Cyclist accused of killing mother-of-two: front brake on my bike would have made no difference

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A cyclist accused of killing a HR executive told the Old Bailey today it “would not have made a difference” if his Olympics-style track bike was fitted with a front brake.

Charlie Alliston, 20, is on trial for the manslaughter of 44-year-old Kim Briggs, who suffered catastrophic head injuries after being hit while crossing the road in Old Street during her lunch break.

He was riding a £470 Planet X bike, similar to those ridden by Olympic track athletes like Sir Chris Hoy, which was not fitted with a front brake.

Alliston told jurors this morning he was unaware bikes had to have a front brake to be legally on the road, but added the crash would not have been avoided if his vehicle had one.

He said Mrs Briggs had started to cross the road and moved out of his path, but then “stood back” in front of him.

Mother-of-two Kim Briggs died in hospital after suffering head injuries (PA)

“It was a split second before the actual impact”, he said.

“A brake at that time would not have made a difference”, adding: “If I had a brake, I wouldn’t have had enough time.”

Alliston said he had called out twice before the crash to warn pedestrians he was approaching, and had slowed down as well as “adjusting” his position in the road, but told the court he was travelling at a “safe and reasonable speed personal to me.

“I was capable at the time of controlling it.”.

He added: “I believe I did see Mrs Briggs coming out on to the road with a mobile phone in her hand.”

Prosecutors alleged Alliston could have avoided the fatal crash, on February 12 last year, if his bike had been fitted with a front brake.

Eyewitnesses have told the court the cyclist jumped up after the collision and shouted at Mrs Briggs while she lay injured on the ground.

Alliston said he did get to his feet shortly after the crash but then he “saw what had happened and just went blank”.

It is also said Alliston posted a series of comments on news articles about the crash in the days afterwards, denying he was to blame and suggesting Ms Briggs valued her mobile phone more than her life.

“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”, he wrote.

Two days after the crash, he posted: “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.”

Discussing his cycling history, Alliston told jurors he was oblivious to the rule that needed a front brake on his bike prior to the crash with Ms Briggs.

He said he went to work in Autumn 2015 as a cycle courier around central London, after dropping out of school a year into his A level studies.

Alliston said he used his own fixed wheel Cinelli bike for shifts at Go-Betweens, A-Z Couriers, and Pink Express, and was never asked whether the vehicle had a front brake or told that he needed one.

He said he was totally unaware there was a legal requirement for bikes to have a front brake: “No one had told me, no”.

Alliston, who lives in Bermondsey, denies manslaughter and causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving.

The trial continues.


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