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Motorist admits careless but denies dangerous driving

A jury attempting to decide whether a motorist who dragged a cyclist under her wheels was guilty of dangerous driving has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict.

The jury at Exeter Crown Court was asked to deliberate on the case of a carer, Miriam Thomas, who was posting her mother’s Christmas cards last December when she hit cyclist Julian Harper on a narrow country lane.

The prosecution will decide next week whether to request a retrial.

Mr Harper was knocked off his bike and fell under the car, where his hand was crushed by the wheel.

Ms Thomas drove away, according to the prosecution, but then returned and said: "You were in my way, don't you have mirrors?".

She then left the scene once more, but returned on her way home and stopped to ask police officers: "Has he been breathalysed yet?”

She has admitted a lesser charge of careless driving but denies that her actions were dangerous.

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said, according to the Exeter Express and Echo: "Mr Harper became aware of a Renault. It is a narrow country lane with high Devon hedges and blind corners which had nowhere the driver could have passed him.

"She beeped her horn repeatedly. We say that is evidence of aggression on Thomas's part. There was no other reason for her to beep her horn.

"Mr Harper looked behind him and saw her car very, very close, perhaps just one or two metres. We say she was driving much too close for safety.

"As they approached a left hand bend he looked down and saw the front bumper immediately by his right leg. The car did not stop or back off. It drove on and collided with the back of the bicycle, causing the rider to fall over.

"He initially fell to the left but was spun back round clockwise and as a result his front wheel went fully under the front wheel of the car. Mr Harper put his hands out to break his fall and the car ran over his fingers.

"Luckily and extraordinarily, it only caused minor injuries, scratches, grazes and bruises. The bike was rather mangled. Mr Harper was rolled along the road and eventually came to a stop.

"He looked up to see Thomas's car disappearing round the bend without braking or stopping. While he was checking himself and his bike the car returned and she got out.

"Mr Harper recalls she said something like 'what were you doing swerving all over the road? You were in my way. Don't you have mirrors?’."

Thomas countered that she was a careful driver with a clean licence and had not been in a rush at the time. She said her hooting was only to let the cyclist know she was there, and her actions were not deliberate.

She said:"The cyclist proceeded down the lane. It was obvious he was taking the racing line and trying to straighten out the corners.

"Somehow I got too close to him and the side of my car hit the back of his bicycle. I did not think I was that close. I was shocked and surprised. I lost sight of him and the bicycle because he fell over.

"I was going very slowly. I must have been closer to him than I thought I was.

"I was aware he was shouting but it did not seem to me he was screaming or in a lot of pain. I don't know why I carried on but as soon as I realised what I had done I turned around and came back."

 

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.

23 comments

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Sick of these stories.

 

Need an aggressive Cyclists' Lives Matter movement for public visibility and new legislation. Reverse burden of proof. Organised protests outside court trials, etc.

Avatar
StoopidUserName [392 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

Drivers should be removed from all juries in these cases. Disgusting bias....

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Critchio [240 posts] 1 year ago
11 likes

Another example of why I have no faith in juries. They are clueless, place their own personal bias on the evidence, half of them are more worried what they are going to prepare for that evenings meal, and the other half are half asleep. Seriously go sit in a public gallery at a Crown Court case and study the jury....

Had it been down to 3 judges the defendant would have been found guilty.

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srchar [736 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes

An utter joke. Why is it that, in all these "stupid pass" stories, the driver is desperate to get past, yet they're always either on a mundane errand, or have enough time to stop and dish out some verbal abuse?

The unfortunate rider in question would have got better justice by nicking the dopey driver's car keys or stoving her car in with a D-lock.

Avatar
burtthebike [1382 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Sick of these stories.

Need an aggressive Cyclists' Lives Matter movement for public visibility and new legislation. Reverse burden of proof. Organised protests outside court trials, etc.

"Cyclists' Lives Matter"  Love it.  Crowd funding anyone?

