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Learner driver who was speeding and on a phone call jailed for 14 months for killing milkman cycling to work

The driver, who was doing up to 58mph on a 40mph road and was making a phone call when he hit the 63-year-old cyclist from behind, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison

A milkman who was cycling to start his night shift and was only months away from retirement was killed by a speeding learner driver in Manchester. The driver has now been jailed for 14 months for causing death by careless driving and driving without a full licence.

63-year-old Roger Parris was cycling to work in Eccles from his home in Salford before his 1AM shift when he was hit from behind by Ravi Singh-Ratthore of Old Trafford, who was driving at speeds of up to 58mph.

Singh-Ratthore was in his Volkswagen Golf and was following the driver of a BMW when he hit Parris, according to Mirror.

The driver did not stop initially and kept on driving, before returning to the spot. Parris, a grandfather, was rushed to Royal Salford Hospital, but died an hour later of his injuries in December 2021.

The police later found that the driver only had a provisional licence and was making a phone call at the wheel of his car when the collision happened. The prosecutor also mentioned that Parris had complained about the state of the cycle lane to his partner earlier.

Minshull Street Crown Court, hearing the case, sentenced Singh-Ratthore to 14 months in prison after he admitted causing death by careless driving and driving without a full licence.

> Cyclists' widows to sue driver who walked out of court free after running both over and killing them instantly

John Kennerley, prosecuting, said: “He was a milkman who made this journey frequently. He was wearing a helmet, bright reflective clothing and had lights fixed on the front and rear of his bike. As a result, we can be sure that he was clearly visible to road users.

“Before the incident, he had complained to his long-term partner about the poor state of the cycle path on Centenary Way in Old Trafford.

“The defendant was driving a Silver Volkswagen Golf and travelling alongside a BMW 1 Series at the time of the incident. Before the incident, the occupant of the BMW had got out of the vehicle and interacted with the defendant when their cars were parked up.

“The defendant then drove behind the other car in the run-up to the incident. They were passing over the Manchester Ship Canal on Centenary Way at around 12:50am. The road was a dual carriageway with a clearly marked 40 mile per hour speed limit.

“Mr Parris was cycling on the road at the time, rather than the cycle path - perhaps for the reasons we heard earlier. It was still dark at the time of night, but the road was well lit with street lighting.

“The defendant's speed was calculated to be travelling at between 52 and 58mph. Phone evidence showed that he was using his phone to make a call before the incident.

“This call started at 12:40am and lasted approximately 13 minutes. This means he was on the phone at the relevant time of the incident. He had a hands free system installed in the car, but we cannot say whether he was using it at the time.

“When the BMW driver saw Mr Parris, he applied his brakes. The defendant was immediately behind Mr Parris, but he was oblivious and drove straight into the back of him. It was clear he did not see him because he only applied his brake lights after the collision.

“Another road user who was driving by thought she saw rubbish in the road before realising it was a person. She stopped her car, put her hazards on and called 999.

Mr Parris's brother Andrew said: "If he had not been killed by this man's callous and carelessness, my brother would have continued to outlive us all. Now I am missing a brother who has always been there for me.

> 88-year-old motorist avoids jail after causing the death of a cyclist who she hit “without noticing”

Andrew also described his brother as fit and zesty, and said that he was planning to retire in Spring 2022, just a couple of months before his death.

“The biggest impact of all will be on his three months and two-month-old grandchildren, who have been completely denied any memory of having their pops,” he added.

Mr Parris' daughter Heather said in a statement: "Losing someone just days before Christmas is a pain that lingers.

“Every time I hear a bike bell or see a cyclist, I am reminded of that fact. His wisdom and humour has now been replaced by a silence that echoes throughout our lives. I have since had to sell the family home, the sale of which was going to fund his retirement by the sea.”

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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36 comments

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hutchdaddy | 7 months ago
0 likes

How long would you get for manslaughter?

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Owd Big 'Ead | 7 months ago
14 likes

The law is an ass!

The CPS and magistrate should hang their heads in shame with their leniency offered to the driver who broke far more laws than the couple that he was charged with.

