Victory for Cyclist who refused to stay in the gutter
CTC Press Release 26/01/07
A cyclist who was found guilty last year of inconsiderate cycling, whilst cycling in accordance with the National Standard for cycle training, has today been acquitted on re-trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court.
CTC member Daniel Cadden was cycling fast downhill on a single-lane carriageway when he was stopped by police who believed that the position he had taken in his lane was forcing cars to cross the solid white line in the centre of the road illegally in order to overtake. But rather than stop the cars that had broken the law, the officers decided to charge Daniel Cadden with inconsiderate cycling.
CTC member, Daniel Cadden was cycling fast downhill on a single-lane carriageway when he was stopped by police who believed that the position he had taken in his lane was forcing cars to cross the solid white line in the centre of the road illegally in order to overtake. But rather than stop the cars that had broken the law, the officers decided to charge Daniel Cadden with inconsiderate cycling.
Judge Robin Onions and two magistrates threw out the case after hearing police evidence. They accepted arguments put forward by Cadden's barrister, Francis Fitzgibbon, that there were contradictions in the police's evidence, that there was no legal obligation for cyclists to use cycle tracks and that causing only a short delay to drivers did not constitute "inconsiderate cycling". The judge who sat at his first trial believed Daniel should have not been on the road at all and instead should have crossed three lanes of busy traffic to use a cycle path, which runs alongside the road where he was stopped.
Speaking outside court, Daniel Cadden said: "I am overjoyed that the ludicrous decision to prosecute me has been overturned. The recognition in this case must go to the real heroes, all those people who have supported it either financially by giving to the Cyclists Defence Fund, by joining CTC or by sending messages of support to myself and my family. Without the support of these people this fight would not have been possible. The overwhelming sum donated to the Cyclists Defence Fund has been testament to the solidarity shown by the cycling community on this issue."
"This success serves to reaffirm the right of cyclists to decide when to use cycle facilities and when they are inappropriate or dangerous. The first judgement was unreasonable in denying this."
A TRIUMPH FOR CYCLISTS' DEFENCE FUND
CTC's Campaigns and Policy Manager Roger Geffen added: "This ruling is a tremendous victory, both for Daniel Cadden personally, and for all the cyclists whose donations to the Cyclists' Defence Fund have helped support this case. We hope the Government will now heed the voices of 11,000 cyclists who lobbied their MPs when a draft revision of the Highway Code threatened to enshrine into law the misguided views of the original police officers and trial judge in this case. We are picking up signs that the Government has been listening, so we hope there will be more good news on this when the new Code comes out later in the spring."
Daniel Cadden was supported in his defence by the Cyclists' Defence Fund (CDF), the independent charity which was founded by CTC to provide cyclists with support in legal cases. Over £25,000 was donated to the CDF by cyclists keen to show their support for Daniel."
To donate money to the Cyclists' Defence Fund, go to www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk
* CTC fears that the re-drafted Highway Code, which states that cyclists should "use cycle facilities...where provided" can only increase this kind of hostile prosecution of cyclists by reinforcing the perception that cyclists should keep out of the way of motorised traffic. Last year, over 11,000 cyclists lobbied their MPs for a change to the new version of the Code, which is due to be published next year.
* Cyclecraft, the book published by The Stationery Office on skilled riding techniques, states: "The primary riding position (the centre of one's lane) should be your normal riding position when you can keep up with traffic, or when you need to prevent following drivers from passing you dangerously."
* In another cycling-related court case, sentencing is due today in the case of a driver recently found guilty of causing the death of Zak Carr, one of Britain's leading racing cyclists. Norfolk publican Donald Pearce was recently found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving. He was driving home from the airport having not slept since leaving Turkey the previous day, and it is suspected he may have fallen asleep at the wheel. Further news on this will be available later at www.ctc.org.uk
* CTC is the national organisation for all cyclists in the UK and Ireland, including children, families, and commuters. CTC has 70,000 members and affiliates and is the oldest and largest cycling body in the UK. www.ctc.org.uk
* The Cyclists' Defence Fund is an independent registered charity, originally founded by CTC in 2001. Its formation was prompted by the claim of insurer Provident against the parents of nine-year-old cyclist Darren Coombs who was brain damaged when hit by a car. Its aims and activities have since been widened (see www.cyclistsdefencefund.org.uk for full details), but its focus is still on issues of cycling and the law, including support for court actions with the potential to affect the general position of cyclists or cycling in law.