Don’t honk, shout and swear at cyclists, and drive carelessly around them: they might be off-duty policemen. That’s the message an Irish driver will be taking home — along with a €300 fine — after he was found guilty of careless driving by Cork District Court yesterday.
According to Liam Heylin of the Irish Examiner, the court heard that sergeant Ger O’Callaghan and garda Michael Collins were out for a ride when James O’Shea drove up behind them. Sgt O’Callaghan told the court that O’Shea had sounded his horn at the two cyclists, shouted that "fucking cyclists were taking over the road", threatened to run them over next time and gave them the finger as he drove away.
“I had my right hand extended to turn right,” Sgt O’Callaghan said. “Just before the junction I heard the car. He shouted out the window to us: ‘Ye fucking cyclists all over the road.’ I heard Garda Collins saying: ‘Can you not see we are turning right?’ ”
O’Shea denied Sgt O’Callaghan’s account. He told the court: “I disagree with everything he said. The only thing the guard said that is true is the location.”
The incident happened after 6pm on July 3, 2013 at Doughcloyne Hill, which extends out from Togher Rd in Cork City
The 33-year-old claimed he knew the road well and that he drove behind the two cyclists, who were chattig and riding two abreast, for a while before sounding his horn to let them know her was there. He said one of them leaned aggressively toward his window and he was afraid the rider was going to punch him.
“The last thing I would do is hit anyone with my car, I was driving at five miles per hour. I couldn’t have been any more careful,” he said.
Sgt O’Callaghan said the car touched his leg slightly as it over took them. Garda Collins corroborated his account.
Judge Olann Kelleher found O’Shea guilty of careless driving. He was fined €300.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.