Christopher Tandy was killed on 2nd August 2014.
|Picture courtesy of Evening Standard|
He was riding northbound on London Bridge. It was a Saturday evening and the carriageway was fairly free. After crossing the river, Christopher started to move right from the bus lane, in anticipation of his right turn at the hostile and dangerous junction at the end of the road. For reasons unclear, he miscalculated his trajectory, hit the central kerb and fell over onto the other carriageway.
At the same moment, on the southbound carriageway, a young driver of a powerful BMW, relieved that a bus in in front of him had just pulled to the left, accelerated and reached a speed of 61 kph. At that speed, the driver had no time to react when Christopher fell in front of him. Christopher was run over and killed.
At the Coroner’s Inquest, the investigating officer testified that
“Had the driver been driving at the speed limit of 20 mph (= 32kph), he would have been able to avoid the collision.”
However the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute the driver for causing death by dangerous driving.
The driver was prosecuted and convicted for speeding; so there is no doubt that he broke the law and was driving at almost twice the speed limit. Why then no prosecution for the much more serious offence?
We can only speculate that in the mind of the prosecutor was probably the view from the driver’s seat of a cyclist suddenly flying over the kerb.
This is a total misconception of why 20mph speed limit have been adopted. The limit is a fundamental pillar of Vision Zero, because it is based on the concept that people are fallible and errors should not be death sentences.
The key and only fact that the CPS should have considered was “Would Christopher Tandy have been killed if the driver had been driving according to the law?” The expert opinion was a clear NO and there was no opposing view. It is a stone dead case of Causing Death by Dangerous Driving.
The fact that Christopher had made an error or that he had drank 5 pints of beer through the day are irrelevant.
We still have a long way before British authorities understand Vision Zero. The tragedy is that until they do, young people like Christopher will continue to be killed unnecessarily.
It is sadly significant that the Coroner considered a Prevention of Future Death report because he was concerned about the size of speed signs and not about the lack of enforcement of the speed limit.
Drivers know very well that they are speeding. They do it because
1. they know they can get away with it and
2. they feel that they can handle the higher speed.
The latter may be true most of the time, until a fellow human being makes an error.
UPDATE: The Coroner did issue a PFD report asking:
- better speed limit signage
- protected cycle tracks on London Bridge