Motorist admits he was careless, but prosecution pushing for dangerous driving conviction

A court has been told how a cyclist riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End was killed when a driver bent down to pick up a satellite navigation device that had fallen from his car’s windscreen.

The cyclist, 37-year-old Arthur Platt from Lyndhurst, Hampshire, a shift manager at Totton Health and Leisure Centre, died from the injuries he received in the incident in Telford, Shropshire last July despite being taken to hospital by air ambulance.

The driver of the car, Stuart Cook, aged 47 and from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, denises causing Mr Platt’s death by dangerous driving, reports the Shropshire Star.

However, Samantha Crabbe, speaking for the prosecution, told Shrewsbury Crown Court that the accident had been caused by the defendant being distracted as he looked for his sat-nav device.

Ms Crabbe explained that the fatal accident had taken place at around 1pm on 6 July 2010 as Mr Platt, who was raising money for the charity Help For Herores, rode his bike on the A442 Queensway.

“At the same time Cook was driving a BMW southbound on the road,” she continued, saying that the motorist was on his way home from a meeting.

“Cook became distracted by his ‘sat nav’ which had fallen from his windscreen into the passenger side foot well,” she claimed.

“He bent down, taking his left hand off the steering wheel to retrieve it, the car veered to the left and collided straight into the back of Mr Platt’s bicycle.”

She added that the prosecution would seek to show that the driver not only leant down to pick up the sat-nav device, but went on to check that the screen was lit up.

She added that although Cook had pleaded guilty to driving carelessly, “The prosecution maintain his actions were not just careless but dangerous.

“It was only at the point of impact that Cook looked up. That level of inattention and loss of control of his vehicle makes him, we say, guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.”

The Shropshire Star reported that Cook had informed police that he had removed his eyes from the road for just two or three seconds, although he said to another driver at the accident scene that he had lowered his eyes only for one second.

The case continues.

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.