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Tory politician pleaded guilty to careless driving following incident in which he drove out of country lane into cyclist's path...

Lord Heseltine, who served in Margaret Thatcher's cabinet and was Deputy Prime Minister to John Major, has been fined £5,000 - the maximum amount possible - after pleading guilty to careless driving following an incident that left a cyclist seriously injured.

The Tory politician pleaded guilty at Northampton magistrates' court in connection with the incident in June 2016 which left the unnamed cyclist with four broken bones in his arm.

The victim also needed plates and pins to be put in his leg following the crash, which happened when the 83-year-old peer, driving his Jaguar, pulled out of a lane onto the B4525 in Thenford, Northamptonshire.

Heseltine's driving licence was endorsed with five penalty points, reports The Mirror.

The Conservative peer was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a victim surcharge of £170.

He said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly to the pedal cyclist. My overriding concern has always been his wellbeing.”

The Crown Prosecution Service says that the offence of careless driving under the Road Traffic Act 1988 is committed when "the defendant's driving falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver."

Under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 , a new offence was brought in of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, which is committed when "the manner of the defendant's driving is dangerous and results in another person suffering a serious physical injury," and which can result in a prison term of six months if tried at magistrates' court, or five years at crown court.

There is no similar offence that combines careless driving - which is easier for the prosecution to establish than dangerous driving - with causing serious injury to another person; while separate assault charges can be brought, that did not happen in this case.

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.

18 comments

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handlebarcam [1076 posts] 1 year ago
15 likes

Unlike that walking, talking spud-u-like Chris Grayling, I can believe this was a case of a senior moment rather than a fuck-you-buddy, I'm too important to look out for others move. But, at an absolute minimum, he should be required to take a retest to prove he is still has the capability that a driver's licence is supposed to imply. And he should be made to trade in his Jag for something small, low-powered and covered in foam rubber.

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LDR [9 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

He said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly to the pedal cyclist. My overriding concern has always been his wellbeing. Thankfully he was only a 'pedal cyclists ' and not a pedestrian or, God forbid, a motorist!!

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ped [291 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes
Quote:

Tory politician pleaded guilty to carless driving following incident in which he drove out of country lane into cyclist's path...

Carless driving, eh? Is that like walking in the road saying 'brummm' or something?  3

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Ush [1037 posts] 1 year ago
13 likes
LDR wrote:

He said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly to the pedal cyclist. My overriding concern has always been his wellbeing. Thankfully he was only a 'pedal cyclists ' and not a pedestrian or, God forbid, a motorist!!

I don't think you're being quite fair there. Seems like an honest admission of fault and responsibility to me.

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wycombewheeler [1246 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes
Ush wrote:
LDR wrote:

He said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly to the pedal cyclist. My overriding concern has always been his wellbeing. Thankfully he was only a 'pedal cyclists ' and not a pedestrian or, God forbid, a motorist!!

I don't think you're being quite fair there. Seems like an honest admission of fault and responsibility to me.

indeed far too many drivers would have taken this to a jury and a good proportion would be found not guilty by similar inattentive drivers on the jury.

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Rapha Nadal [713 posts] 1 year ago
8 likes

Well, here's now hoping that that twat Chris Grayling now gets a worse punishment/fine.

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Duncann [1188 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

Having been in Hezza's presence a few times a couple of years back, it seemed clear that his mobility - and presumably reactions - were much diminished by age. As mentioned above, a retest would be good.

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ktache [646 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

"My overriding concern has always been his wellbeing."  

Unfortunately, not always...

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brooksby [2812 posts] 1 year ago
5 likes
Ush wrote:
LDR wrote:

He said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly to the pedal cyclist. My overriding concern has always been his wellbeing. Thankfully he was only a 'pedal cyclists ' and not a pedestrian or, God forbid, a motorist!!

I don't think you're being quite fair there. Seems like an honest admission of fault and responsibility to me.

I agree. Old Tarzan has actually gone up in my estimation after this (a bit). Ancient Tory sets a good example: who'd've thunk it!?!

(Good example by admitting fault, not good example by knocking over cyclist, obviously)

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the nutcracker [20 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

It's ludicrous that this guy can self certify himself 'fit' at  83 years old to drive a car. Can anyone involved with motoring legislation in government be assed to change this grossly dangerous status quo.?..,,, probably not......and wow, a £5k fine must be really hitting the multi millionaire hard in the pocket .....and 5 points on his licence?. By that logic he can impair the lifelong mobility of 2 more humans before he even gets over the 12pt limit and even then he could claim hardship and not lose his licence. Anyone looking at this system objectively from afar cannot fail to see how much ofs joke it is for a) victims and b) deterring bad driving

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Johnnystorm [98 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I guess it's the usually deplorably low level of 'justice' in these cases but a £5k fine, points and what seems a sincere apology appears to be a good result.

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oldstrath [931 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Johnnystorm wrote:

I guess it's the usually deplorably low level of 'justice' in these cases but a £5k fine, points and what seems a sincere apology appears to be a good result.

