The compensation payout to the family of a cyclist killed at London's notorious Bow roundabout has been reduced because he rode through a red light — even though the lorry driver convicted of causing his death by careless driving also went through the light on red.
Brian Dorling was the first cyclist to die on a cycle superhighway when he was hit by a tipper truck driven by David Cox on October 24, 2011.
His widow Debbie Dorling described the reduction in damages as "cruel" amd hit out at the justice system for not treating the families of those killed on the roads as victims.
The Evening Standard's Ross Lydall reports that Mrs Dorling, has secured a High Court settlement from the lorry firm McArdle Group and QBE Insurance.
But the £210,000 payout was cut from £330,000 because Mr Dorling had ridden through a red light, even though the driver had done the same, and later pleaded guilty to causing death by careless driving.
Mrs Dorling, 54, from Hounslow, said: “It’s not a windfall. [Brian] died aged 58. He would have retired when he was 65. It’s the amount of money he would have earned had he been alive, plus £11,200 because he did odd jobs around the house.
“It’s been docked by £120,000. I should have had £330,000. Because [Brian] broke the law, the amount of money I got was cut.
“These damages are cruel... The family of somebody who is killed on the road are not [classed as] victims. If he had been murdered or stabbed or shot, I would have been a victim. In law, Brian was the victim.”
Mr Dorling was an experienced cyclist who commuted daily from his home in southwest London to the Olympic Park in the east of the capital, where he worked as a quantity surveyor.
At the inquest into the death of Mr Dorling, the coroner heard that both the cyclist and the driver went through the red light just after it changed. Martin Porter QC, representing the family at the inquest, suggested that Mr Dorling had jumped the light to get away from away from the lorry.
Coroner Mary Hassall recorded a narrative verdict and described the design of the cycle superhighway at Bow as "an accident waiting to happen".
Mrs Dorling said she had received no counselling from Victim Support but had been supported by the charity RoadPeace.
“Nobody cares about the trauma and suffering,” she said. “It’s been a very difficult journey, and the journey still hasn’t finished.”
Lorry driver David Cox was given a six month suspended sentence last year with 100 hours of community service and a two-year driving ban.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.