Police say case highlights dangers of driver distraction plus need to check insurance in force

A motorist who killed a cyclist in Milton Keynes when he drove into him while adjusting his car radio has been given a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years and banned from driving for 15 months.

Martin Boulton, of Woughton on the Green, had earlier pleaded guilty to causing the death in March 2011 by careless driving of 43-year-old father-of-two Robert Gregory of Milton Keynes, as well as causing death by driving a vehicle while uninsured.
Boulton was also sentenced to 200 hours’ unpaid work and fined £350 plus a £15 victim surcharge, according to a statement from Thames Valley Police.

Investigating officer PC Naomi Hames from the force’s Road Death Investigation Team in Aylesbury, commented: “This is a very sad case and my thoughts continue to be with the family of Robert Gregory who have been very supportive throughout the police investigation.

“Martin Boulton admitted he was adjusting his car radio and failed to see Mr Gregory cycling along the road. When he did see him, sadly it was too late for him to take any preventative action.

“Although it is not against the law to adjust car radios while driving, this case is a stark reminder that driving is a multi-functional task which needs undivided attention. Any distraction can lead to a tragic outcome,” she added.

“Mr Boulton was also driving while uninsured and while it is accepted by police that it was not a deliberate act on his part, I want to remind drivers that it is their responsibility to check they have valid insurance in place, especially after renewing or changing to a new insurance company.

“Just because third party cover has been provided in the past it does not always follow that they will automatically be given this cover on renewal. It often has to be specifically requested,” PC Hames concluded.

In a statement released by Mr Gregory’s wife Christina via Thames Valley Police following his death, she described how her husband was killed “while out cycling enjoying the sport he loved so much.

“He lived most of his life in and around Milton Keynes and made many friends in his lifetime and will be missed by many. Rob worked as a maintenance engineer with One Stop which he really enjoyed even though he had at times long distances to travel.

“Rob was such a caring person, he was a loving father and doted on his children and was a wonderful husband filling our lives with so much love and laughter.

“Rob loved his cycling and would cycle for miles exploring the county. When he wasn’t cycling he would be making improvements to our home, just last year building a conservatory for our children to play in.

“He was loved and highly thought of by all that knew him always ready to offer a helping hand to those who needed it, and no one loved him more than his family. He will be missed more than anyone will ever know, he was a great father with so much patience he loved nothing more than having his son work alongside of him and was in the process of teaching his son how to ride his bike without stabilisers.

“Rob made a large impression on so many people even those that only knew him for a short time and they have shown such sorrow at our loss. I can’t put into words what a caring man he was and what a great hole he will make in so many people’s lives. Rob’s life that was taken away so cruelly leaves behind his loving wife Christina and his two children Aaron aged five and Zoe, aged two,” she added.

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.