Old Street cycle death: Rider Charlie Alliston had right of way and victim was not using pedestrian crossing, court told
PUBLISHED: 16:06 15 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:42 15 August 2017
The cyclist on trial for killing a pedestrian as she crossed Old Street had right of way because the lights were green, the Old Bailey heard this afternoon.
Kim Briggs, 44, could have avoided danger by using a pedestrian crossing that was less than 10 metres away from the collision site, said Mark Wyeth QC.
He was cross-examining crash investigator Pc Edward Small, who has reviewed CCTV showing the moment Charlie Alliston collided with Mrs Briggs in February last year.
Asked if Mrs Briggs was looking at her mobile phone when she stepped into the road, Mr Small said he could not tell “one way or the other” as she was partly obscured on the CCTV by a parked lorry.
Referring to Alliston’s previous work, his lawyer hypothesised: “I’m an experienced courier. I’ve got two years’ experience as a courier running around central London.
“I’ve been riding fixed wheel bikes since 2014 and whilst the bike is new to me, I’m very familiar with road bikes without front brakes.
“Would that put me in a better position to navigate hazards than a serving police officer?”
The witness said there would not be much difference without brakes.
Mr Wyeth said: “We have seen velodromes and seasoned athletes. One way the fixed wheel bikes can be brought to a stop involves getting up out of the seat and [putting] down pressure on pedals to get that kinetic energy to come to a sharper halt than just a freewheel.”
He asked if Alliston could be seen doing that. Pc Small said he did not recall the defendant rising in his seat.
In a police interview, Alliston insisted he thought Mrs Briggs would stop after he shouted out to her.
In transcripts read in court, he said: “I have warned her to stop. I thought she would stop but she didn’t. That’s all I can say. That’s all I can remember.”
The defendant said he was on his way to buy food. He was not wearing a helmet or a high visibility jacket, he said.
Alliston said he was riding a fixed gear track bike, meaning it had no freewheel.
Asked why he did not have front brakes fitted, he said: “I feel safe. I feel comfortable controlling my own speed.”
He told Detective Constable Darren Case he had planned to use the bike on tracks but he never got around to it.
Mr Case said: “Surely somebody must have said, when you take it out on the road you need a brake?”
The defendant said he never came across anything like that.
On how fast he was going, Alliston said: “I was not racing, in a rush.”
The defendant went on to say he did not stand by a comment he made on a news website shortly after the crash.
In a post on a news website, Alliston said the crash was not his fault as he had shouted out to warn the pedestrian, but she acknowledged his presence then “proceeded into the road and looked back at her phone”.
He originally thought Mrs Briggs was on the phone because he saw the handset after the collision, the court heard.
He told police: “At the time I was still in pain and barely recovered.”
Alliston denied he was riding dangerously, saying: “I would not say it was dangerous if they were looking.
“I wasn’t messing around. I was not on the phone day-dreaming.
“I was paying attention to what was going on around me.”
The trial was adjourned until 2pm on Wednesday.
Court report by Press Association