Driver guilty of killing cyclist at junction that was subject of 2005 "serious accident" warning

Lawyer says there were nine separate accidents involving cyclists prior to fatal crash

by Simon_MacMichael   November 18, 2010  

Junction of Northolme and North St, Gainsborough - Google Streetview

Councillors were warned five years ago that “it will only be a matter of time before there is a serious accident” at a junction in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire where a 68-year-old cyclist lost his life earlier this year after being hit by a car, road.cc can reveal.

The chilling prediction, which appears in the minutes of a 2005 meeting of West Lindsey Council’s Planning Services Committee, was made in an objection to a proposed residential property development close to the junction of Northolme and North Street where pensioner Derek Vickers was killed in May.

This week, Wendy Walmsley, aged 39, pleaded guilty to causing Mr Vickers’ death through careless driving, saying that her vision had been obstructed by the A pillar on the Land Rover Freelander that she had hired.

Mrs Walmsley, who works as a nurse, hit Mr Vickers, who was riding from North Street to Morton Terrace, when she pulled out to turn right, according to a report in the Lincolnshire Echo.

Her solicitor Michael Procter, highlighted that the junction has a history of accidents involving cyclists.

"It appears that this particular junction is notorious for collisions of this type,” he said, adding: “There have been nine incidents involving cyclists previously.”

"For whatever reason, for drivers coming out of that junction there is some sort of risk factor in them not seeing people coming from the other direction,” he continued.

"Mrs Walmsley is absolutely devastated and is on antidepressants as a result of the incident."

Daniel Paulson, prosecuting, said that Mr Vickers was not wearing a helmet, although he was in fluorescent clothing, adding, “He was not going at any speed and was cycling in an appropriate manner.

"Mrs Walmsley hit Mr Vickers causing him to fall from the bike and suffer serious head injuries from which he later died."

Sentencing was adjourned until 17 December pending a report from the Probation Service. Toni Butroid, the presiding magistrate, confirmed that no driving ban would be imposed on Mrs Walmsley prior to that hearing, and that she would not be receiving a prison sentence, saying, "Custody will not come into the equation."

road.cc has attempted to contact West Lindsey Council for their comments and will continue to do so.

 

7 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

A tragic case. It does sound as if poor road design is a major factor in this incident. The UK's road system is unfortunately full of poorly designed sections. Accountability has to fall with the local authorities for many of the issues with minor or urban roads.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
18th November 2010 - 8:18

2 Likes

This is tragic and a junction with 9 cycle related should clearly be redesigned long before this but what I find also worrying the "He was not going at any speed" part of the judgement is this implying if you cycle quickly its your own fault if you get run over?

posted by miffed [163 posts]
18th November 2010 - 10:20

2 Likes

I don't think he is implying anything of the kind. He understands that the burden of proof in a criminal case is - rightly - very much in the lap of the prosecution so he needs to accentuate his case.

In terms of the reformative effect of the law one would imagine that Mrs Walmsley is relatively unlikely to kill anyone else, whereas the designers, builders and approvers of this junction may well kill again. What are they going to do to reform their offending behaviour?

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
18th November 2010 - 12:14

3 Likes

> It does sound as if poor road design is a major factor in this incident.

The article directs us this way at the end, however she said "that her vision had been obstructed by the A pillar on the Land Rover Freelander that she had hired."

So what: she looked, noticed she had a blind spot (as she recalls it later), so what does she do ? Move her head to see around the blind spot, or just proceed and hope for the best ?

posted by zoxed [63 posts]
18th November 2010 - 12:17

2 Likes

For reference, this is the junction:
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Northolme+...

Street view it. I can't see what's so difficult about the junction from Northolme to North Road, if you know how to drive...

posted by creepymonkey [31 posts]
18th November 2010 - 13:16

2 Likes

"For whatever reason, for drivers coming out of that junction there is some sort of risk factor in them not seeing people coming from the other direction,” he droned on.

A great defence....blame the road!

posted by markwatkin [4 posts]
19th November 2010 - 17:24

1 Like

I feel sorry for his friends and family.

Must be hell for the driver knowing you've killed someone.

I don't know if a helmet would have done anything but its always worth choosing to wear one anyway regardless of how useless it may be.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [325 posts]
20th November 2010 - 20:07

3 Likes