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12-month community order for causing death by careless driving

A Berwick motorist who was involved in a fatal collision with a cyclist has been handed a 12-month community order and an 18-month driving ban after being convicted of causing death by careless driving at Newcastle Crown Court. Anne Lyst said she didn’t see George Eyre when entering a roundabout due to a particularly big blind spot on her Vauxhall Zafira.

Chronicle Live reports that on May 25 last year, Lyst left work in Berwick shortly before 5pm. On her way home she entered a roundabout junction on the A1167 Northumberland Road, at the entrance to the Swan Leisure Centre, and hit 62-year-old Eyre, who was riding a power assisted bike.

Eyre suffered fatal head injuries.

The court heard that Eyre was in Lyst’s blind spot, which she said was particularly big on her Vauxhall Zafira.

Judge Tim Gittins said that it was a driver’s responsibility to mitigate for the effects of a blind spot.

“He had lawfully entered that roundabout and was making his way across it in an entirely lawful manner.

“What transpired on examination of the scene was that it was likely he was or had been entirely in or partly within the blind spot created by the right side of your windscreen for the entirety of his journey across the roundabout.

“Anyone who considered the evidence in this case in relation to the size of the blind spot may have been alarmed at the potential masking effect. But as the jury found, something being in your blind spot is no defence to careless driving. It remains your responsibility to mitigate its effect and what you did, if anything, was insufficient.”

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK's Head of Campaigns commented:

“The misleading headline in the Chronicle suggests that the car’s blind spot was to blame, with no responsibility falling on the pillar of the community behind the wheel. Given that the jury convicted Mrs Lyst, it’s clear they didn’t accept that a failure to see was a valid defence.

“If your car has a blind spot it’s your responsibility to take extra care, and mitigate the effect. Rather than reporting that Mrs Lyst was convicted due to a large blind spot, perhaps it would have been more accurate, and more responsible, to report that she was convicted because she didn’t do enough to mitigate the effect of the blind spot. ” 

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

54 comments

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scouser_andy [41 posts] 1 month ago
19 likes

She was tried after entering a plea, presumably not guilty, in order for the trial to go ahead. So no admission of responsibility - blaming it on the car, rather than her actions in manouvering it. So why only an 18 month ban?

The standard of driving in this country is appalingly low and sentences like that show a tolerance of it.

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Blackhound [458 posts] 1 month ago
7 likes

I have noticed these blind spots on my last two vehicles. I suspect - but do not know - that it has helped increase the safety inside the vehicle at the expense of visibility. That does not excuse the accused or the sentence.

Also noticed how much poorer indicators are, often cannot see them. A lot of drivers see them as optional these days however.

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FluffyKittenofT... [1843 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Blackhound wrote:

I have noticed these blind spots on my last two vehicles. I suspect - but do not know - that it has helped increase the safety inside the vehicle at the expense of visibility. That does not excuse the accused or the sentence.

Also noticed how much poorer indicators are, often cannot see them. A lot of drivers see them as optional these days however.

Not being a driver, I have no idea how new this is, but dark-tinted glass (often so dark nobody outside can see anything inside) seems to be extremely common on car windows now*. That can't improve visibility in the other direction, surely?

All of this makes me wonder why some are so sure that self-driving cars - designed and programmed by the same people who design these vehicles - will attach great priority to the safety and wellbeing of those outside the vehicle.

* excluding the windscreen, obviously.

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Ever been in an Evoke?  It's as if it's designed to kill and injure people you can't see.  How on earth are manufactuers allowed to make such patently idiotic vehicles?

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OldRidgeback [2813 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes

Some cars do have really bad blind spots and I remember reading how some Vauxhall models do score poorly in this respect. Our Ford isn't great, but isn't the worst. New cars do have much thicker roof pillars. I was struck by this when driving a classic Porsche we'd rented some years back as its field of view was incredibly good.

