The sad and avoidable death of Rhiannon Bennett

Most English cyclists will be aware of the tragic death of 17 year old Rhiannon Bennett from injuries sustained when she was knocked over by Jason Howard, a cyclist. Miss Bennett was standing with a group of friends when Howard approached riding at an estimated seventeen mph. He shouted “move, because I’m not stopping” apparently making no attempt to swerve or slow down.  He hit her with sufficient force to knock her over  and her head struck the pavement.

Not surprisingly most people, including club cyclists, are amazed that Howard, who was charged with dangerous cycling, received only a £2200 fine. A police spokesman has, however, revealed that Ms Bennett “was probably a few inches or a foot into the road.” That is precisely where Howard, and all other cyclists, is supposed to be, as near to the gutter as possible.

Why Jason Howard behaved in such an incredibly stupid and reckless way only he can say.  It would seem though that this was not, as reported, a fatal battle in the war between cyclists and pedestrians over the use of pavements. I would only remind readers of the facts. Last year 136 cyclists were killed on Britain’s roads and a further 2428 seriously injured. In the same year the number of pedestrians and motorists killed by cyclists was one. I will continue to ride on the pavement but I shall keep an eye on the statistics and if the odds ever look more favouable I will then ride “responsibly” and stick to the road.

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3 Comments »

  1. Fixup said

    I’m sure you know this already but…

    – That fine is higher than what certain motorists have had to pay for killing pedestrians/cyclists even when they have been at fault

    – Riding as close to the gutter as possible really isn’t a good idea… a minimum distance of 0.5m is generally recommended – this is what my cycling proficiency teacher taught us but I can’t see anything on the highway code website.

    – The media really did not do a good job of reporting this incident at all – see a few of the comments on this page particularly those made by ‘nine bob note’

  2. Cy Quick said

    Thanks for referring people to my web log mydigest.wordpress.com

    Renewed sympathy for the family of Rhiannon Bennett, murdered by a prim, self-righteous bully.

    Regarding being close to the kerb, 50cm sounds like a good idea. There has to be room for the left pedal to operate. Most roads and streets have ragged uneven material next to the kerb anyway.

    Haven Road in Poole, between the roundabout with Canford Cliffs Road and Flaghead Road, has very thick double yellow lines and the first time you ride over them you think your wheels have come lose, because your road contact is shifting all over the place. This is not the only place this happens but it is the worst case I know.

    Cy Quick

  3. kev said

    i drive a car and ride a lambretta i also do over 100 miles a week on my bike, i use paths cycle ways , green lanes, bridal ways even roads now and again, i keep my self safe first then everyone else, 50 years back when i cycled a couple of cars a day passed my house, 5k a day do now !! i will NOT be forced to use roads so cars and lorry’s can drive over the top of me, another lad killed two night back on the A129 near middlesborogh, lorry straight over the top of him, driver charged with careless driving lad squashed and dead ,, im still alive and never go on the a19 on my bike, lambretta and car yes, bike no ,

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