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One more dead cyclist; another driver with a community service sentence

A driver who killed a cyclist last August on a wide, straight and clear road and then lied, claiming that the victim had swerved in front of her, has today been sentenced to a one-year community order with supervision and 150 hours of community service. She was also banned from the road for two years and until she has passed an extended test.

According to today's Bath Chronicle driver Kylee Powell, who had passed her test just weeks earlier, had her husband and three of her four children in the car when she drove into cyclist Sarah Hayward last summer. The 27-year-old's Ford Focus went straight into the bike on a wide single carriageway section of the A4 as they were both travelling towards Box from Bath.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that Mrs Hayward had gone out on her bike after work on Wednesday, August 19, last year. Shortly after 7pm, as she passed a Nissan dealership, she was struck by the car which was taking the Powell family to Chippenham to buy food.

The front passenger side wing of the Ford Focus hit the gear mechanism on the rear wheel, sending the rider over the top of the car. Although she was rushed to the Royal United Hospital in Bath, she suffered major head injuries and died later.

Miss Squire said there had been no braking before the collision and CCTV from the Nissan dealership showed neither car nor bike had changed path in the moments before the impact.

She said the road was long and straight and the driver would have had the bike in her vision for more than 20 seconds before the impact. Powell's husband told police he had been telling his wife a car he was interested in was no longer on the forecourt at the Nissan garage.

When the police arrived at the scene, Powell told them the cyclist had swerved out in front of her at the last minute, a version of events contradicted by the camera footage.

Matthew Hardyman, defending, said, "At the time of the collision, she had been distracted by her husband who had been talking to her. "It was a momentary lapse of concentration: a distraction from her husband in the passenger seat," he said.

Passing sentence Judge Euan Ambrose today said, "This is a tragic, truly tragic case. It seems the most likely cause of this collision was a combination of poor road position – you were too close to the kerb given the fact that you knew there was a cyclist up ahead and it was a wide road – and more importantly in my judgement, inattention and distraction at the crucial moment."