The sad case of Celia Ward, a 77-year old cyclist killed by the actions of a pedestrian, Auriol Grey, hit the news headlines recently. In March 2023, Grey was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for aggressively causing the cyclist to lose control and fall into the path of a car whose now-traumatised driver could do nothing to avoid the collision.
Grey left the scene and subsequently lied to the police but was convicted largely because of CCTV video footage showing exactly what had happened, including the last few moments before the cyclist was fatally injured.
Grey seemed to think that cyclists had no right to be on that particular pavement. There appears to have been uncertainty on the part of Cambridgeshire County Council, the local authority, as to the status of the footpath where Ward was cycling, although Judge Sean Enright in his sentencing remarks referred to it as a shared cycleway.
After the conclusion of the case, the investigating police officer expressed a hope that it was a stark reminder to all road users to take care and be considerate of each other.
Pedestrians and cyclists are vulnerable road users and are recognised as such in the Highway Code, along with others including motorcyclists and horse riders. Although it is important to remember most road deaths and serious injuries are caused by drivers, this case is a timely reminder that any road user can kill or seriously injure another. In September 2017 a cyclist, Charlie Alliston, was jailed for 18 months for hitting and killing a pedestrian, Kim Briggs, as he sped without brakes through London.
These two tragic cases have one thing in common: a disregard for the safety of other vulnerable road users.
As a serious-injury lawyer, I know only too well the devastating impact that fatal and life-changing injuries can have and I hope there are no more cases like these. There are always going to be occasions on which we feel angry, frustrated, or in a rush and inclined to take a chance – but lives can be saved if we all of us take on board the police officer’s stark reminder that everyone should be looking out for each other.
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