Monday, 22 November 2010

Cyclist death: Driver on mobile sentenced to 7 years

In June last year a woman cycling to work was crushed by a lorry whose driver was both recovering from a  night's heavy drinking and talking on his mobile phone. Dennis Putz was sentenced to 7 years (of which he'll serve only about 4) and Catriona Patel's family are left shattered.

On the morning of this tragedy, which took place in Oval in south London, I actually stopped to look at the legions of cyclists on the road when I came out of Stockwell tube on my route to work there. Stockwell is just a a stop or so south of Oval and the road follows the same line. South London then, as now, has many many more cyclists than we do in West London but I said at the time that the case raised questions about the safety of cyclists in our neck of the woods too, particularly those I see weaving in and out of the traffic on the way to Holland Park roundabout which never ceases to amaze me.

In response to that article several of you noted that the cycle lanes in and around Westfield were far from perfect and even someone from an HGV training school wrote in to say that cyclists always needed to be on their guard.

But what also gets me about this case, as it went on, was the fact that the driver was on his phone - which is something you very much do see all the time in W12. How can anyone think that driving while holding a phone to  your ear is anywhere approaching safe? If you're on the roads today in any capacity remember Catriona's fate if only to serve as a constant reminder that there are some extremely dumb & dangerous people behind the wheel around you - and watch out.


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