I'm not thinking so much of legal action, more of hiring a hit man.

Avatar
burtthebike [1382 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

".......a carer, Miriam Thomas........"

A carer?  Are they sure about that?

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StuInNorway [150 posts] 1 year ago
12 likes

"It is a narrow country lane with high Devon hedges and blind corners which had nowhere the driver could have passed him."  -  So no space for a safe pass.

"She beeped her horn repeatedly. We say that is evidence of aggression on Thomas's part. There was no other reason for her to beep her horn."   - There's the agression and evidence of a likely deliberate act.

"He looked up to see Thomas's car disappearing round the bend without braking or stopping. " - Failure to brake during an accident ? Then she knew what was going on.

"The cyclist proceeded down the lane. It was obvious he was taking the racing line and trying to straighten out the corners."  - in other words attempting to keep a decent speed to avoid delaying the car behind more than was unavoidable on a road there wasn't space for a safe pass ?

"Somehow I got too close to him and the side of my car hit the back of his bicycle. I did not think I was that close. I was shocked and surprised. I lost sight of him and the bicycle because he fell over" - Cyclist is in front of you then as you come alongside he's suddenly "not visible" . .  does she think aliens abducted him ? Yet still no braking ????

Shoot the jury and shred her drivers licence.

Avatar
brooksby [2919 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
burtthebike wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Sick of these stories.

Need an aggressive Cyclists' Lives Matter movement for public visibility and new legislation. Reverse burden of proof. Organised protests outside court trials, etc.

"Cyclists' Lives Matter"  Love it.  Crowd funding anyone?

I'm not thinking so much of legal action, more of hiring a hit man.

I think the (something) Lives Matter phrasing has now been exclusively claimed by the BLM campaign. Anyone using the same phrasing for their campaign gets accused of at best belittling the BLM campaign and at worst of outright racism. Allegedly.

Avatar
brooksby [2919 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

All her keeping coming back to the scene to check whether the cyclist had been breathalysed and to berate him for being in her way seems a bit over-defensive in any case... Seems like the jury had a serious case of "there but for the grace of god..." going on.

Avatar
tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:
burtthebike wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Sick of these stories.

Need an aggressive Cyclists' Lives Matter movement for public visibility and new legislation. Reverse burden of proof. Organised protests outside court trials, etc.

"Cyclists' Lives Matter"  Love it.  Crowd funding anyone?

I'm not thinking so much of legal action, more of hiring a hit man.

I think the (something) Lives Matter phrasing has now been exclusively claimed by the BLM campaign. Anyone using the same phrasing for their campaign gets accused of at best belittling the BLM campaign and at worst of outright racism. Allegedly.

 

Yeah it's sensitive now because of those White Lives Matter guys who piggybacked on it. Which is a shame as it could have been a way of showing solidarity between oppressed groups. And White Lives Matter were definitely not trying to show solidarity. 

Avatar
I love my bike [214 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
burtthebike wrote:

".......a carer, Miriam Thomas........"

A carer?  Are they sure about that?

 

Maybe it's her way of trying to get new customers. Did she only go back to see if it was worth leaving him her business card?

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vonhelmet [848 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes

I love the way she says "somehow I got too close to him" as though she wasn't in control of the car, like how did I get so close?? Naughty car!

That and "I must have been closer to him than I thought I was" which is an utterly redundant statement given she hit him. Unless she was actively trying to hit him then of course she must have been closer than she thought.

Avatar
brooksby [2919 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
unconstituted wrote:
brooksby wrote:
burtthebike wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Sick of these stories.

Need an aggressive Cyclists' Lives Matter movement for public visibility and new legislation. Reverse burden of proof. Organised protests outside court trials, etc.

"Cyclists' Lives Matter"  Love it.  Crowd funding anyone?

I'm not thinking so much of legal action, more of hiring a hit man.

