Posted by: admin in Legal Issues on December 17th, 2012

Car driver Kenan Ayogdu, convicted of manslaughter by the family of 25 year old cyclist Sam Harding, who died when Ayogdu opened his car door, was given a “not guilty” decision by the Old Bailey jury on Friday. Harding died in August last year. The outcome of the “dooring” case, as cyclist organizations called cycling deaths involving car doors opened at wrong times exposes many holes in the cycling and driving laws in the country today.

Sam Harding was driving in the road during its busiest time while Kenan Ayogdu’s vehicle was parked ahead of him. As soon as Ayogdu opened his door, Harding was flung from his bicycle and into the path of the bus behind him, crushing his body.

Considered Criminal Action?

Ayogdu was not charged for typical offences because he was not in a moving vehicle, having “causing death by dangerous driving” and any other “on-the-road” offences played down. He was charged manslaughter simply because he was the catalyst to the death of the young cyclist.

However, Sam Harding was in a proper legal position as well; he was driving down the road’s bicycle lane when everything happened. But due to the actions of Ayogdu, he had the accident.

The only considered criminal action was manslaughter after the investigation of authorities and after the CCTV and other road cameras captured the entire situation as it happened.

Property Negligence

During the early days of the hearing, it was mentioned that Ayogdu could be charged “property negligence” or “obstructing public property resulting to manslaughter”. This was the answer to the question that if Ayogdu had also not intended offence, acted lawfully, yet because of his negligence in opening his property’s (car) door results to the death of Harding, then he can be convicted.

The verdict shows that this particular argument was played down, having some analysts looking into the case to consider that there may be legal gaps in cycling and road laws.

Harding’s father, Keith, said that the man was not driving his car and it was parked and he was certain that because of the outcome of his son’s post-mortem case, there is a gap in the UK road laws.

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