UK national cyclists organisation the CTC has blasted a judge’s decision to reduce the sentence of a driver that ran over a cyclist because the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Cyclist James Jorgensen died of severe head injuries eight days after an accident last September with a car driven by Denis Moore in County Durham.
Last week the Judge presiding over the case – Richard Lowden – allocated a 24-week suspended sentence to Moore and called Jorgensen’s lack of a helmet a ‘mitigating factor’. According to reports, the Judge heard no evidence whether the helmet would have made a difference to the outcome of the injuries.
“My first thoughts are for Mr Jorgensen’s family,” said CTC’s campaigns and policy manager Roger Geffen. “I cannot imagine how they must be feeling. If bereavement wasn’t enough, they now have a Judge effectively saying Jorgensen himself was partly to blame for his own death, simply because he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
"There are still serious doubts about the effectiveness of cycle helmets, particularly in preventing serious or fatal injuries, and there is no law requiring cyclists to wear them.
"This sentence is an extraordinary example of a judge blaming the victim for his own death”.
The ruling is the latest in the ongoing helmet debate currently affecting the trade. The CTC has previously expressed concern that helmets are being made compulsory ‘by the back door’ by a ruling that saw the question of whether not wearing a helmet makes a cyclists potentially guilty of ‘contributory negligence’ – an analysis of which can be found here.