Cycling in Sydney Australia
A Tasmanian motorist who killed a cyclist has been handed a pretend sentence. How is it that the judicial system can hand out a 4 month suspended gaol sentence for such a criminal act, but less brutal actions get much longer sentences?
This is deplorable.
Should the supposed "peak" cycling bodies begin a discussion with the magistrates and judges?
I'm just speechless and angry at this! This is not fairness in sentencing, nor does the punishment fit the crime.
Drivers of motor vehicles, and private motor cars especially, are not really accountable for their acts and omissions in any significant sense. Whether it be towards cyclists or any other road users. They generally get a smooth ride through the criminal justice system. Walk down the street swinging a baseball bat at people wearing red hats (nothing against people wearing red hats btw), or pointing a gun at people and see what happens, then punishment pass cyclists in a car and see what happens? And we get a whole nation worked up about people potentially, perhaps, killing individuals with plastic swords, and then just collectively shrug our shoulders at one of the countries major sources of death to people just going about their business.
I'd like to point out that the 4 months sentence has been suspended for two years.
Are you saying that is acceptable?
I would read a "Four months suspended sentence" as a sentence of 4 months suspended for 4 months. A considerably lesser sentence than a sentence of 4 months suspended for 2 years.
I don't think it is an acceptable sentence. I don't think it is an unacceptable sentence. I'm too incensed to think properly on the matter. Even if I was cogent I lack the expertise to consider custodial sentencing's severity, because I value that expertise. I know that I am not a fan of the public calling for years piled on top of years as if deterrent, punishment or reform work in sentencing. I know that I'm not a fan of "judge bashing," particularly when media don't make clear that parliament has imposed significant controls on sentencing and sentencing guidelines exist.
I fully concur with the family's suggestion that people who kill others on the road should face a mandatory 10 year licence disqualification. No ifs, no buts. If you drive for a living, then even more so.
Is a licence a right, or a privilege? The current jurisprudence on the issue makes a mockery of this oft-quoted concept.
Jail time is a harder beast, although I am supportive of some forced time to reflect on the devastating impact their actions have on society and to set a discouragement for others.
Another thing that riles me up on the caselaw is the professional driver thing. In court charged professional drivers often cite that they are on the road more, so of course something is going to happen so or later. Or they will incure more demerits than other drivers. Sorry, but F'ING WHY? If people stuff up at their non-road based jobs, after a few warnings that's it - you're done there. And you can be summarily dismissed for major breaches. But there is so much case law of professional drivers citing the inevitability of something happening, just because they are on the road a lot. BS! I know lots of professional drivers driving 6 figure distances a year with perfectly clear licences and histories. It is about attitude and aptitude, not inevitability.
But it is this 'inevitability' of road carnage that is both taken for granted by society in general, and reflected in negligent driving jurisprudence.
I agree, the whole 'inevitability' thing is BS!
The only 'inevitable' thing is that as a cyclists, the more you ride the more likely you are of getting cleaned up by a motorist. And that "SMIDSY" is enough to absolve the driver from any action by the police.
Someone who has killed someone else on the roads is much more likely to do it again than the general population.
Is there any stats anywhere that exhibits this?
Not sure that that particular point was being made above - I wouldn't believe that anyway. Someone who kills may have enough humanity to reform as a result. At least one has to hope.
The point I was making in particular is that in defending their (both summary and indictable) offences, professional drivers often tend to claim an inevitability of something happening, simply because they are on the road more. This is different to accident history itself making further accidents more likely or not.
But in the same way, I have to disagree with Sam about cyclists being on the road more making an issue inevitable. I would argue that by practicing road craft, advanced and defensive techniques, a 20,000 km a year rider may in fact be at lesser risk than a 1000 km a year casual rider not practicing such road craft.
I spend 75% of my time on the roads as a 'vulnerable road user' of some description or other. That heightens the risk, sure, but doesn't make it inevitable. I need to be aware of that fact, ride like people are trying to kill me (sometimes they are), and try and avoid others negligence as much as possible. There are times that nothing you can do will stop something happening, and that is tragic. But most of the time you can minimise or mitigate risk - or at least reduce the size of the bang.
The silence of the peak bodies always annoys me.
We're usually told that the reason we don't hear much from them is that they're doing their job improving things by working away in the system, going to meetings and not rocking the boat. But what do we get from all these meetings? Occasionally some good cycling infrastructure, usually some poor/dangerous infrastructure and silence when there are yet more cyclists deaths and poor police & judicial responses. Why aren't they rocking the boat to make the roads safer to start with? Being passive and compliant is changing little.
Sadly though I can't see any of these peak bodies or advocacy groups making any difference since (as I have said before) they are essentially businesses trying to make a profit. Getting out there and taking action costs money - printing a few posters which make it look like cyclists are the problem is cheap. It is their best interests to keep the roads a bit dangerous so they can keep memberships up and ask for financial support under the guise of improving the road safety for us all. If the roads were 100% safe for cyclists they'd no longer have anything to use to scare us into joining them.
The article starts with:
CYCLING Tasmania has slammed the wholly suspended sentence handed to the driver who killed cyclist Lewis Hendey as "manifestly inadequate".
From the article, Cycling Tasmania appears to be getting stuck in. Of course they are merging with bicycle network Victoria, so that may change things.
I was also happy to see Bicycle NSW getting quoted in the last round of cycling stories in Sydney. I am hoping that this is a sign of an organisation that has found its voice. However, I may just be setting the bar really low after listening to people on this site and am now happy with anything.
Of course they are merging with bicycle network Victoria, so that may change things
For the record, they aren't merging with BNV. They are the sports association for Tassie and a member of Cycling Australia. You have them confused with Bicycle Tasmania.
So I do! Thanks for correcting that. I get the whole bicycle/cycling organisation thing confused a fair bit.