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Rear-ended cyclist charged for veering off path

Paul O'Mahony · 12 Jun 2010, 11:42

Published: 12 Jun 2010 11:42 GMT+02:00

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Andreas Grass, a competitive cyclist, has been charged with “travelling on a prohibited carriageway” after refusing to stick to a bicycle path in Lund in southern Sweden.

Grass was taken to task in the autumn by a motorist who waved instructions at him to move to the cycle path. But the 32-year-old stayed on the road and cycled through a roundabout. He then moved out into the middle of the roadway to avoid being overtaken on a narrow stretch of road immediately after the roundabout.

“That seemed to provoke him because he honked his horn again. In the end he chose to drive into me from behind,” he told Expressen.

Grass fell to the ground and suffered grazing to his shoulder and knee. He reported the motorist to the police for negligence and fleeing the scene. But the driver also filed a report, complaining that Grass had cycled on the road despite the fact that there was a designated path for cyclists.

When he was hit by the vehicle, Grass was just about to make a left turn on a stretch of road where the cycle track was partly closed, Expressen reports

The cyclist has no regrets over the incident and denies committing an offence. Regularly travelling at speeds of around 40 kilometres per hour, he believes it is often safest to avoid cycle tracks, which are often populated by careless pedestrians and slow-moving cyclists who forget to signal.

“It’s quite an unusual case so it’ll be interesting,” said Grass.

Story continues below…

“He reckons he can win. The law states that cyclists should keep to the cycle track if there is one. But it also states that, if you’re careful and the road offers a shorter route, you are allowed to cycle there.”

The trial is scheduled to take place in September.

Paul O'Mahony (paul.omahony@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

13:29 June 12, 2010 by locaxy
If this case ends in favour of the ruthless car driver, common sense can be announced as officially dead.
13:32 June 12, 2010 by abitslow
That's ridiculous forcing cyclists onto cycle paths. I agree entirely with the Cyclist. The law is wrong. It should be up to the cyclist where he/she feels safest.
13:38 June 12, 2010 by Mb 65
Cyclist should keep to the cycle paths for their own safety. But that does not give anyone the right to deliberately to run into a cyclist and risk killing them. They should both be prosecuted.
13:53 June 12, 2010 by calebian22
He moved to the center of the road after the roundabout as a direct provocation to the driver. He shouldn't have done that. The driver shouldn't not have hit him for being an ass however. Mb65 is right. Prosecute them both.
14:31 June 12, 2010 by rybo1
Some cyclists at times are just plain dumb, as seen on 226 between Huddinge and Tumba. They merrily go on their way causing danger to themselves and others, cycling on a road where there simply is no room. While I'm at it, I sorely wish that 40-45 KPH vehicles were banned. once they get out there you'd think you're driving in a funeral procession.
15:00 June 12, 2010 by markusd
It sounds like he provoked the driver a bit which wasn't a very smart thing to do.

However, I agree that the streets are often safer that the bike paths. I was riding in Stockholm yesterday and had use the street 5 or 6 times because taxis were either parked on the street bike path or blocking the entrance to the sidewalk path while dropping off customers. I also had to avoid pedestrians just standing in the bike paths on numerous occasions and last week I almost took out a lady's dog that was leashed but walked onto the bike path while she was looking the other way. The bike paths are fine if you're just going out get a loaf of bread but it can be a real obsticle course for someone trying to get some exercise.
15:17 June 12, 2010 by Mike #1986

it must be safer on a cycle lane than a busy motor road you dumb ass!!!!

I say keep the losers off our roads ...they are so bloody dangerous throwing themselves in front of traffic...when i first arrived in Sweden I thought they were bloody mad...in my eyes if i was on a bike hahahah i would be miles away from a moving car as possible or Die hard!!!!
15:19 June 12, 2010 by davbr
I am cyclist my self and I am completely overwhelmed about how disrespectful some swedish drivers could be. It seems that some of them own the road. I have been training 10 years around the outskirts of Barcelona and I thought that it was dangerous there, but I was wrong if I compare it with Stockholm outskirts. If you are into road cycling and train at high level you can go between 30-40 km/h average and at that speed the bike path is not safe whatsoever. In the bike path you find bike commuter, children sometimes, dirty/gravel and weird intersection. So I choose to go on the road if I am going fast. Then it is when you find this idiots that drive extremely close putting my life in risk only because a cyclist is supposed to ride on the bike path. I have been overtaken by cars that drove 2 cm by handlebar at 80 km/h when there were no cars on the road and driving really closet was simple unnecessary.
15:25 June 12, 2010 by Mike #1986

mate stop having a whinge we are sitting in a car with a licence to be there...

