Prosecutor Simon Spence KC said the two women were passing each other when Grey ‘gestured in a hostile and aggressive way’ towards Mrs Ward. CCTV footage showed Grey, who has cerebral palsy, raising her hand as Mrs Ward lost her balance and landed into the road.
As emergency services rushed to the scene, Grey fled on foot and went to nearby Sainsbury’s to purchase groceries. After officers brought her in for questioning, Grey explained she was partially sighted and felt ‘anxious’ as the bicycle was travelling ‘fast’ in the middle of the pavement.
The Highway Act 1835 renders it illegal to cycle on the pavement, with a fine of up to £500. However, officers could not determine if the pavement was a shared cycleway in this instance.
Detective Sergeant Mark Dollard said that Grey’s response to the presence of Ward on a bicycle was totally disproportionate and ultimately found to be unlawful, resulting in Celia’s untimely and needless death. The verdict should be a reminder to all road users to take care and be considerate to each other.
It is estimated that on average, two cyclists die each week in road accidents, while a further 84 are seriously injured. The majority of incidents occur on rural roads and around half occur when a car collides with a bicycle.
The number of cyclists killed in road accidents reached a 14-year high in 2020 when 140 deaths were recorded, the highest figure since 2006. Despite this, the average person is reported to cycle 88 miles each year, while 47 per cent of adults owned or had access to a bicycle.
A parliamentary study published in 2021 found that fatal collisions of cyclists caused by pedestrians were extremely rare, with just five such incidents in 2019. Among pedestrians killed in road accidents between 2005 and 2018, just six were killed by a cyclist, while 548 lost their lives to vehicles.