Reckless Endangerment?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Feb 26, 2006.

  1. Scottish Paper Gets Report on Bush Bicycle Crash That Injured Constable

    By E&P Staff

    Published: February 26, 2006 6:15 PM ET

    NEW YORK It may not have been as serious as Vice President Dick Cheney shooting a friend in the face, but new details that have emerged about President George W. Bush's bicycle accident in Scotland last July show that he, too, might have been guilty of a bit of recklessness that caused serious damage.

    The Scotsman, a leading newspaper in Scotland, reported Sunday that it had obtained a police report on the early July accident when the president crashed into a Scottish police constable while cycling in the grounds of Gleneagles Hotel during the G8 summit.

    At the time, the focus of U.S. press reports was on the president's injuries--a few abrasions--while noting that that the constable had suffered a "very minor" ankle injury. The fact that Bush was wearing a helmet seemed to be the main accident detail, and that he had called the constable to check on his well-being.

    According to the newspaper, however, the police officer (known in the report only as "Constable X") ended up on crutches and was off work for more than three months.

    Bush had jumped on his bike for an early-evening jaunt at last year's G8 at the Perthshire resort. He ended up in a police report described as a "moving/falling object."

    The report, according to The Scotsman, describes a detachment of constables covering a road junction where the president would pass through. The report goes on: "[At] about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for comin.'

    "As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head. The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers... then assisted both injured parties....

    "At hospital, a doctor examined the constable and diagnosed damage to his ankle ligaments and issued him with crutches. The cause was officially recorded as: 'Hit by moving/falling object'."

    At the time, the newspaper noted, Bush laughed off the incident, saying he should start "acting his age".

    The Scotsman observed: "Details of precisely how the crash unfolded have until now been kept under wraps for fear of embarrassing both Bush and the injured constable. But the new disclosures are certain to raise eyebrows on Washington's Capitol Hill....

    "In Scotland, an accident such as the one at Gleneagles could have led to police action. Earlier this year, Strathclyde Police issued three fixed penalty notices to errant cyclists as part of a crack-down on rogue riders. Legal experts also suggested lesser mortals could have ended up with a fixed penalty fine, prosecution, or at least a good ticking-off from officers."

    John Scott, a human rights lawyer, said: "There's certainly enough in this account for a charge of careless driving. Anyone else would have been warned for dangerous driving.

    "I have had clients who have been charged with assaulting a police officer for less than this. The issue of how long the police officer was out of action for is also important. He was away from work for 14 weeks, and that would normally be very significant in a case like this."

    According to day-after press reports on July 7th, Bush blamed wet pavement and high speed for the fall. "We were flying,'' Bush said at a press conference in Gleneagles.

    He added: "When you ride hard on a mountain bike, sometimes you fall, otherwise you're not riding hard. At the end of a good hour ride, the pavement was slick and the bike came out from underneath me, just like that person on the Tour de France the other day.''

    None of the coverage at the time suggested the constable was hurt beyond the "minor" injury, and the incident was soon forgotten.