Ban and community service for lorry driver who caused cyclist's death

89-year old rider died after being struck from behind

by Mark Appleton   March 21, 2011  


A lorry driver has been sentenced to 100 hours of community service, disqualified from driving for a year, had his licence endorsed and been ordered to pay £85 costs after admitting causing the death of a cyclist through dangerous driving.

The Daily Gazette reports that Tony Smith, 46, of Kirby Cross, Essex was driving a Silverton Aggregates LGV when he struck 89-year-old Vera Chaplin who was riding along Frinton Road in Kirby Cross, on August 9 last year.

Smith is said not to have seen the cyclist until it was too late, striking her from behind and causing her to fall from her bike. Ms Chaplin died as a result of the injuries she sustained in the fall.

The court heard from her brother Sam who said in a written statement: “She was, to some extent, my carer. At age 92, I am not able to get out and about – I am not in good health.” He added that his life has changed “dramatically” since his sister’s death.

District Judge David Cooper said the incident had resulted in “a tragic end to a long life” but added that Smith - who the court heard was of "exceptional character" - had expressed his “total and absolute remorse” over the incident.

The victim’s niece Jenny Osbourne said: “Vera was a remarkable woman whose independence and energy knew no limits. She enjoyed life and to have died in such circumstances was truly unjust.”

Steve Brewer, from the Stanway road policing unit, said Vera was a regular cyclist. He added: “The collision itself was relatively minor. This crash highlights the need for drivers of all vehicles to take extra care at junctions.

"Cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians can sometimes be difficult to see, particularly when a driver is looking for something more visible, such as a car or larger vehicle.”

7 user comments

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So has he been convicted of "causing death by dangerous driving"? If so, he has escaped with penalties which appear to be more lenient that those suggested by the guidelines, which appear to be the minimum of a two year driving ban, and can include up to fourteen years in prison and an unlimited fine.

If you want to kill someone, choose a car as your weapon, then say you're really sorry.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1448 posts]
21st March 2011 - 17:35


This is a case for appeal if ever there was one. Whatever happened to the fund set up by the CTC to fight injustice.


antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1108 posts]
21st March 2011 - 19:53


So in the other thread, action is being taken against cyslists following an incident in which a pedestrain was killed. The cyclist was fined £2000. In this instance a truck driver killed a cyclist but was only fined £85.


posted by OldRidgeback [2577 posts]
21st March 2011 - 20:51


Again a sad case of a 'professional' driver getting off lightly by a judge not prepared to hand out the minimum sentence! I can only assume he was more focused on traffic approaching the roundabout from his right!! Thoughts are with the family at this time.

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1184 posts]
21st March 2011 - 21:32


Again we see injustice for a cyclist killed by a motorist.

posted by gazzaputt [196 posts]
22nd March 2011 - 11:49


If he was "more focused on traffic approaching the roundabout from his right", vehicles with lights on would be more likely to grab his attention. This mad EU directive that all motor vehicles first registered after February 2011 must have lights on all the time (DRL) has to be repealed. It must be replaced with a max. power limit for headlamps. If the EU won't see sense, our beloved government must tell them what to do with DRL if they are serious about reducing road 'accidents' (for which read 'crashes')

posted by stevegs [1 posts]
17th May 2011 - 21:26


The last sentence says it all. Letting the motorist off because a cyclist is too small to see. And I thought there was a minimum level of eyesight required to drive a motorised vehicle. And apparently there is. You must be able to see something larger than a cyclist, "such as a car or larger vehicle".

whizz kid

posted by whizzkid [76 posts]
18th October 2011 - 22:40