But this shouldn't detract from the fact the drivers have a responsibility when they get behind the wheel. If they can't see, they should slow down and keep looking all around. I'm sure all of us who also commute on two wheels are all too well aware of the poor use of mirrors of far too many drivers for instance.

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ktache [627 posts] 1 month ago
12 likes

And to think, she could have moved her fat lazy head and a human being would still be alive.

I think that putting the grieving family through the trial by not having the decency to plead guilty,  and blaming deficiencies on the vehicle that she had chosen to drive rather than inadequecies in her driving abilities shows a lack of remorse.

Sympathy for the family, my arse!

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oldstrath [894 posts] 1 month ago
19 likes

I'm sure there's a good reason....

But why is killing someone because your car stopped you seeing them less worthy of 18 months in prison, interviews on every significant media outlet with a grieving relative and instant knee jerking from Jesse the clown than killing someone by failing to brake on a fixie?

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fenix [799 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
Blackhound wrote:

I have noticed these blind spots on my last two vehicles. I suspect - but do not know - that it has helped increase the safety inside the vehicle at the expense of visibility. That does not excuse the accused or the sentence. Also noticed how much poorer indicators are, often cannot see them. A lot of drivers see them as optional these days however.

Not being a driver, I have no idea how new this is, but dark-tinted glass (often so dark nobody outside can see anything inside) seems to be extremely common on car windows now*. That can't improve visibility in the other direction, surely? All of this makes me wonder why some are so sure that self-driving cars - designed and programmed by the same people who design these vehicles - will attach great priority to the safety and wellbeing of those outside the vehicle. * excluding the windscreen, obviously.

 

The Law - "Under regulations first issued 20 years ago and clarified three years ago, the windscreen must allow in at least 75 per cent of light while at least 70 per cent must pass through the driver's side windows"

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bstock [21 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Quote:

Mr Comb said Lyst had been keen to communicate her sympathy to Mr Eyre’s family from the beginning but was advised not to by the police until the case was over.

 

Seems an odd intervention for the police to make, compare with the kid on a track bike whose lack of remorse went massively against him in sentencing. Though in my experience Northumbria Police don't care about cyclist lives so not so odd perhaps.

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Bentrider [36 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Careless driving/driving without due care and attention is practically universal these days so it is virtually impossible to persuade a jury, most or all of whom drive themselves, to convict someone of anything more than minor carelessness on the basis of behaviour which they regard as normal.

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Bluebug [162 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Not being a driver, I have no idea how new this is, but dark-tinted glass (often so dark nobody outside can see anything inside) seems to be extremely common on car windows now*. That can't improve visibility in the other direction, surely? psychosomatic. * excluding the windscreen, obviously.

The tinting on the windows should make no difference to your visability in seeing out of the car. So while you and I can't see in, if you are in the car you can see out clearly.  The only time you may have a problem if they are added later on, like some people use to do.   Also most  windscreens on cars have slight tint to them and have done from the 90s.

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Grahamd [723 posts] 1 month ago
9 likes

I think we need to help drivers with car defects. Anyone involved in an RTA whose defence is that their car is built with such basic design faults then said vehicle should be removed from the road and destroyed. They can then buy a more suitable vehicle.

 

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mike the bike [970 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Bluebug wrote:
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Not being a driver, I have no idea how new this is, but dark-tinted glass (often so dark nobody outside can see anything inside) seems to be extremely common on car windows now*. That can't improve visibility in the other direction, surely? psychosomatic. * excluding the windscreen, obviously.

The tinting on the windows should make no difference to your visability in seeing out of the car. So while you and I can't see in, if you are in the car you can see out clearly.  The only time you may have a problem if they are added later on, like some people use to do.   Also most  windscreens on cars have slight tint to them and have done from the 90s.

 

Window tinting, by definition, reduces the amount of light passing through the glass in either direction.  The less light, the less you can see.  Simple.

