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Convicted of driving without due care and attention and fined £150; keeps car to go to work at festivals

A heavily pregnant woman who said she hit an elderly cyclist in her car because her unborn baby was kicking her has received a £150 fine in court and three points on her licence for driving without due care and attention.

Rebecca Knowles-Dixon, who previously appeared in this BBC feature wondering whether her tattoos and piercings would prevent her from getting a job, ran into Graham Walden, 74, on a county road near Ashburton, Devon, in September.

Mr Walden was thrown some distance by the collision and suffered serious head and chest injuries, the court in Torquay was told.

Knowles-Dixon was driving down a hill when she said a series of ‘painful kicks’ caused her to flinch and swerve into a hedge in the path of the cyclist, according to a report in the Plymouth Herald.

She also blamed glare on the windscreen, but was only driving at 20mph.

Mr Walden suffered fractured ribs and was airlifted to hospital but survived.

Knowles Dixon argued that losing her licence would cause her exceptional hardship as she lived more than two miles from a bus stop and needed the car to do festival work.

She told the court: 'I was heavily pregnant at the time when the baby kicked me in the ribs several times and very hard.

'This made me flinch and caused me to have a momentary lapse in concentration.

'I could not have predicted what happened. It’s never happened to me before. It’s really quite painful.'

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

46 comments

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festival [105 posts] 2 years ago
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Liar!

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Rouboy [88 posts] 2 years ago
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How do these people live with themselves?
What a role model for her unborn child???

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georgee [160 posts] 2 years ago
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Scum, sub human scum

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Bobbinogs [128 posts] 2 years ago
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I would like to say "shocking", but it isn't  2

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tourdelound [151 posts] 2 years ago
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Guess what?, another " British Justice" fail.  102

"She also blamed glare on the windscreen, but was only driving at 20mph."

If I can't see where I'm going, I don't ride my bike at 20mph. When is the sentence going to fit the crime?  45

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Just out of interest, have any of the above comnenters ever been pregnant?

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koko56 [330 posts] 2 years ago
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It's so easy to see how if tables were turned, not even with pregnancy but any excuse we've seen from some drivers would be met with a "well should not have been cycling". Clear bias, shock horror, I know. -_-

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Bobbinogs [128 posts] 2 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

Just out of interest, have any of the above comnenters ever been pregnant?

Err, rest assured that if I ever become pregnant then it will make more of a news splash than this story.

What's the price of fish nowadays?

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Tripod16 [149 posts] 2 years ago
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'I could not have predicted what happened. It’s never happened to me before. It’s really quite painful.'

It's never happened before and certainly didn't happen in this instance you lying piece of scum!  14

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BBB [295 posts] 2 years ago
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Every car should be equipped with an emergency "in case of an accident" reference plate attached to a dashboard.

It would list all the standard excuses for killing or injuring someone that are normally accepted by the British legal system.

Pregnancy. That's the new one. The possibilities are endless and whatever happens they won't take you licence away coz that would cause you a hardship.
The glare glare on the windscreen/blinded by the sun thing always works fine with judges, too...
One could be blinded by the sun, moon, passing Chinese satellite, comet or asteroid, kids playing with lasers etc...
Coughing/sneezing fit without any underlying medical condition may do as well.
Chocking on a tune sandwich would be pushing it but probably would work, too...

The most important advice would be at the end. Whatever happened, don't plead guilty. It's never your fault. If anything it's even better to blame the victim. If it's a cyclists, pointing out not wearing a helmet of high-viz kit will get you a great deal of sympathy from the judge.

The plate would need to be folded or rolled due its length...

Use you imagination, never plead guilty and never apologize!

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Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
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Her baby kicked her? so when is Bruce Lee due to come out then love.

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Bigfoz [117 posts] 2 years ago
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How does 20 mph equate to throwing the poor bloke "some distance"? Take a lot more than that, surely?

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Shep73 [211 posts] 2 years ago
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Bigfoz wrote:

How does 20 mph equate to throwing the poor bloke "some distance"? Take a lot more than that, surely?

Have you ever bounced down the road after doing 20mph, I should think being hit at that speed would be about the same.

I had the pleasure of coming of my motorbike around this speed on diesel, the bike destroyed itself and I slid a fair way down the road. The bike went even further.

