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Man charged for killing cyclist with car door

TT/The Local/vt · 26 Nov 2010, 15:18

Published: 26 Nov 2010 15:18 GMT+01:00

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The cyclist received a cerebral hemorrhage and later died. According to prosecutor Anders Månsson, the 46-year-old man acted recklessly and lacked care and caution when he opened his door, local newspaper Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) wrote on Friday.

The man asserts that he looked in the rear-view mirror before he opened the door and that he only opened it halfway. He claims that after he opened the door, he heard a light thud, the report said. When he looked out, he saw a man and a bicycle lying diagonally in front of the car.

According to the newspaper, the driver had just parked his car when he opened the door.

The cyclist did not have time to react and rode into the door. He hit his head when he fell to the ground and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, then died a week later from injuries he sustained from the accident.

The man was charged for breach of traffic regulations and manslaughter, Månsson told HD.

Story continues below…

The evidence against the man primarily consists of an eyewitness account and a medical report stating that the injuries from the accident caused the 89-year-old's death, the report said.

The eyewitness recounted that she saw the cyclist ride into, then fall over the door.

TT/The Local/vt (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:05 November 26, 2010 by teslar
And this, kids, is why we wear helmets when we ride bikes.
16:13 November 26, 2010 by StockholmSam
Would be interesting to know if the cyclist did indeed have a helmet on.
17:48 November 26, 2010 by JulieLou40
89 years old ? Should he have been on his bike at that age? Surely his reactions would have been super-slow.....

(And no, it doesn't sound like he had a helmet on, does it? So he didn't exactly help himself)
18:31 November 26, 2010 by Rolle
Im not so sure the man acted recklessly, so manslaughter will probably be ruled out. Unless prosecutor can prove the man breached traffic regulations (just one eye witness doesnt seems as sound evidence) theres really no case.

Maybe its time to enforce the use of helmets (i actually dont use one but i know i should)
18:48 November 26, 2010 by calebian22
Swedes are so worried about their appearances. One wouldn't want to look uncool here. I wear my helmet when I ride my kick scooter and my bike. It protects my grape, is a great example for my 7 year old daughter, and embarrasses the crap out of my Swedish wife. I have acheived the trifecta!
18:54 November 26, 2010 by volvoman9
I'm a cyclist and commute to work daily in good weather. One must constantly be vigilant for motorists who do not notice you. This gentleman probably never expected the car door to open but this is something any cyclist must ready for as well as the abundance of other risks involved. The charge seems a bit harsh with the information available in the article. I agree that helmets are a necessity. A sad incident but life is fraught with risks. We cannot legislate stupidity.
19:02 November 26, 2010 by booka

Good on ya!
19:28 November 26, 2010 by OnessOfMankind
This is an accident unless they know each other its not a murder.
20:18 November 26, 2010 by Tennessee Thunder
Again,,stupid Swedes...
20:30 November 26, 2010 by Rolle
@OnessOfMankind: If they knew each other or not isn´t actually relevant. It would be if there had been intention and malice to kill the poor biker, in which case it would be "murder" (in First Degree, according to US Federal Law).

What we are looking at here is the unintentional killing of a person, as a result of criminal negligence (i.e. unvoluntary manslaughter).

@calebian22: I guess you are right on the spot... I feel as a stupid smurf wearing one of those hideous bike helmets. And feeling "cool" is... hmm... well... kinda cool
21:11 November 26, 2010 by calebian22
Wearing a big ol' plastic dome on your head is Smurfy. It also is preventative medicine for cement poisoning/de-acceleration trauma.
22:21 November 26, 2010 by saab
Gee, so a guy opens his car door. He first looks out, sees nothing (biker in the blind spot) and opens the door.

I must say... I have never done that before!!!! No, I park my car, then do a complete 360 degree analysis of the temporal-spatial relationships between my car door and the world. Only after several minutes worth of computation do I open the door, and at that point, only about a centimetre or two. Over the course of the next ten minutes, I actually open it wider and disembark.


While I support biking and less driving, I think we have lost our common sense here. The roads are still predominantly for driving. If you park you car, you take usual and customary precautions and exit. Sounds like that was done. Enough said.

This case will blow up on appeal. Or should.
22:52 November 26, 2010 by lennea
While we don't know if the elderly gentleman was wearing a bicycle helmet or not, it is worth noting that wearing a bicycle helmet actually increases your chances of being hit by a car. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/magazine/10bike.html

As an avid bicyclist, I wear a helmet anyway, because I believe I'm much more likely to have an accident caused by inclement weather conditions or improperly maintained roads than by a vehicle. Still, at the age of 89, it seems like any sort of bicycle crash (or even a fall while walking) could endanger one's life.

Being hit by a car door is the leading cause of death of bicyclists, and it's also entirely preventable. I'm pleased that Sweden is prosecuting the driver for his or her carelessness. In the US, almost any accident involving a bicyclist is treated as the bicyclist's fault, and car drivers have literally gotten away with murder.
23:00 November 26, 2010 by Swedesmith

Glue a couple of Viking horns to your bike helmet and you will look cool and protect your noggin.
00:10 November 27, 2010 by kenny8076
i would be highly suprised if he had a helmet on..... 95% of the people i see dont wear them.... blows my mind..... especially since i dont feel swedes drive very good..... always in la la land.

