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Court hears that car was speeding and on wrong side of road

A driver who pleaded guilty to causing the death of a cyclist through careless driving has been banned from driving for 12 months and given 240 hours community service by a Scottish court.

Cyclist Brian Taylor had been cycling to work in the early hours of the morning in November 2008 when he was hit by a Rover 400 driven by plumber Stephen McKay, and died from his injuries at the scene.

McKay claimed that Mr Taylor, a 29-year-old father of one, had been riding without lights, but STV News reports that police accident investigators later established after analysing skid marks that the motorist had been driving on the wrong side of the road and lost control of his vehicle.

They also estimated that McKay had been driving at speeds of up to 60mph on Grange Road, Dunfermline, a twisting road that has a speed limit of 40mph. The fatal collision occurred on a double bend, with the impact sending the victim onto the grass verge, with Mr Taylor suffering multiple fractures to his legs, ribs and skull. A post mortem found that he had "brain injuries consistent with being hit by a vehicle travelling between 50 and 60 mph."

The court heard that McKay remained in his vehicle without moving, with his headlights and hazard lights on before he stopped a passer-by and, in “"a panicked state", said: "I have just hit somebody. I think I have killed him."



The case was heard at Dunfermline Sheriff Court, where Sheriff Craig McSherry told "Had you been driving at a reckless speed you would be facing a charge of reckless driving. This quite obviously had a terrible outcome for the family of the accused, but in saying that, I do not believe the level of carelessness is substantial enough to merit a sentence of imprisonment."


The specific offence of causing death by careless driving was introduced in both England & Wales and Scotland in 2008 following pressure from road safety campaigners and cyclists' organisations due to the perceived leniency of sentences handed down to drivers charged with careless driving in cases where someone had died as a result of the driver's actions.

CTC Campaigns Coordinator Debra Rolfe said:"It is shocking that a motorist who killed a cyclist while driving significantly faster than the speed limit and on the wrong side of the road has only been convicted of causing death by careless driving. In my view, this is clearly dangerous driving. A 12-month driving ban seems very lenient in this case. A ban is not about punishing the motorist, but rather it's about taking people off the road who have demonstrated their ability to be a risk to others."

CTC is collecting data on cycling crashes and near misses through the website www.Stop-SMIDSY.org.uk.

Moments after being sentenced, McKay was back before the same court, where he was fined £260 for threatening a customer who had criticised his workmanship with a three-foot long toby key, a tool used by plumbers to turn mains water supply on and off.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

24 comments

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dlp [51 posts] 6 years ago
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Disgusting. How can this give any cyclist hope that justice will be done in the event that the worst should happen?

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OldRidgeback [2658 posts] 6 years ago
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terrible - the guy sounds like a real jerk too. A prison sentence would have been appropriate given the offence. The judge was wrong.

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John_the_Monkey [438 posts] 6 years ago
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Well, at least we know that doing 20 miles over the speed limit isn't reckless.

FFS.

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Lara Dunn [50 posts] 6 years ago
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Sickening. I'm betting he'll be out on the same road at the same speed straight after he gets his licence back, not giving a s**t that he killed someone.

It's just not right.

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Pickypong [55 posts] 6 years ago
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Disgusting

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Docroddy [31 posts] 6 years ago
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In cases where sentencing is too lenient,the Procurator Fiscal can appeal the sentence. But! The charge was for careless driving which I presume the Procurator Fiscal agreed to! I don't think the charge can be changed (though I'm not an expert on Scots Law). To our reading, it is, of course, ludicrous that this is defined as careless driving.

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OldRidgeback [2658 posts] 6 years ago
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I may live in London now but I come from Edinburgh and I do know that road where the accident happened. Believe me, 60mph is not an appropriate speed by any means.

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workhard [397 posts] 6 years ago
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Is there anything an individual cyclist or one of the national cycling clubs can do to lobby the Procurator Fiscal to appeal against that sentence.

Farcically lenient.

60mph in a 40mph zone and on the wrong side of the road not reckless? WTF is then?

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handlebarcam [792 posts] 6 years ago
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I am beginning to think judges, sheriffs and magistrates who preside over fatal traffic accident cases should not be allowed driving licences themselves. There seems to be far too much empathy and sympathy for the accused. And, if found guilty, far too much concern over the convict's ability to make a living if denied the privilege of driving for more than a year or so. Yes, there is no point bankrupting someone, forcing them into a life of crime, but simply being a plumber or a taxi driver shouldn’t be a licence to mow down cyclists and get away with it. A non-driving judge wouldn’t suffer from the “there but for the grace of god go I” mentality, and wouldn’t feel hypocritical about having speeded themselves, perhaps on the very same stretch of road. As it is, it is like NRA members being the judges on a fatal shooting cases.

