Cash rolls in to cyclists' justice fund - April 20 2001

Determined cyclists have donated almost £2,000 within days of the launch of CTC's Cyclists' Defence Fund, set up to help fight court cases where precedents could damage cycling.

The ring-fenced Fund was launched in the wake of the Darren Coombs' case victory last month and court injustices following the deaths of cyclists in road crashes.

Doncaster cyclist Carl Fox was hit and killed last June by a speeding motorist who was fined just £100 with three points on his licence. In December, Cheltenham magistrates fined a motorist £200 after she knocked cyclist Peter Williams to the ground. Williams, 22, was run over and killed by another car.

In February, CTC, with the backing of hundreds of cyclists, forced Provident Insurance to drop its negligence claim against the parents and childminder of 12-year-old Darren Coombs who was in collision with a car whilst riding his bike four years ago. Provident said Darren should have been supervised and wearing a helmet.

The donations to the Cyclists' Defence Fund made following the Provident campaign, from CTC members, has been added to the £6,000 contribution from Club reserves agreed by CTC Council in March.

CTC is also setting up a Cyclists' Defence Network of voluntary advisers and has urged expert witnesses and barristers to offer their help on pro-bono basis to add value to the Fund. Barristers and other experts were amongst those offering support and professional help in the Darren Coombs' case.

CTC Director Kevin Mayne said: "Cyclists have been calling for this type of fund for a long time and we have responded. The reaction from CTC members has been phenomenal and now we are appealing to all cyclists to back us as well.

"We must raise at least £20,000 and maintain the Fund at that level to be able to take legal action. For example, are we prepared to take a stand against courts when they reduce damages paid to injured cyclists because they are not wearing a helmet? And isn't it about time cycling took out a private prosecution against a motorist who kills?"

To make a donation send a cheque made payable to CTC Cyclists' Defence Fund to CTC, 69 Meadrow, Godalming, Surrey GU7 3HS. To set up a regular contribution or join the Cyclists' Defence Network, call 01483 417217 or email defence@ctc.org.uk

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