Wrong to apportion blame for fatal accident

Were I the person who opened the off-side door of the car into the path of a cyclist without first checking to ensure that it was safe to do so, my conscience would be somewhat relieved on reading Councillor Braithwaite s letter (Sadness at cycle death, H

Were I the person who opened the off-side door of the car into the path of a cyclist without first checking to ensure that it was safe to do so, my conscience would be somewhat relieved on reading Councillor Braithwaite's letter (Sadness at cycle death, H&H February 11).

In effect, he is partially blaming the cyclist who died later for riding too close to the car in question - yet another example of victim-blaming.

Of course, he is right in advising cyclists to ride in a manner that may go some way to compensating for the danger to which they are exposed by the life-threatening and careless actions of vehicle occupants.

But think of that advice in relation to cyclists when riding down narrow streets: to provide his recommended metre clearance, cyclists would have to keep to the centre of the road, thereby exposing themselves to oncoming traffic - in addition to getting stressfully hooted at from behind!

In any case, failure to ride in a manner that ensures such a clearance does not seem to me to justify an implied accusation of 'contributory negligence' on the part of the cyclist. Can a burglar be partially exonerated for his crime on the grounds that the householder had not made his home 'burglar-proof'?

Dr Mayer Hillman