we follow the safety rules needed to be on the roads...

as the cyclist well in my opinion risking there lives on the road...no helmets no body protection...the slightest bump yr gone...bottom line yr choice don't complain....

drive a car instead or keep your distance.
15:41 June 12, 2010 by davbr
So you Mike have License to overdrive people, don´t you? maybe to kill too?

What are you talking about no helmets....what body protection!! hahahaha...cyclist is not motocross. I have always helmet and I have also driven license which I can use for my car and bicycle. Maybe you did not learn when you got your license that a bicycle is a vehicle.
16:00 June 12, 2010 by Ilaith
Agree with the people demanding both should be prosecuted.

The driver seems to have hit the cyclist on purpose, this should never be tolerated.

Cyclists should keep to the bike path for their own safety. Because I'm pretty sure if they get hit by accident(!) on a road where there is a bike path and die, there will be NO payment from that life insurance.

Honestly we can debate this topic forever. But there is a law regulating this and the cyclist has commited an offence towards the law and should pay. If you don't like the law talk to the politicians and they might change it...
17:11 June 12, 2010 by Mike #1986

yes a vehicle with no protection thats my point crab!!!!

and no i dont have a licence to overdrive nor to kill people... hahahaha silly crab!!!!

you obviously are convinced that your superman on a bike and that yr untouchable

well im happy for you and I wish you safety and peace..

but dont forget if your in a accident im sure your the one to go down hard and not the driver of the car...
17:34 June 12, 2010 by RoyceD
Mike#1986... you are an idiot it seems ... "we follow the safety rules"... I'm sorry but are you trying to speak on behalf of every driver in the world?

CLEARLY intentionally knocking down a cyclist is the only CRIME here. The cyclist could possibly, in some strange overly bureaucratic society could get charged with a TRAFFIC VIOLATION, but using a 1 ton piece of metal as a weapon deserves jail time in my opinion.

If anything the driver clearly demonstrated a lack of clear thinking and should at least loose his license and pay around 5000kr to the cyclists and pay for any damage caused to the bike.

Case closed.
18:32 June 12, 2010 by GLO
Follow the Laws... No Problem!!!!
18:58 June 12, 2010 by futureishere
The statement: "The law states that cyclists should keep to the cycle track if there is one. But it also states that, if you're careful and the road offers a shorter route, you are allowed to cycle there." makes the law wide-open to interpretation. One can always prove that taking roads would be shorter compared to the cycle tracks since the later are built 'around' the former! Can someone look up the actual laws on the government website and post it here?
21:27 June 12, 2010 by Mike #1986

or should i say Dick...

it's not about who's right or wrong...

it's about the dangers of having a cyclist on the road full STOP!!!

in my opinion legal or not...they are in your face on the roads and I just wish they were more cautious thats it...so I say it again if i was ridding my mountain bike on the roads I would have my eyes behind my head... not because i dont trust the motorist but only for my own safety.

Now Dick Case closed.
21:54 June 12, 2010 by nledit
First, a cyclist going 40km/hr on those bike paths is NOT safe for anyone. I don't want them going that fast while me and my 3yr old daughter are riding our bikes on the bike path.

Second, the biker MAY have been provoking, but just because he moved to the center of the road does not mean he was provoking. Cyclist move to the center when they feel that it is not safe for people to pass them on narrow streets, because typically, people in cars will pass cyclist without giving proper thought to the cyclist's safety.

Third, the cyclist was turning left. Would it have been safer to turn left from the far right side of a road?

Fourth, cyclists have a right to be on the road, even if there is a bike path.