However, the law allows a prescribed reduction in the light transmission capacity of car windows, presumably to reduce glare on bright days.  Some police cars carry a meter that measures the reduction and exceeding it is an offence.

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pablo [196 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

their are legal requirements for exterior vision.  Vision is only going to get worse i'm afraid with the advent of electric cars in the short term at least. The increase in weight over an ICE car in a rollover means more structure in the pillars.  Material science can only offset a little.  Also the additional mass will likely damage roads more.  On the bright side your lungs will be happier.  

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oldstrath [894 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
bstock wrote:
Quote:

Mr Comb said Lyst had been keen to communicate her sympathy to Mr Eyre’s family from the beginning but was advised not to by the police until the case was over.

 

Seems an odd intervention for the police to make, compare with the kid on a track bike whose lack of remorse went massively against him in sentencing. Though in my experience Northumbria Police don't care about cyclist lives so not so odd perhaps.

I think you actually mean lack of visible, conventionally displayed, remorse. Our judges seen incapable of recognising that remorse can easily be faked by someone who cares little, and conversely that some who care deeply cannot express that caring ''normally'.

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ironmancole [352 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

What we now need to see is the family commencing an action against Vauxhall for a product that is clearly dangerous to those outside of it, irrespective of what the law states is a proficient amount of visibility.  Similar actions I believe have been taken in the US where an individual has been killed or seriously injured by a product.  How realistic it actually is I have no idea but I do know that cash talks, no amount of arguing with a disinterested government will get us anywhere, start suing however and things do change very quickly.  

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Helmut D. Bate [79 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

If normal drivers can't really be expected to make the necessary adjustments to see in cars like this, they should be removed from the road, or need a special category of license to drive with training to overcome these hideous blind spots.

Or the judge is a helmet and hasn't punished the lack of "responsibility to mitigate its effect" properly.

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don simon [1422 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Quote:

Judge Tim Gittins said that it was a driver’s responsibility to mitigate for the effects of a blind spot.

I assume we'll be seeing a removal of all those twattish stickers that trucks and vans have that victim blame cyclists for leagally filtering on the inside. Good on ya Tim!

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Yorkshire wallet [1503 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Blinded by the sun, blinded by lights and now blinded by your car. What next?

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bstock [21 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
oldstrath wrote:
bstock wrote:
Quote:

Mr Comb said Lyst had been keen to communicate her sympathy to Mr Eyre’s family from the beginning but was advised not to by the police until the case was over.

 

Seems an odd intervention for the police to make, compare with the kid on a track bike whose lack of remorse went massively against him in sentencing. Though in my experience Northumbria Police don't care about cyclist lives so not so odd perhaps.

I think you actually mean lack of visible, conventionally displayed, remorse. Our judges seen incapable of recognising that remorse can easily be faked by someone who cares little, and conversely that some who care deeply cannot express that caring ''normally'.

 

That's a fair point, should have qualified it as "perceived lack of remorse" or some such.

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wycombewheeler [1234 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Surely driving a vehicle with such a large blind spot that it prevents safe operation of the vehicle is choosing to use a vehicle which is not fit for the roads.

Death by wanton and furious driving?

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Ratfink [172 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

I don't own a car but i drive various vehicles at work and i've got to say the blind spots are getting worse.

The combination of a strengthened A pillar (to keep the occupants safe in a roll over) and the wing mirrors being built in rather than outside are bad enough but now a lot of vehicles have such sloping windscreens that to be able to really see right around the pillar you'd have to climb on the seat and put your head and shoulders over the steering wheel.

I've nearly been side swipped on several occasions and i know from these bum gripping moments exactly what has happened the driver did not see me.

This has happened in the dark on lit streets, lights on my bike and various bits of reflective clothing

There is a perfect combination of you and the driver approaching a junction at the right speed and you'll be in that blind spot.

