An 18-year-old motorist from Wareham, Dorset, has pleaded guilty to causing the death by careless driving of Rob Jefferies, a popular and well-known figure on the UK cycling scene who had also worked for British Cycling. Mr Jeffries was killed on a training ride near Wareham in May this year.
Weymouth Magistrates’ Court heard this week that the driver Lee Cahill had only passed his driving test four months earlier, reports the Bournemouth Echo.
In a statement read out to the court, Mr Jefferies’ widow Jane said: “I feel angry about a system that allows young drivers to take on responsibility for others’ lives that they are not ready for.
“I feel sorry for Lee that he has had to find out the hard way and have his life ruined as his actions have ruined ours.”
She described her husband, who was 43, as an “affectionate, lovely companion. A once in a lifetime perfect match,” and also spoke of the effect of his death on their daughter Eve, aged 12, and his 29-year-old stepson, George.
Following his death, Rouleur magazine organised an auction of memorabilia to help raise money for his family, with donations received from cyclists including Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas and David Millar.
He had competed alongside the likes of Chris Hoy and Wiggins, and was a member of Poole Wheelers Cycling Club. After initially volunteering for British Cycling as a support officer, he later took on a full-time role as education officer.
Penny Knight, Mrs Jefferies’ solicitor, commented: “The real tragedy here is the sheer waste of life and what could have been.
“Not only losing the huge impact Rob had yet to make on his family but also his impact on so many others who he would have led and guided.
“It is also about the sad loss of a future for Mr Cahill. Here is a boy who as a man will forever recall what he did and what he took away.
“He has to live with that. If anything good comes from this we hope that his friends see what he has done and think twice when they falsely believe they are competent enough to drive recklessly.”
Cahill, who has been disqualified from driving, is due to be sentenced in January.
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.