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Cycling and Man Slaughter.

A trial for manslaughter, which might fairly be headed '/.Important to.CyclistSi" has just heen held at the Bristol ABsitosi before Mr Justice Denmari. The accused, a youth of nineteen, was cycling at a rapid rate down a hill m the neighborhood of Bristol, at about half-past seven m the evening, when he r^n down a laboring man and killed him. It was shown that he sounded his bell all the way down the hill, and that a companion of of the diseased who heard it turned to the left, and escaped all injury. The deceased unfortunately turned to the right, and the bicycle was upon him before there was time for further warning. The counsel for the prosecution was quite ready to admit, that the diseased was on his "wrong side " m turning to the right, but this the Judge would not hear of. A person walking, he said^ had a perfect right to use whichever side of the road he preferred^ It carinpt be denied, however, that bj the rule of the road the vehicle moves to the left or, at any rate, keeps on the left, to allow the vehicle coming up behind to pass on the right. Mr Charles Mathews, Avho defended the accused, maintained that the question of pace was of no moment ; but to this, not unnaturally, the Judge altogether demurred, Mr Mathews was m»re fortunate m his contention that the prosecution was bound to to prove not only the want of reasonable care but " culpable negligence," and he secured the acquittal of his client. The yonng man was not suffered to leave the • Court without a weighty homily from the Judge. He was told that the law did not give the. slightest sanction to the presumed doctrine of "young fellows " on bicycles that everybody, must get out of their way; It is tp be liqped that one of the great bodies that lay down cycle law for cyclists, or both of them, may enforce this observation of the Judge by some practical rule. : » But a few years ago the Press had to plead foi toleration fdi? tho ; cyclists. Every man's hand, and especially every man's wheel and whip, were against them, and there were persistent attempts to run them off the road by the summary process of running over them. All that is changed, and so effectually that there now seems good ground for an appeal to cyclists for moderation. With them it is apt to be the pace that kills. In the dusk of evening they sometimes steal upon the unwary traveller who happens to be of short sight, and perhaps of somewhat defective hearing, with a rapidity that precludes all exercise of caution if he happen to swerve the wron,g way, la there no regulation pace, and especially, no pace for turning cqr^ers an^" descending hills? T.he machine is noiseless, and , when fts |amp « nqt burning ifc achieves

a surprise visit with more success than any other \ chicle on the roar]. In the casie m question it was certainly.no part of the right, of the cyclist to assume that the man m front was about to tnko any pai ticular side of the road. 11, w.is surely his duty, as the' man m the rear, to bo prepared for cither eventuality, and to steer accordingly—-to get out of the man's w.-y, instead of expecting tho man to get out of his way. There should surely be some rule to discouragis the practice of taking hills «t n pace which prevents all effective control of the machine. As it is, |'P»., m#"X cyclists seem to regard Nils as places especially designed to afford them the delights of rapid transit, and, m fact, us only swituh-back.-s under another name. —V.-Bailv News."

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18901013.2.9

Bibliographic details

Cycling and Man Slaughter., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2542, 13 October 1890

Word Count
631

Cycling and Man Slaughter. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2542, 13 October 1890

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