Charlie Alliston, 20, (pictured today) crashed into HR executive Kim Briggs, 44, at up to 14mph as the mother-of-two tried to cross the road on her lunch break in Old Street in east London
A cyclist accused of killing a pedestrian while illegally riding an Olympic-style track bike enjoyed taking risks and was ‘asking for trouble’ before her death, a court heard today
Charlie Alliston, 20, crashed into HR executive Kim Briggs, 44, at up to 14mph as the mother-of-two tried to cross the road on her lunch break in Old Street in east London.
Ms Briggs, who had recently started work as head of human resources at the nearby office of genealogy website Find my Past, suffered catastrophic head injuries in the collision on February 12 last year and died in hospital a week later.
In the hours and days after the crash Alliston posted a series of comments online blaming the victim for the crash and falsely claimed she ignored his shouts to carry on looking at her mobile phone, jurors were told.
In his closing speech to the jury at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said that Alliston was guilty of manslaughter because his cycling was both unlawful and dangerous.
The court heard the ‘fixie’ bike did not have a front brake – an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Mr Penny said: ‘You may think it is not rocket science why track bikes are not allowed in the roads.
‘We all have to use public roads and therefore road safety is regulated. Track bikes are built for speed.
‘It shouldn’t be on the road, it has no front brake, it is a speed machine.
‘It is Shoreditch, it is lunchtime, there are cars, there are parked lorries, there are pedestrians who look to cross the road. You have got to be ready for things that happen.’
Kim Briggs died of catastrophic dead injuries she suffered after she was knocked down
Alliston was riding a track bike which was illegal for road use as it had no front brakes
A year before the accident Alliston tweeted about removing his front brakes from a fixed-wheel track bike by saying it was like a Lucas Brunelle movie, jurors heard.
Brunelle takes part in ‘alley cat racing’ where groups of cyclists weave in and out of traffic, take risks and do ‘dangerous stuff’, said Mr Penny.
The prosecutor said: ‘What Mr Alliston is saying is “I like taking risks”. He is saying he finds it exciting he is saying he finds it exhilarating.
What is the law on bikes on the road?
For the first time, the CPS is bringing a charge of manslaughter against Alliston, who was riding a fixed wheel bike with no front brake fitted.
It is a legal requirement that bikes have a front braking system.
Track bikes not intended for road use can be sold without a front brake, but it is a legal requirement to fit such a bike with a front brake before using it on the road.
The law is currently restricted to charging cyclists accused of dangerous or reckless cycling to an outdated ‘wanton and furious driving’ charge, which was created in the Victorian era when horse and carts were on the roads.
In Alliston’s case, the charge includes wilful neglect in that he was riding a bike that was not legally fit for use on the roads.
‘If you are prepared to take a risk in the style of Lucas Brunelle the reality is you are going to have to deal with stopping when hazards occur.
‘To do something dangerous as riding around on this bike is asking for trouble.
‘He was going too quick bearing in mind the braking ability he had.’
Alliston’s barrister Mark Wyeth QC asked the jury to use their common sense and acquit the cyclist of manslaughter.
Mr Wyeth asked: ‘Is this really manslaughter? Or is the prosecution really holding a council of perfection and applying it to an at the time 18 year-old on a bicycle.
‘Yes it is a tragedy for the Briggs family, it is also a tragedy for the Alliston family.
‘I respectfully submit you should make a common sense judgment.’
He asked whether the prosecution would have charged Mrs Briggs with manslaughter if she had survived and Alliston had died.
Alliston claims that Mrs Briggs stepped back into his path as he tried to swerve and insisted he could not have avoided the collision even if he had brakes.
Mr Wyeth told jurors that Mrs Briggs’ step back after being warned by Alliston was the ‘true cause of the accident’.
Alliston had bought his black Planet X fixed-wheel track bike, of a kind similar to those ridden by Olympians Chris Hoy and Laura Trott, for £470 in January 2016.
Mrs Briggs’s husband, Matthew, with whom she had two children, has attended the majority of Alliston’s trial
Within hours of the accident being reported, Alliston wrote on a cycling forum: ‘I won’t say she deserved it, it was her fault. Yes it was her fault, but no she did not deserve it. Hopefully it is a lesson to be learned on her behalf.’
Then on 14 February Alliston also wrote: ‘I refuse to accept any responsibility in this whatsoever… It’s not my fault people think they are invincible or just have zero respect for cyclists.
‘What makes it worse is that, even when people were helping her, her phone was going off continuously with texts showing she was on it at the time.
‘If you value your mobile phone more than your life maybe this is the type of wake up call you need.’
The cyclist has since admitted that it was not true that he saw Mrs Briggs look back on her mobile phone after he shouted a warning.
Alliston, of Bermondsey, denies manslaughter and causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving.
The trial continues.
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