Low sun. When do we get our collective heads around this apparently unfathomable phenomenon?
From the prosecutor’s statement as reported by the Shropshire Star:
Just about 8.20am on October 17, 2012, John Searle was riding his pushbike eastward out of Craven Arms. As he was riding along, Pamela Willocks came up behind him, totally oblivious to his presence. As she came up, the wing mirror struck either his handlebars or Mr Searle, and that caused him to fall where he sustained an injury to his head.
“Travelling some distance behind Mrs Willocks was Russel Davies, driving a VW transporter van with a work colleague. He also didn’t see Mr Searle and drove over him, causing serious injury to his left leg, pelvis and abdomen.
“Another woman was driving behind and also failed to see him, driving over his right leg, causing injury, but nothing as grave as the other injuries.
“Shortly after this Gary Pitkin was driving in the opposite direction with three children in the car. He got out to see what he could do. As he was on the phone to the emergency services another car hit him, breaking his leg.”
A man uses the road entirely lawfully, and a person hits him. Then a second. Then a third.
A man finally sees him in trouble and stops, and he is hit by a fourth person.
Four collisions. Four.
One man is dead. One man is airlifted to hospital.
But we know the outcome. We’ve seen an almost identical incident very recently.
We’ve seen it time and time again, and we’ve seen jurors explicitly advised by a judge to disregard the Highway Code’s advice to slow down when dazzled.
Again, as reported by the Star:
A jury today cleared two motorists of causing the death of a Shropshire cyclist by careless driving.
No surprises. It’s not even “careless”. Not “below the standard expected of a careful and competent driver”.
Again, from the Star:
Davies reiterated denials to claims he had been driving too quickly or was distracted. Pressed on claims he should have been driving slower due to dazzling sunlight, he said: “I thought I was driving at a safe speed for those conditions, I would have been driving slower otherwise.”
“The van was going about 40 to 50 mph. We went over something in the road, about a mile and a half from Craven Arms. It felt like going over a log or something. Russel said to me ‘What was that?’ and I replied, ‘I don’t know’.”
Hm? Nothing sounding like a problem there? You’re in a van doing 40-50mph and you can’t see what you’re actually driving over and that’s ok?
That’s “driving at a safe speed”?
Lest we forget, of course, our dear friends the expert witnesses. These are the people who tell us there’s no need to move sideways at all if there’s a cyclist ahead in your lane and who will comment on a cyclist’s lean with regard to the camber of the road and who will tell you that hi-viz is camouflage if you’re killed whilst wearing it and who will basically make any possible excuse for a driver who kills:
Constable Ian Edwards, a collision expert for West Mercia Police, told the court sunlight would have been shining directly into the eyes of drivers travelling eastbound on the B4368 between Craven Arms and Bridgnorth on the day Mr Searle was killed.
He told the court it was possible more light would have reflected from water on the road, making it “very difficult” for drivers to judge what was directly ahead of them.
Of course it’s difficult. That’s why 40-50mph isn’t a safe speed. That’s kind of proven by three people driving into the same person and not one of them even fucking seeing him.
The sun is just an excuse. Kill someone, say you couldn’t see while you were driving. Say you were actually, literally, completely fucking blinded—and it’s somehow fine!
How did we ever get to the situation where driving at up to 50mph whilst blinded is acceptable?
How the fuck is “I didn’t see him” anything but an admission of guilt? You’ve got eyes for fuck’s sake. If you can’t see, if your eyes don’t fucking work, don’t carry on at 40-50mph. What do you expect to happen if you’re doing 40-50mph and you can’t fucking see?
This is beyond ridiculous now. It’s a sick joke.
I’m fucking sick of reading about people killed in low sun.
I’m a fucking sight sicker of reading the obscene excuses people give for killing.
I’m sicker still that the legal system fuels these excuses with expert witnesses, and sicker again that juries buy it every fucking time.
Fuck this. We can’t have people doing this.
Surely this sun nonsense needs to stop. It’s legal homicide, nothing less, and every part of the legal process and the driver training process needs to change or hang its head in shame at supporting killing in this way.
Thanks (I think) to Ernie for bringing this to my attention.