The driver has been looking forward until the stop line possibly turns a bit to the left as he reaches it keeping you in that blind spot,looks out the side window all clear,then continues turning left probably still being more concerned with whether anythings approaching from the right as they join the road look forward and if your  lucky they then see you lit up like a xmas tree going woooohhhh doing a kinda turn away whilst getting ready to slide across a bonnet.

 

 

 

 

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Yorkshire wallet [1503 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

She is talking bullshit. If you can't see out of a Zafira then you've not much hope seeing out of anything. 

I wish lie detectors were compulsory when defendents give evidence. She just didn't look at all. 

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Edsonytic [7 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

The view from inside a Zafira doesn't look particularly bad, at least not compared with a SEAT Ibiza which is what I drive. //smgmedia.blob.core.windows.net/images/129063/1024/vauxhall-zafira-tourer-mpv-diesel-46bd9765e3fd.jpg)

In my opinion not seeing something when it clearly is your responsibility, is quite simply careless driving and the "defense" based on the blind spot shouldn't be considered for even a second as slightly valid.

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Ratfink wrote:

I don't own a car but i drive various vehicles at work and i've got to say the blind spots are getting worse.

Exactly right.  There is no point in blaming the drivers because 1.  Very very few if any set out intending to harm cyclists, and 2.  No matter how much people cry they are incompetent and carless c*unts they still have a licence till, basically, death, so it goes nowhere.

We have commonly for a few quids tech to stop you backing into a bollard in a car park and scratching your paint, but sod all to stop you mowing down a cyclist in an A piller blind spot.  This is neither sensible nor necessary.

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Gourmet Shot [172 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

Blinded by the sun, blinded by lights and now blinded by your car. What next?

Blinded by love?

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Gourmet Shot [172 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

Not being a driver, I have no idea how new this is, but dark-tinted glass (often so dark nobody outside can see anything inside) seems to be extremely common on car windows now*. That can't improve visibility in the other direction, surely? All of this makes me wonder why some are so sure that self-driving cars - designed and programmed by the same people who design these vehicles - will attach great priority to the safety and wellbeing of those outside the vehicle. * excluding the windscreen, obviously.

I have dark tinted windows on my estate, funnily enough so people cant easily see into the back and see my bike!, anyway the windows are legal and the view is clearer inside out than it is outside in.

All cars have blind spots (some worse than others), but I dont pull out or join the motorway without  physically checking behind me so overall there's no mitigation or excusing this....boils down to not being arsed or caring about this cyclist.

 

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embattle [96 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

The Ford Kuga I drive sometimes has a rather annoying large rearview mirror mount, this does cause a slight blind spot when looking left from the drivers position but then you have to adapt like you do on any vehicle.

 

 

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
embattle wrote:

The Ford Kuga I drive sometimes has a rather annoying large rearview mirror mount, this does cause a slight blind spot when looking left from the drivers position but then you have to adapt like you do on any vehicle.

I getchya, but this dones't work.  Even if you are part of the tiny hyper aware minority who ride bikes, when you are in a rush, the windows steam up, there is a dustraction, yada yada yada, it all goes to pot.  There is no milage in abdicating sensible design responsibility to the user.

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oldstrath [894 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
BarryBianchi wrote:
Ratfink wrote:

I don't own a car but i drive various vehicles at work and i've got to say the blind spots are getting worse.

Exactly right.  There is no point in blaming the drivers because 1.  Very very few if any set out intending to harm cyclists, and 2.  No matter how much people cry they are incompetent and carless c*unts they still have a licence till, basically, death, so it goes nowhere.

We have commonly for a few quids tech to stop you backing into a bollard in a car park and scratching your paint, but sod all to stop you mowing down a cyclist in an A piller blind spot.  This is neither sensible nor necessary.

Although I agree with you about the engineering, I can think of one good reason to want severe punishment for drivers like this, which is to motivate demand for the tech. Maybe if people see that they might suffer because of the remediable defect in their car, they will demand the remedy. 

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