A drunk cyclist whose bike had a defective front brake has been jailed following an incident in Norwich which left a female pedestrian aged in her 60s requiring hospital treatment for facial wounds. The case stands in stark contrast to another one we reported on last week in which a drunk driver was never charged in relation to a crash in which a cyclist died.
Adam Royle, aged 37 and formerly of Sprowston but now of no fixed abode, was jailed for six months at Norwich Crown Court last week having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving, which falls under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861.
Police discovered that the bike he was riding when the collision happened on the evening of 13 July last year on the city’s Gentleman’s Walk had a defective front brake, reports the Eastern Daily Press.
PC Louis Luck, of Norfolk Police, who was the investigating officer in the case, said: “This is a fantastic result which would not have been achievable without the support of members of the public and it really highlights the impact of irresponsible cycling in the city centre.”
She was replying to a tweet from Norwich Police, which read: “Drunken cyclist with defective brakes who caused GBH-level injuries to an elderly female jailed for six months. #goodpolicework #586 #1925.”
The legislation is sometimes used to prosecute cyclists who have been involved in a collision in which a pedestrian has died, although given that there are around two such fatalities each year on average, and by no means all of those result in charges being brought against the bike rider, such cases are rare – and ones in which the victim was injured, rarer still.
Having said that, this is the second such case involving a cyclist convicted following a collision with a pedestrian in recent days – and both relate to incidents in Norfolk.
On Saturday, we reported on a case in which a cyclist was of causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving following a fatal collision with a pedestrian in Cromer last year.
David Tilley was riding the wrong way down a one-way street when he hit 80-year-old Sally Coutya. She never recovered and died five months later.
Tilley, however, was not given a custodial sentence, with the judge handing him down a nine month jail sentence suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.
The differnce may be due to aggravating factors, with Royle reportedly drunk at the time of the collision, plus the absence of a functioning front brake on his bike.
It’s worth bearing in mind that while there are distinct offences of causing death by dangerous driving and causing serious injury by dangerous driving, carrying maximum jail terms of 14 years and 5 years respectively, the offence of causing bodily harm through wanton or furious driving makes no distinction between injury and death – so in each case, the maximum penalty is two years’ imprisonment.
And in yet another case from Norfolk, we reported last week on a coroner’s inquest into the death of cyclist Sze-Ming Cheung in which no charges were ever brought against a driver who was two times over the legal limit for alcohol when he swerved to avoid another motorist overtaking the rider, who was killed in the head-on collision.
Speaking about the two cases involving cyclists, Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said: “Without hearing all the evidence, it is different to comment on the specifics of these cases.
“However, last week we heard a senior solicitor tell national breakfast tv that there were no sanctions to deal with irresponsible cycling and the UK needs emergency legislation to deal with irresponsible cycling.
“These two cases demonstrate the powers are there, and moreover are used by the courts when needed.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.