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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. ” 

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