Lastly, and most important, a driver who intentionally hits ANYONE for any reason (ie: road rage in this scenario) should be tried for attempted vehicular manslaughter or something to that effect and lose license for certain amount of time. That's the bottom line here.. forget who was right/wrong as far as traffic laws is concerned... a driver intentionally hit a cyclist. What if a cyclist intentionally hit a person walking in the bike path? Everyone here would be ranting their anger towards the cyclist.
22:37 June 12, 2010 by old git
Mike I will not cry if you get it up the exhaust pipe from a 40 ton truck...
22:37 June 12, 2010 by engagebrain
Kill wolves, hunt whales, flatten cyclists,

Sweden is clearly a role model.
05:31 June 13, 2010 by blursd
I did competitive cycling for a number of years before I moved to Scandinavia, and continued to do triathlons after I moved there. I can't even begin to recount how many times I just about bought the big one on a cycle path because of someone doing something completely stupid. When I would go training I felt a lot Grass ... I would maintain speeds of about 40-60 kph ... thats not very safe even on sparsely traveled cycle paths.

Eventually I found that if I cycled from Linköping to Vadstena at a moderate pace once I got to Lake Vättern I could go all out without having to worry about other cyclists. Lund is a completely different matter though ... its a lot harder to find sparsely populated areas with straight away cycling infrastructure.
07:50 June 13, 2010 by silly t
he who is vulnerable should be protected...i mean the cyclist..had the driver crossed on the cycling path,would any cyclist knock him or his car?
11:35 June 13, 2010 by engagebrain
For deliberately endangering the life of a cyclist he driver should serve a long prison sentence.

But he won't will he ?
11:57 June 13, 2010 by alingsaskev
Sometimes bicycles are annoying to car drivers on the road, so too sometimes are tractors and low loaders and pedestrians and deer and hedgehogs and busses.... but we can't just ram into them, that would be anarchy.

The only person in the wrong here was the impatient car driver who intentionally struck another vehicle from behind. Case closed.
13:19 June 13, 2010 by happy32
The mad thing is when aim out walking on the public foot paths is that a motor bike that is powered by a petrol motor what is a heavy piece of machinery driven at full power doing some what 50km going whizzing pass me is mad out off this world if this was to hit a public member it would not be nice. Motor powered bike should stick to the road
13:25 June 13, 2010 by CarlBlack
Clearly both have overcome the rules and should be prosecuted. All the people who mention here that cycling path is not good for training: than you probably have to use only special racing tracks. Your argument is like if a car racer complained that ha cannot train racing on a normal motorway since other cars are too slow... However it is for sure possible to find unused roads in the countryside with no cycling path near...
13:39 June 13, 2010 by saar
I hope the cyclist is going to pay for his stupidity.
14:25 June 13, 2010 by Dano
It's simple - Pay a yearly road tax,and use the roads.If not,then stay off them,use the cycle paths provided and if turning left then cycle to the nearest pedestrian crossing,cross and cycle to your turn!

What cyclists forget,especially when there's 2 together,side by side,chatting away,is that overtaking vehicles are forced across the white lines into oncoming trafficUse the roads by all means in my view,but show some common sense and respect,and be aware of your surroundings.

In the UK it's illegal to cycle on the pavements/sidewalks...guess where they all cycle?

weird world. The driver should be charged though.
18:54 June 13, 2010 by wxman
Can't speak to the situation in Sweden, but here in the US cyclists are a constant problem. Instead of adhering to the road shoulder, they frequently drive in the same path as the autos. They also generally drive right through red lights as though they aren't a vehicle. Cyclists also typically do not adorn themselves with reflective tape making themselves difficult to see in darkness. Finally, most are just out for the recreation/exercise, vice going to and from work. When that is the case, they should be restricted to residential side streets and not allowed on the thoroughfares.
20:00 June 13, 2010 by crofab
Wow, very surprised to see all this anti-cycling rubbish. This was attempted murder here!

Is it okay to intentionally run over a pedestrian if they are jaywalking? NO. Is it okay to intentionally hit a bicycle if they are not supposed to be in the road? NO. And from the law it seems that bicycles have a right to be on the road anyway.

As for those who are whining that motorists have to pay road taxes and cyclists don't, well that seems perfectly fine to me considering the rest of us who do not own cars have to pay in terms of exposure to air pollutants, noise, and climate change.
23:34 June 13, 2010 by jack sprat
Ha ha,could only happen in Sweden!