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philtregear [102 posts] 2 years ago
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i only know what has been written about this case in the rcc article. Is it not only possible, but also likely, that the accused is telling the truth? how she should be charged and sentenced is another matter. But I find it odd to accuse her of being a liar.

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notaclimber [12 posts] 2 years ago
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Pregnant or not pregnant, death or no death. £150 fine at the end of what was probably £0000's on a court case is appalling, as is 3 points, thats no more than a speeding ticket!

I honestly hope the reasons behind the accident were the truth and not used as a get off lightly excuse.

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ironmancole [276 posts] 2 years ago
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I guess liar or not it's the typically offensive punishment that we object to.

Im off to Downing St to play with my hand gun I think. Whilst aiming it in the general direction of number 10 (can't be too sure as glare from a street light dazzled me) a pigeon flew over at low level and startled me.

Although I knew the gun was loaded I didn't deliberately set out to hurt anyone so I was shocked to find after the accidental discharge that someone had been silly enough to stand in the way of the bullet.

In my defence I would like to point out that the injured party wasn't wearing any body armour and made no effort to alert me as to their presence.

I would strongly object to the loss of my firearms licence as my right to exercise a privilege and great responsibility is more important than that of the British public to travel freely.

Try that on in the old Bailey and see how far your £150 will get you.

I'd like an MP to explain how such punishment aligns with their supposed desire to give people the confidence to buck obesity and get on their bike. Can Road.cc arrange this perhaps?

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sg37409 [1 post] 2 years ago
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I was going to say pregnancy is no excuse, but in fact it was her excuse. Good job it didn't kick and cause her to swerve into wall or a huge truck. But she did say she couldn't have predicted this……
Oh, and there was glare on the windscreen, can't see right, so lets slow down a little: Speed not being a factor ? If he'd been hit at 5 mph, the injuries would be less.

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Paul J [839 posts] 2 years ago
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BBB: You forgot "Bee came in the window and scared me" - that one's actually been used (can't find the link back now though).

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paulmcmillan [95 posts] 2 years ago
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It's the very existence of an "exceptional hardship" clause that I have issue with in the law.
Basically it allows people who would otherwise be banned from driving to continue to drive.

Living more than 2 miles from a bus stop constitutes "exceptional hardship" ?  39

Get a taxi to the bus stop?
Get a lift from someone else?
Walk?
Cycle there on a folding bike??

These are fairly UN-exceptional solutions to me.

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A V Lowe [568 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm getting a bit sick of this 'exceptional hardship' crap - 2 miles is no distance to walk for a fit person, and part of the penalty for bad driving is the 'inconvenience' of being banned from driving.

Solutions abound for people who don't have a driving licence - they can hire a driver (often called a taxi driver), but of course that means you need to plan how you travel a bit more. Maybe the bench should get out a bit and speak to the disabled, the elderly and others who simply cannot hold a driving licence and see how they manage.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1114 posts] 2 years ago
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If a two-mile walk (or cycle) constitutes 'exceptional hardship' then my childhood (and much of my life) would surly be worthy of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch.

Kind of sick of this idea that people 'need' a car. Don't live in the middle of nowhere if you can't be trusted to drive safely.

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Critchio [163 posts] 2 years ago
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She has sought legal advice or has been represented by a lawyer at court - the article does not say. It also does not say whether she pleaded guilty or not guilty (but was convicted anyway). She has obviously been advised about legal defences, submission of fact in mitigation, and perhaps things like using Automatism as a defence to the charge (involuntary bodily actions beyond the control of the driver at the time).

Because there's a lack of detail in the article there's also a lot of assumption being made which is fair enough, that is the nature of the beast. I personally feel she's a worm who has tried to wriggle out of a conviction and has lied to the court. Her extreme hardship is a joke, there is no hardship let alone extreme and the courts need to get grip. She should have been banned for a year and fined a £1000. Then when she gets her licence back and drtives again she'll treat cyclists ad other vulnerable road users with a higher level of duty of care and courtesy and not bomb down hill into glaring sun knowing she can't see the fecking road ahead enough. It wouldn't surprise me if she was also checking facebook on her smartphone or talking to a girlie-friend on it, whilst also eating chocolate and checking her facial piercings in the mirror.