I think the (something) Lives Matter phrasing has now been exclusively claimed by the BLM campaign. Anyone using the same phrasing for their campaign gets accused of at best belittling the BLM campaign and at worst of outright racism. Allegedly.

 

Yeah it's sensitive now because of those White Lives Matter guys who piggybacked on it. Which is a shame as it could have been a way of showing solidarity between oppressed groups. And White Lives Matter were definitely not trying to show solidarity. 

I'd forgotten about White Lives Matter: when I'd posted I'd been thinking about the hoo-hah over "Clown Lives Matter"...

Avatar
wycombewheeler [1257 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

She said:"The cyclist proceeded down the lane. It was obvious he was taking the racing line and trying to straighten out the corners.

----

Did she want to overtake him at the corners? where she couldn't see what was coming the other way. If anything by smoothing out the corners he is reducing her delay, and also as she is less than 2m behind him it would be foolhardy in the extreme to apply brakes for the corners.

Perhaps he was indicating it was not safe to pass there. My wife came home the other day and talked about following some cyclists up a long hill, which we both know, where they were occupying a position to prevent an overtake where there was no room and moved over when there was space, giving her a clear indication to pass.  (her words, and she never cycles)

Why are drivers, juries and (it would seem) prosecution lawyers unable to grasp this simple fact?

Avatar
srchar [736 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
wycombewheeler wrote:

Why are drivers, juries and (it would seem) prosecution lawyers unable to grasp this simple fact?

Because half the population are below average intelligence.

Avatar
The _Kaner [1151 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

This woman seriously needs some psychological/psychiatric testing.

Whether she is charged with the lesser offence or not, she should never be allowed near the driving seat of motorised transport again ever.

I was beeping to let him know I was there...aye right!

Avatar
wycombewheeler [1257 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
srchar wrote:
wycombewheeler wrote:

Why are drivers, juries and (it would seem) prosecution lawyers unable to grasp this simple fact?

Because half the population are below average intelligence.

It would be nice to think that the prosecution lawayer wasn't in that camp, but these sorts of statements never seem to be challenged (or maybe they are but just not reported)

The _Kaner wrote:

This woman seriously needs some psychological/psychiatric testing.

Whether she is charged with the lesser offence or not, she should never be allowed near the driving seat of motorised transport again ever.

I was beeping to let him know I was there...aye right!

One beep, when approaching, a good 50m behind - maybe, Repeated beeping from 2m behingd is aggresive and intimidating, it should qualify as assault, but of course the jury will just consider it reasonable driving practice.

Clearly if she is unable to tell if she is too close when she actually hits someone she is not competant to drive. Maybe the courts should be able to take licences away in these cases, OK we accept it was an accident, but you have declared you can't tell when you are able to hit something so we think you are not safe to be allowed in charge of a motor vehicle.

Avatar
burtthebike [1382 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:
wycombewheeler wrote:

Why are drivers, juries and (it would seem) prosecution lawyers unable to grasp this simple fact?

Because half the population are below average intelligence.

I'm sure it's much more than half:-)

Avatar
Christopher TR1 [169 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

At least the victim blamers are keeping quiet on this one. After all, he could have thrown his bike over a hedge and then leaped after it in order to let the car past - common courtesy really.

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brooksby [2919 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Christopher TR1 wrote:

At least the victim blamers are keeping quiet on this one.

Thats because they're all commenting on the "Bristol near-miss cyclist" story instead.  1

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BikeBud [259 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Fucking unbelievable.  The woman, and the jury.  

 

The prosecution will decide next week whether to request a retrial.

Errrr...  Yes!

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peted76 [894 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

What a horrible tale, I hope they throw the book at her, however I suspect if the books is thrown it'll be more like a small pamflet and will include 3 points and a £100 fine. 

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burtthebike [1382 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

And in almost identical circumstances, except that the victims were in another car, this driver gets two years.

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/road-rage-man-who-chased-another-driver-for...