And how can the "eye witness" tell if the guy looked in his rear mirror? Why dont they spend the time and resoarces locking up all these sex offenders for more than 6 months in this rape infested country?!?!
10:35 November 27, 2010 by marianne667
Poor old man to go like that but like other I am not sure he was wearing helmet and was probably much to old to be cycling in the street. Perhaps he also was in the driver's "blindspot" when the door was opened.Now, I also wonder about the insurance company's liability in the case of "manslaughter" perhaps very bad for all around. I am truly sorry for the driver.
11:06 November 27, 2010 by eppie
What!? a swede that doesn't look in his mirrors and thinks he is alone on the street? Stop the presses!!

They are better of selling cars without side mirrors and indicators here because swedes don't use them anyway.

This particular case again; you park your car on (or next to) the bike lane....I mean you can expect I bike to pass.

Let's hope this guy gets punished and that other swedes learn a lesson from this. It is ridiculous how in Sweden the right of the strongest applies on traffic. 95 % swedes is unable to drive a car but still they choose to drive one, and not only that, they also decided to use their telephone whilst doing so.

Ever noticed that all swedes in the T-bana haves hands-free sets, while all swedes driving cars don't?

And for all of you that are whining about a helmet; do you make the same remark if someone gets shot? He should have worn a bullet proof vest! ?? Although in general for Swedes probably wearing a helmet would be better, the case is simple. When the Swedish government just keeps ingnoring the incredible low level of traffic skills of its citizens these things will keep happening.
12:28 November 27, 2010 by swedeb
This is RIDICULOUS! THIS guy, obviously an accident, is charged with MANSLAUGHTER for opening his door to get out of his car... yet earlier this year, there was that story about a CAR INTENTIONALLY HITTING a BIKER and knocking him to the ground, and the court said it was the BIKER'S FAULT! W T F... W T F... come on!
17:36 November 27, 2010 by VicTaulic
This would never have happened to a Norwegian.
00:47 November 28, 2010 by Brianito
This country's traffic laws are as crazy as the traffic laws in Delhi .... Yesterday I got hit by a "Blue 4WD" whilst I was walking from Sybillegatan up Storgatan ... (this part of Storgatan is a one way street).. ... the female driver was on the mobile phone ... Driving down a "one-way street" in the opposite direction .... I got such a shock, I ended up with a very sore arm after she hit me with the passenger "wing mirror" ... I never even got the number of the vehicle .... and guess what else happened .... She never stopped ... So I was a victim of a " Hit and Run" .. No point in talking to the police here ... they are not interested in going outdoors .. "unlike the rest of Europe" ... who actually police on the street!!!..... I hold a valid drivers license, have been driving for 20 years .... People think that once they have a licence they have the "right to drive" ... well actually people the reality is, that "when you get your driving license" you don't have any "rights" - you only have a "PRIVILEGE" to drive, because the authorities can always take away your driving license.I think it's time for the police to get out of their cars and do some real policing and the government, to start implementing their "laws" very heavily ..... time to deal with cyclists and motorists, NO MORE MOBILE CONVERSATIONS WHILST DRIVING - 5 Demerit Points and a nice 5000:- Fine .... No More Parking at the Bus Plats" .... 15,000:- Fines ..... Tow away those "illegally parked cars" immediately - no second or third chances. Fill the government coffers with the traffic infringement money instead of raising taxes ... and use some of that money to , start to educate drivers with the "road laws" through TV7 newspaper advertisements (not just the drink driving campaigns - but the "rules of the road" ie, stop at a "stop" sign etc,etc) throw those "irresponsible repeat offender drivers" in prison for a few months" ... impound the vehicles ... crush them if necessary ... and do what the rest of the western world does to ... "Traffic Law Breakers" ! There is a lot of people out there in Stockholm and the rest of Sweden who have lost their family members, loved ones and friends as well a the perpetrators too, that are or have been severely affected by our country's government and police departments inaction of non-implementation of their own traffic laws and regulations - you must realise, the laws are there for a reason - TO PROTECT ALL OF US! .... I too am a victim, I have lost 5 of my members of my immediate family through "irresponsible driving behaviours from licensed drivers" !!!!! Btw - they are right this time - you must look before you exit your vehicle to make sure it is safe - that is the LAW and the driver is aware of this too - if they have a valid "driver's license" - The driver was at fault - not the cyclist!
10:22 November 28, 2010 by Douglas Garner
So many unaswered questions, but lots of valid points!

Was the bicyclist in a bike lane

Was the car parking legally

The helmet issue is looms large...

Was the cyclist acting rationally

Was the cyclist under the influence or otherwise incapable of performing in traffic

Was the car blocking a cycle lane

Was the cycle going the correct direction on the street

Was the cyclist within the speed limit (seems likely due to age)

I did a little research on the impact of child helmet laws and noticed some remarkable statistics that strongly suggest that death and injury of older riders has risen dramaticaly. The assumption is that people ride when they will be drinking, hence having more accidents, people ride when to old to drive, resulting in more accidents, adult riders are dramaticaly less likely to wear helmets and are physically more fragile... also a deadly combination.

There ya go madam defense attorney....
12:54 November 29, 2010 by Åskar
You forgot: Was there a bike lane at all?
20:38 December 4, 2010 by wxman
Cyclists decide to go out in the real world and zip around. Let THEM be aware of their surroundings. The rest of us are busy; we don't need to add them to our list of things to be concerned about. If it's not safe, get a car.
18:44 December 9, 2010 by zeulf
Swedesmith Could those Horns be lighted Red and Green ?
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