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Robert Hardy | 7 months ago
14 likes

The definition of dangerous driving is ridiculously lax. This should have been manslaughter charge there should be nothing careless about driving more than 25 percent faster than the maximum speed limit nor using a mobile phone at the wheel nor driving when you gave not proven the minimum skills to do so by passing a driving test. These are all examples of dangerous driving and should be much more strictly defined as such. Perhaps we need motoring offences to be defined and judged by AI systems rather than by law makers and a judiciary that seem to have more than half an eye on the deficiencies of their own road conduct.when setting standards and judging others.

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eburtthebike replied to Robert Hardy | 7 months ago
7 likes
Robert Hardy wrote:

The definition of dangerous driving is ridiculously lax.

Don't worry!  That will all be sorted out when the comprehensive review of road laws investigation produces its report: should be any day now.

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chrisonabike replied to eburtthebike | 7 months ago
2 likes

+1  - I've been waiting for you to renew the campaign now you're in high office!

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Bungle_52 replied to Robert Hardy | 7 months ago
1 like

"The definition of dangerous driving is ridiculously lax."

I don't think the definition is lax. Careless is defined as "below the standard of a CAREFUL AND COMPETENT driver". Dangerous is "well below". How this incident could not be interpreted as "well below" is beyond me.

The main probem is that the CPS take the easy option of accepting a guilty plea to careless driving to save themselves the hassle of getting a case together to prosecute dangerous driving. The other problem is the reluctance of juries and magistrates to return guilty verdicts for driving offences against cyclists.

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wtjs replied to Bungle_52 | 7 months ago
2 likes

problem is the reluctance of juries and magistrates to return guilty verdicts for driving offences against cyclists

You omitted the all-important upstream feature: the extreme reluctance of the police to view any offence against cyclists as a 'proper offence', so almost none of the offenders receive any penalty at all- still less go before a court

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chrisonabike replied to Bungle_52 | 7 months ago
1 like
Bungle_52 wrote:

"The definition of dangerous driving is ridiculously lax."

I don't think the definition is lax. Careless is defined as "below the standard of a CAREFUL AND COMPETENT driver". Dangerous is "well below". How this incident could not be interpreted as "well below" is beyond me.

Disagree here.  I'm sure the definition is not the only issue.  However to me it's not much better than "shorter than a piece of string" / "much shorter than a piece of string".  Given the average driver competence and understanding of the "standard" we need much more direction / assistance on "what is the normal length of a piece of string"!

Consider the incredible variety of "careful and competent" driving on the roads. (Well it must be OK, we're not all getting nicked and convicted - or only for "not real crime" e.g. speeding, parking in dangerous places...)  Also the fact that people judging this have likely last checked the driving standard one or more decades ago.  And indeed some will rarely drive or will have never done so.

Presumably most people judge the "standard" on "what I see on the roads".  I guess this is legally pragmatic.  I don't think "not even up to the standard of the driving test" is a good way to improve public safety though.  Also means we say one thing ("highway code" / road laws) but most practice something quite different.

Think your criticism of the CPS is valid but as you say they're just trying to get something for their efforts in the face of these difficulties.

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 7 months ago
3 likes
chrisonatrike wrote:

Disagree here.  I'm sure the definition is not the only issue.  However to me it's not much better than "shorter than a piece of string" / "much shorter than a piece of string".  Given the average driver competence and understanding of the "standard" we need much more direction / assistance on "what is the normal length of a piece of string"!

Consider the incredible variety of "careful and competent" driving on the roads. (Well it must be OK, we're not all getting nicked and convicted - or only for "not real crime" e.g. speeding, parking in dangerous places...)  Also the fact that people judging this have likely last checked the driving standard one or more decades ago.  And indeed some will rarely drive or will have never done so.

Presumably most people judge the "standard" on "what I see on the roads".  I guess this is legally pragmatic.  I don't think "not even up to the standard of the driving test" is a good way to improve public safety though.  Also means we say one thing ("highway code" / road laws) but most practice something quite different.

Think your criticism of the CPS is valid but as you say they're just trying to get something for their efforts in the face of these difficulties.

The obvious standard to compare driving against is the standard required in the driving test. Almost all drivers would have experience with that and there's a bunch of people that are qualified to judge people's driving against that standard.