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Hensteeth [71 posts] 2 years ago
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A baby can kick you hard like that at 36 weeks pregnant. If she hadn't felt it kick before she should have been in hospital getting checked! She should have known about it as I am sure she will have read all the books about pregnancy/spoken to health visitor/had scans etc.
If you can't see, slow down ffs.
Once again it will be motorists blaming cyclists and vice versa

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cyclingDMlondon [481 posts] 2 years ago
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Hey, what else did we expect? She's female, so the courts are going to give her a free ride (pun intended), anyway. And pregnant, too? She could probably have got out and stabbed the guy fifty times in the neck and chest, stomped on his head and done a Veronica Moser on his face. And she would still have got a suspended sentence.

I really don't get this worship and genuflecting in front of pregnant women or new mothers, when all they have really achieved is to open their legs, and not use contraception.

How is this in any way, shape or form 'magical'?

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Sarah Barth [86 posts] 2 years ago
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cyclingDMlondon wrote:

Hey, what else did we expect? She's female, so the courts are going to give her a free ride (pun intended), anyway. And pregnant, too? She could probably have got out and stabbed the guy fifty times in the neck and chest, stomped on his head and done a Veronica Moser on his face. And she would still have got a suspended sentence.

I really don't get this worship and genuflecting in front of pregnant women or new mothers, when all they have really achieved is to open their legs, and not use contraception.

How is this in any way, shape or form 'magical'?

That's pretty unpleasant language - we don't really need sexism on the site, cheers.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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From personal experience of working on festivals, any trustifarian with a double barrelled surname will never, ever, suffer from extreme hardship.

Mummy and daddy wouldn't allow it.

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cyclingDMlondon [481 posts] 2 years ago
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No, I agree - we don't.

Now explain to me how it is 'sexist' to point out that women have enjoyed preferential treatment at the hands of the justice system, to the point where (to take but the examples of false accusations of rape and murder of partners), a situation akin to almost complete impunity has been allowed to develop.

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Sarah Barth [86 posts] 2 years ago
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Many, many more men get away with raping women than the number of women who get away with falsely accusing men of rape, if you want to shine a spotlight on the justice system.

But my main objection I suppose was your phrase 'all they have really achieved is to open their legs'. This site is meant to be welcoming for all, so take your demeaning language elsewhere, thanks.

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allez neg [497 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah, +1 to Sarah from me.

I think the baby kicking thing does have an element of plausibility to it, however I do agree with the majority here and think she should have got a ban - even a couple of months would have been ok, especially given that festivals are generally a summer thing, so the ban could be done and dusted before they really kick in so her livelihood shouldn't have been jeopardised disproportionately.

It would have sent out a more positive message too.

Internet shopping, lifts from friends (and the childs father?) and, shock horror, public transport and walking could all get her from A to B and make the inconvenience manageable.

My licence took a 40 day holiday to Swansea back in 2001, for a minor speeding matter. I cycled everywhere or got lifts and it was hard as I needed to travel short distances several times every day for work, but I managed it and there was a lesson learned and I've not been caught speeding since.

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ironmancole [276 posts] 2 years ago
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Just to add to the very good post by tripod regarding an in case of accident panel perhaps we should compose a letter to government departments and MPs asking for concise clarification as to what is and isn't likely to be acceptable to a court where death and injury has been inflicted.

If we are knocked off a bike but find the poor motorist did it accidentally as they were distracted by a really good joke on the radio perhaps then we'd know to wait for the ambulance in a quiet dignified manner rather than risking wasting police time with notions of a complaint.

Preferably wherever this is possible we should make every effort to drag ourselves to a ditch to ensure other motorists aren't inconvenienced by our selfish but temporary blockade, we are after all guests on the roads and shouldn't outstay our welcome.

Of course, if we wish to test the justice system as we were hit by a motorist attempting to use an untested excuse such as 'I simply couldn't be arsed to turn the wheel to avoid you' then the bolder amongst us may wish to consider a complaint, if only to determine if such an excuse needs to be added to the general guidance already acknowledged.

This would save much time for the police and the CPS and define clear boundary between ways to hurt and kill people that are accepted as accidental from alternative excuses that warrant extremely harsh penalty, such as forcing someone to endure the misery and hardship of covering 2 miles without their car to a bus stop.

Such hardship really is intolerable isn't it?

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