Getting shafted up the rear end by a motorist, then going to Court to pay for the pleasure.
10:41 June 14, 2010 by J Jack
How trivial. Cyclists are so freakin, annoying and often don't have a drivers license. They always take high moral ground with their '0' emissions and their stupid looking helmets.
09:16 June 15, 2010 by pmorrise
I'm a cyclist, and a motorist, and I too use the roads when I'm training on my bike, but I have respect for motorist & the rules of the roads, most cyclists do, its justs a small group that give all of us a bad name, as its been pointed out cyclists are not protected, so why would we risk getting hit by a car ! why would anyone with any common sense risk that ! the case mentioned here is just road rage, by the sound of it the same thing would have happened if the guy was on a scooter doing 30kph. A similar case happened recently in the USA where a guy was trying to get around 2 cyclists, when he finally got in front of them he hit the brakes and put one of the guys through the rear window of the car and in hospital, he got a 5 year jail sentence ! I think in the case above should be a jail sentence for the guy in the car and a traffic violation/Fine for the cyclist ( for being an idiot !).

Ps… I also lived in Holland, where the cyclist is king, the law there is no matter what you do on a bike, if a car hits you he's wrong !
09:54 June 15, 2010 by CarlBlack
I doubt your description of Holland, any law allowing one group to act completely recklessly would be quite stupid. Normally everyone including pedestrians has to follow regulations. Do you mean that if a bike just crosses the road outside a crossing or passes crossing on a red light, the car driver that hits him is wrong?
11:20 June 15, 2010 by planethero
Hes a sports cyclist, he presents a danger to cyclists/pedestrians on the cycle path, but is prepared to take his own risk on the road. Sounds like the judges have never been on a cycle path at 35kph to understand the risk.
21:24 June 15, 2010 by wxman
... And another thing, when they come down an incline, that naturally includes many curves, they often go into "Tour de France" mode. They will actually continue rapidly pedaling as though to keep up with or go faster than auto traffic. This is dangerous since the drivers are petrified to try to pass the cyclist for fear of hitting them if they should wipe out.
12:32 June 16, 2010 by pmorrise
to CarlBlack - ok, maybe I was a bit over the top in my statement, but the general rule is that bikes always get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to any incidents, but to be honest, there is so much cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands that bike/car on the same stretch of road rarely happens and when it does the driver always gives room to the cyclist, I guess its just a culture thing as probably 99.9 percent of the population own bikes so they have a different attitude when the sit behind the wheel of a car.
18:21 June 25, 2010 by Garry Jones
Firstly I wish Mr Grass good luck

As an English cyclist residing in Sweden for 22 years I have taken an active roll in promoting safer cycling. I spent five years on the 7 man board of the Swedish Cycling Federation where I expanded and ran the recreational cycling committee, I set up the "Cykel 42" campaign to get more people cycling and I publish the annual Swedish recreational ride calender. I am currently President of the Dalarna Cycling Federation.

In all our meetings with Swedish authorities we are in full agreement. Serious recreational cyclists must ride two abreast to aid the traffic flow. They must also avoid 95% of cycling paths in accordence with the law. The translation of the law in the article is slightly incorrect. The law actually states that it is okay to use the road if it "with regards to our destitation as long as we exercise caution". This does not necessarily mean that it has to be a shorter route, just easier to reach.

One must remember that we share our sports field with juggernauts, timber trucks and Sunday drivers. At all times serious cyclists try to help the traffic flow if possible. I have deliberately blocked vehicles coming from behind for their own safety.

On one occasion I was approaching the brow of a hill, I heard a large lorry coming up the other side. I blocked the car behind me and gave the std "no overtaking" hand signal. There would have been no room for him to pass me and meet the lorry, the result would have been a head on smash and probable death for him. At first he tooted angrily, I stayed my ground. The lorry came into view and he suddenly realised I was actually saving his life. He stayed on the brakes, when the danger had past I waved him through, he slowed down and gave me a nice wave as he past.

Some drivers dont understand our rights. We are lobbying for a new law in which every learner driver will need to cycle (under observation) for a week before he/she can obtain a licence. Ideally this would be extended to all drivers so that every existing driver would have to do the same to renew his/her licence.

The driver in question should be jailed and banned from driving for life. This was attempted murder!

I am considering setting up an offshore name and shame site were cyclists can identify drivers who drive dangerously.

(In Sweden the general public has access to the car registration database and a lot more public information. If a driver cuts me up I can type in his reg number to my mobile phone and within 10 seconds I recieve a text with his home address and telephone numbers, bank account details, annual salary, marital status, date of birth etc. Pretty Cool! However - I am not allowed to publish this data to a Swedish website).
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