 

Surely a better result would be for him to admit he is unfit to drive? The best result would be for this to prompt a system of mandatory retesting of all drivers at reasonably frequent times. 

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Ush [1037 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
oldstrath wrote:

 best result would be for this to prompt a system of mandatory retesting of all drivers at reasonably frequent times. 

Absolutely mind-boggling that this is not already the case.  What could possibly go wrong?

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ktache [646 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes

"Lord Heseltine estimated that the rider’s speed coming down the hill could have been nearly 30mph." From the Sun, referenced by the Mirror which had been referenced by the Guardian, which was how I learned this extra bit of the story.

And from the Mirror -

"His lawyer Tim Ingram, partner at law firm DWF, said his view was partly blocked by an overgrown verge when the incident happened at a crossroads on a country lane.

That meant he did not see the cyclist, who was pedalling downhill at just under 30mph and hit the front offside of the Jaguar, the lawyer said. He added the peer stopped immediately, went to the cyclist’s aid and dialled 999"

Now I'm guessing the speed limit was at least 30mph, and as much as 60mph on that section of road.  So nothing wrong there then.

But he couldn't see the cyclist sow how on earth can you estimate a speed of nearly 30mph?

A small attempt at victim blaming perhaps, which does make me wonder if his unreserved apology may of had a few reservations.

Also the offending hedge was trimmed a few days later, according to The Mirror.   Hmmmm?

And surprisingly The Sun mentioned the Grayling dooring.

 

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Johnnystorm [98 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

"Also the offending hedge was trimmed a few days later, according to The Mirror. Hmmmm?"

Let's assume for a moment that a dangerous feature was altered in light of an incident. /glass half full

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Griff500 [212 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I was with you until you said this:

ktache wrote:

Now I'm guessing the speed limit was at least 30mph, and as much as 60mph on that section of road.  So nothing wrong there then.

Maybe, maybe not. Are you saying that because the speed limt is 60 mph that it is safe to travel at 60mph? Sadly, many road users make that mistake. Rule 126 for example?

Of course it was Heseltine's fault, he said as much. But to describe, as you did, a crossroads with overgrown verges impacting visibility, and then suggest there is nothing wrong with a road user approaching it at up to the legal limit is wrong.

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Griff500 [212 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
Johnnystorm wrote:

"Also the offending hedge was trimmed a few days later, according to The Mirror. Hmmmm?" Let's assume for a moment that a dangerous feature was altered in light of an incident. /glass half full

Good to see that at least one local council responds to an accident, whether this is: (a) to reduce the chance of a recurrence, or (b) to remove an excuse for the next doddery old fool who pulls out without looking. The councils in my area are less responsive.

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ktache [646 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Griff500, I'm not saying that.

Rule 126 states- Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.

Not thet you should drive at a speed that will allow you to stop before hitting a large object that some idiot has suddenly placed there.

An analogy might be, driving (and I don't drive) down a country lane and hitting a fallen tree, kind of your fault, as opposed to being hit by or hitting a falling tree.  Which is one of those rare collisions that could actually be describes as an accident.

Found more at the Northampton Chronical.

Happened on the B4525 in Thenford.  Google maps.  2-lane blacktop with white line at the edge.  A speed limit for cars and motorcycles of 60mph.  Rule 124.  If you look at the table, cyclist, bicycle or push bike doesn't appear.  So the cyclist would have at most, been travelling at half of the speed limit, unless were to describe him as goods vehicle when he would have been doing a speed of 60% of the limit.  For me the estimation of a speed of a vehicle he admitted he had not seen was perhaps a little bit of victim blaming.

Heseltine claims to have looked to his right.

I don't know what junction this was but if you type in B4525  Thenford into Google maps you get 2 junctions onto the B4525, One highlighted and a track that doesn't appear to go to Heseltines fine house and gardens.  The highlighted junction is the Helmdon Road onto the B4525.  So if this were the junction he wouldn't even have to look over his shoulder.  It is, as has a triangle in the road and double dashed lines, a Give Way junction.

 Rule 172- The approach to a junction may have a ‘Give Way’ sign or a triangle marked on the road. You MUST give way to traffic on the main road when emerging from a junction with broken white lines across the road.  (their bold)

Now Give Way.  The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 regs 10(25) (2) No vehicle shall proceed past such one of those lines as is nearer the major road into that road in a manner or at a time likely to endanger the driver of or any passenger in a vehicle on the major road or to cause the driver of such a vehicle to change its speed or course in order to avoid an accident.

There is a crossroads as you move towards Falcutt with 90 degree roads, but neither appear to be very tight and both are Give Way.

My guess is thet Heseltine didn't stop or slow down enough to be able to see the approaching cyclist, knowing that his veiw was obscured as he drove towards the junction.  So he just went for it as he "had made the crossing several times in the past without incident".  Very unfortunate for the cyclist.

My Hmmm about the cutting was that it was his defence that brought this up and he is a Lord.  I'm finding myself slightly more cynical this year.