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Simon E [2851 posts] 6 years ago
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workhard wrote:

60mph in a 40mph zone and on the wrong side of the road not reckless?

And he was trying to apportion some blame to the cyclist by lying about his lights. Just how many rules of the road do you have to flout to go to prison?

This sends totally the wrong message, and we can see where the legal system's sympathies lie.

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pedalingparamedic [94 posts] 6 years ago
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"This quite obviously had a terrible outcome for the family of the accused"

What about the outceom for the family of the victim? 'Nuff said? The courts need to dish out some realistic sentencing.

This guy was clearly driving like someone who didn't care - if he didn't care about his driving, then we should assume he takes similarly little care about his liberty and lock him away for a very, very long time

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Simon_MacMichael [2466 posts] 6 years ago
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pedalingparamedic wrote:

"This quite obviously had a terrible outcome for the family of the accused"

We assume he meant to say "victim," (which is the word the Express substituted) but the quote we used is the one that has been most widely reported, including the BBC.

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Mark Clarke [21 posts] 6 years ago
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Unfortunately, the judge does not live in the real world. Imagine what the sentence would have been if the motorist had killed another motorist in head-on while driving on the wrong side of the road. I don't think that would have been called "careless driving". It seems that the definition of careless/dangerous/reckless depends on who you kill ...

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 6 years ago
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It seems to me that if you want to kill someone and get away with it, then you should do it from behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

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fgb [2 posts] 6 years ago
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Sheriff Craig McSherry sends out the wrong message by not jailing the yob who killed Bryan Taylor. My sympathy goes to the family of Bryan Taylor.
Why always aportion blame on the cyclist?

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fgb [2 posts] 6 years ago
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It seems to be ok to kill cyclists.

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badbunny [71 posts] 6 years ago
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Killing someone is killing someone - but I do wonder if the judge would have been quite so lenient if it had been say a 6 year old child he'd killed?

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bikeman [1 post] 6 years ago
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i cant believe how stupid and ignorant that judge was he should go to prison himself what being so offensive to cyclists. we need to be safe on the roads and drivers like this don't give a toss whether they run us over or not

i'm disgusted by this i mean who are we protecting here

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simonmb [353 posts] 6 years ago
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It seems The Law - or more specifically in this case The Judge - is an ass!

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MalcolmBinns [115 posts] 6 years ago
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Another nail in the coffin of decent society.

Driving is a responsibility and a privilege, and should be suspended for those that flout their responsibility.

Ban for life. Let him get a bike and a trailer to ply his trade.

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Zaskar [133 posts] 6 years ago
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He over speeds, drives on the wrong side of the road and tries it on about lights.

Also threatens people.

 39

At least they could ban them forever.

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skippy [411 posts] 6 years ago
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WHEN will "Judges/Sheriffs" be educated about life in the real world? Justice is what they are supposed to dispense, not platitudes nor "token chatisements"!
Chauffeured to work, cossetted in old world dignity they have no idea how the ordinary world operates nor the expectations that grieving relatives have! Step on their dignity and you will get a custodial sentence but kill a relative of theirs i cannot believe they would be as indifferent as this "Poor example of Scottish Law"!
As regards the mongrel who kills cyclists and threatens his clients, pass the word as to where he lives and works and treat/fend off all who deal with him with a barge pole! when he can no longer earn a living or be accepted in "society" as a human being then he may learn to reform his ways but others of the same mentality will see what they face if they behave in a similar fashion.
Being a "bumboy in prison" would have been the correct way to solve his anti social behaviour ! Don't count on being safe on the roads as this type of idiot will flout the law having nothing to lose now!

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fiftyacorn [89 posts] 6 years ago
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disgusting

i read the article on the BBC site, and also noticed an article about 2 men being hit by a car in glasgow that was being treated as attempted murder. seems ironic

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Roadkill [43 posts] 6 years ago
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The car seems to be the only thing you can kill someone with and not commit murder or manslaughter....

What about a civil case for financial compensation?

Wouldn't be justice but would at least it would value a life at more than er... nothing...