UK’s first speed pedelec court case commences

A speed pedelec user accused of causing the death of Sakine Cihan by careless driving is in court in what is likely the first case of its kind in the UK.

Thomas Hanlon stands accused of causing the crash, as well as driving without the legally required licence and insurance for the modified bike, which falls into the same category as mopeds, according to UK law.

The incident happened on London’s Kingsland High Street in August of 2018, with Chian succumbing to her head injuries the day after in hospital.

Under scrutiny is the speed at which Hanlon was travelling, as well as the modifications made to the bike. Witnesses called for evidence recall a bike moving fast past other cyclists prior to the collision, after which the rider left the scene, something he (Hanlon) has conceded in court.

Hanlon’s defence claims that Cihan “crossed the road unexpectedly” at traffic lights, which were apparently green for traffic, giving no time to avoid the collision.

The charges of causing death by careless driving, causing death while uninsured and causing death while unlicenced are levelled against Hanlon, who contests the latter two.

Given the rules in place, speed pedelecs are not yet common in the UK, despite some industry lobbying for the Government to review the legislation as part of a drive to open wider the scope of personal mobility.

Despite the law, it is not uncommon for riders to buy kits on the internet that de-restrict motors so that they can travel at speeds of up to 30Mph. This is something manufacturer’s like Bosch are working to eliminate as a possibility in markets where the law is very clear that 15.5Mph is the assisted limit.

The first instance of a speed pedelec user being pulled off the road for driving without insurance or licence appeared to occur in Guernsey in March of 2018.

The trial continues.