I would like prosecutors to bring in driving test examiners and give their expert opinion on whether the described driving would incur points (which would be appropriate for careless driving) or be an insta-fail (which would be appropriate for dangerous driving).

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Bungle_52 replied to chrisonabike | 7 months ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:

Presumably most people judge the "standard" on "what I see on the roads".  I guess this is legally pragmatic.  I don't think "not even up to the standard of the driving test" is a good way to improve public safety though.  Also means we say one thing ("highway code" / road laws) but most practice something quite different.

You may be right but it seems to me that a COMPETENT driver will follow ALL the guidance in the highway code, a CAREFUL driver will do even more in certain situations eg. passing parked cars slowly in the vicinity of a school at the beginning and end of the school day.

Any tradesperson who does not follow the guidance for their profession would be considered incompetent, ie below the standard of a competent tradesperson. We don't accept just because a good number of them don't follow the standards then it's OK not to, especially if someone is killed or injured as a result.

It should be possible for the CPS to make this argument to a magistrate or jury rather than accepting that driving to the standard every one else uses is competent.

That is before we even get onto whether the driver was being CAREFUL.

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chrisonabike replied to Bungle_52 | 7 months ago
0 likes
Bungle_52 wrote:

You may be right but it seems to me that a COMPETENT driver will follow ALL the guidance in the highway code, a CAREFUL driver will do even more in certain situations eg. passing parked cars slowly in the vicinity of a school at the beginning and end of the school day.

I suspect in court, if people are being "fair" jurors / magistrates (as opposed to actually following the legal direction) they're less likely to convict where this would be obvious hypocrisy. I think you can see that in the court reports covered here (yeah, selection effect obvs.) We also know that for some offenses (eg. speeding) many - if not the majority - of drivers break the law at some point (often regularly in certain locations). So that suggests in practice COMPETENT and CAREFUL will often have a completely different meaning in courts than we would like them to.

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eburtthebike | 7 months ago
20 likes

In what other field of human activity in this country would you get such a minor sentence for negligently killing someone?  Especially when you aren't even qualified to do the activity, and know you aren't.  The choice to drive while not qualified isn't negligence, it was a completely deliberate act.

Whether he was using hands-free or not doesn't make any difference to the distraction caused by the call, a fact very well known to the government when they declined to make hands-free illegal.  Scum.

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cyclisto | 7 months ago
0 likes

I would very hardly leave the safety of a segregated bike lane. My daily commute has a bicycle path part that seems three times worse than the one shown in the picture here, but I prefer to use it and go a little slower since being segregated seems safer.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
9 likes

The protected cycleways in Trafford Park are generally very poor and give way at every single side road, no matter how minor.  It's generally quicker and more convenient to not use them.  I was driving along Barton Dock Road yesterday and the cycleway in one place was completely obstructed by overgrowth.  I don't mean a bit - I mean completely.

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brooksby replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
10 likes

Except that I wonder how much motor traffic there was on that road at 1 am? 

I would suggest, "Not much", which is probably why Mr Parris chose to legally ride on the road rather than on the segregated path about which he'd complained (broken glass and litter thrown from cars travelling on the dual carriageway, perchance...?).

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eburtthebike replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
10 likes

The data shows that such poorly designed cycle lanes are at least as dangerous or safe as riding on the road, and considerably less convenient.

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jh2727 replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
6 likes
cyclisto wrote:

being segregated seems safer.

That's fine... But seeming to be safer is a long way from actually being safer. What safety do you think segregation provides, from someone who's traveling more than 75 feet every second and not looking where they are going?

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cyclisto replied to jh2727 | 7 months ago
0 likes

The best benefit with segregation is that you avoid being in the path of drivers that assume there is nothing on their road ahead and just follow the road not looking for obstacles.

@eburtthebike

please explain me what is wrong with that "such" cycle lane in the bridge that makes it more dangerous than driving in the road where a very real accident happened. It is literally a straight lane with no junctions.

Some people complain about glass on the cyclepaths etc. The solution is simple put on wider punctureproof tires. I ride well inflated armored 32c tires and on properly fitted new tires I have had just one flat from a steel staple, probably from my previous job parking space. I have ridden multiple times over broken glass, scared from stories, but nothing ever happens. But even if flats was a more frequent problem I wouldn't risk my life for an occasional walk home with a flat tire. The fact that some people ride skinny 23c tires with non existent casing is equal to people wanting to drive around their town in F1 cars.

