A man has handed himself into police and is due to be interviewed after helmet camera footage, which later went viral, showed him assaulting a female cyclist in London.
The Metropolitan police released footage of the man after he was shown pursuing and then pushing the cyclist off her bike into the path of traffic in Tower Hamlets, East London.
Within just 18 seconds, the woman’s helmet camera records her asking a pedestrian about to walk into her path not to knock her off her bike. The pedestrian is then seen running after the cyclist whereupon he starts shouting at her before aggressively pushing her over.
Whilst the film clip is shocking, this is unfortunately not an isolated incident. In my experience as a cycling accident lawyer I have come across examples of cyclists being deliberately pushed off their bikes by passengers from passing cars, motorists attempting to push a cyclist into oncoming traffic and even using their vehicle as a weapon.
Charging and Sentencing
When a pedestrian deliberately pushes a cyclist off a bike this is a criminal act. The appropriate offence depends upon the extent of the injury. The options are:
1. Common Assault, contrary to section 39 Criminal Justice Act 1988
- An offence of Common Assault is committed when a person either assaults another person or commits a battery.
- An assault is committed when a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force.
- A battery is committed when a person intentionally and recklessly applies unlawful force to another.
- It is a summary offence, which carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.
2. Common Assault or Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)?
In law, the only factors that distinguish Common Assault from Assault occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (contrary to section 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861) are the degree of injury that results and the sentence available to the sentencing court.
Although any injury that is more than 'transient or trifling' can be classified as actual bodily harm, the appropriate charge will be one of Common Assault where no injury or injuries that are not serious occur.
In determining the seriousness of injury, relevant factors may include, for example, the fact that there has been significant medical intervention and/or permanent effects have resulted. But there may be other factors that are also relevant and these will need to be carefully considered when deciding whether or not the injuries are serious.
It should be borne in mind that Parliament created the offence of Common Assault specifically to cater for those assault cases in which the injuries caused are not serious.
The offence of Common Assault carries a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment. This will provide the court with adequate sentencing powers in most cases. ABH should generally be charged where the injuries and overall circumstances indicate that the offence merits clearly more than six months' imprisonment and where the prosecution intend to represent that the case is not suitable for summary trial.
3. Wounding/causing grievous bodily harm with intent, contrary to section 18 Offences Against the Person Act 1861
This offence is committed when a person unlawfully and maliciously, with intent to do some grievous bodily harm, or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any other person, either:
- wounds another person; or
- causes grievous bodily harm to another person.
It is an indictable only offence, which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.
Paul Kitson is a keen cyclist and Slater and Gordon’s Principal Lawyer for the CTC, the UK’s national cycling charity.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers have secured more than £40 million in compensation for CTC Members who have been injured in cycling accidents since 2002.
For a free consultation or to claim compensation for cycling accident injuries, call our specialist Cycling Accident Solicitors 24/7 on freephone 0808 175 8105 or contact us online and we will call you.