surrounding the collision. However, last friday it was very sunny here, and at the time of the collision both parties would have been cycling into bright low sun, and my guess is that the driver was struggling to see, and obviously didn't slow so he could stop in that distance

  22. rotmos

    If The Register was to report every time any other car brand was involved in an accident there would not be room for much else.

  23. Stig

    Is this not a technical mag

    Surprisingly, there has been almost no discussion òf a technical nature thus far.

    I would be interested to know how visible a narrow cyclist would be to the AI systems in general and, as gaz7 noted the low sun may have contributed to a less than optimum detection of the bike/rider either by driver or AI.

    Having to have some black boxery in every auto-possible AI vehicle would surely inform manufacturers of many more real world situations and in a shorter time.

  24. Stig

    Looking where we want to be and not where we're going.

    In low sun (as in fog) we tend to look (though shouldn't) for the CAR in front as a clue - not look for empty space - thus not seeing the narrow cyclist, maybe.

  25. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

    Since no one else has suggested it...

    No one has suggested that the bike may have been in autopilot yet...

  26. Snowy
    Facepalm

    If only we had cycle lanes that were not a narrow strip on on the left hand side of the road where the drains hide, more commonly called the gutter.

  27. MachDiamond Silver badge

    AutoCrasher

    It is known that Tesla's, ehem "AutoPilot" has problem correctly identifying bicycles and allowing for them. Another big problem is that the AutoPilot wants to exit the motorway all of the time even when the route continues on. If you really want something self-driving, take the train.

    Autonomous cars either need to be perfect (well, 7 or 8 9's to the right of the decimal) or not used at all. The greatest danger is a self-driving system that works in most situations. People will be apprehensive and constantly vigilant for a little while when they first start using it and then become less attentive until they are watching a movie, reading or applying makeup more of the time right up to the point where they smash into something. The constant refrain is that computers are so much better at driving than humans, but that hypothesis doesn't have very many data points yet. You could be fine on the motorway that has fresh lane markings and bouncing between hedge rows on a country lane.

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