I am a big advocate of cycle paths. I had to start twice cycling as an adult and both times having - low standards for some people - cycle paths in my area helped me a lot. We have to demand for more cycle paths and use them. If we fill them with bicycles, more will come up. They may be poorly designed at start but definitely better than nothing. And eventually they will improve.

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brooksby replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
9 likes
cyclisto wrote:

The best benefit with segregation is that you avoid being in the path of drivers that assume there is nothing on their road ahead and just follow the road not looking for obstacles.

Interesting argument:  So, don't ride on the road at all.  Ever.  Just in case the motorists aren't looking where they're going...?

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Robert Hardy replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
1 like

Medical reasons or motoring convictions? Either might make you more nervous about using the road and aware of your vulnerabilities than those who habitually cycle. Overall I think cycling is now safer than the days of my childhood as a first year secondary school pupil when I would cycle to my nearest town and be repeatedly left wobbling by the airblast of passing lorries leaving me bare inches to spare.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
7 likes

> please explain me what is wrong with that "such" cycle lane in the bridge that makes it more dangerous than driving in the road where a very real accident happened. It is literally a straight lane with no junctions.

Dude, I live here, I know it.  That cycle lane is fucked.  Look at the surface:

https://goo.gl/maps/rstkcnkknx4XkCJA9

That was two years ago.  It's worse now.

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cyclisto replied to Peowpeowpeowlasers | 7 months ago
1 like

That is weird, your photo is from Nov 2020. In streetview from Google Earth in June 2021 it seems repaired and the pavement for motor traffic is actually in worse state.

@Rober Hardy

I wish it was motoring convictions but unfortunately medical. I still feel unsafe in open roads and I will avoid roads where there is high speed of motor traffic, so anywhere with a cyclepath 95% I will use it.

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Robert Hardy replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
1 like

My sympathies.

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Jimmy Ray Will | 7 months ago
15 likes

If the defendent had a full driving licence and was legally allowed to be behind the wheel of a car, I could just about accept - and I do mean barely accept - this was careless driving... maybe.

However, my understanding of the definition of dangerous driving is that the standard of driving falls well below the accepted standard, and the actions taken were deliberate / a conscious choice.

In this case we have;

 - Speeding - conscious choice, potentially close to 50% above the speed limit.

 - Mobile phone use - I appreciate that it would be hard to prove if using hands free or not, but again, a conscious choice

 - Driving without a valid licence - conscious choice to get behind the wheel having not met the legal standard of driving to do so.

Other than for the convenience of the CPS, why is this not a death by dangerous driving situation?

 

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the little onion replied to Jimmy Ray Will | 7 months ago
6 likes

You would have to add to this list the fact that they appear to have been, judging by the evidence presented here, involved in a car chase. Again, a conscious decision to go off in pursuit of someone else.

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brooksby replied to the little onion | 7 months ago
1 like
the little onion wrote:

You would have to add to this list the fact that they appear to have been, judging by the evidence presented here, involved in a car chase. Again, a conscious decision to go off in pursuit of someone else.

Does "interacted with" mean that they shouted at each other and threatened violence (chase), or does it mean that the one challenged the other that he could get to <some place> before him (race)?

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Geoff Ingram | 7 months ago
13 likes

Tragic, as so many of these cases are. 14 months for manslaughter? Make it 14 years.

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Legin | 7 months ago
0 likes

This tragic incident undoubtedly deserved a custodial senetence.

However I still see that many convictions for offences of a similar gravity do not result in custodial sentences for people with more traditional British names.

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mctrials23 replied to Legin | 7 months ago
2 likes

Examples of learner drivers racing, breaking the speed limit and killing a cyclist?

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Robert Hardy replied to Legin | 7 months ago
11 likes

The cyclist in London with a non roadworthy bicycle who knocked and tragically caused the death of a pedestrian who had stepped into the road just meters ahead of him got 18 months I believe. Far fewer culpability factors, apart from a strange and possibly neuro diverse belligerency exhibited in the in the days immediately after the collision.

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