Driver found not guilty of causing death of promising cyclist

Driver didn't see Lewis Balyckyi without lights in dusk

by Sarah Barth   June 23, 2012  

Lewis Balyckyi winning at the Tameside circuit in 2010 (courtesy British Cycling).jpg

A man has been found not guilty of causing the death by dangerous driving of a promising young cyclist.

Lewis Balyckyi, 18, who was due to move France as part of the John Ibbotson Fund, which sponsors young riders to race with a semi-professional team for a season, was cycling along North Road in Bretherton, near Chorley when he was hit by a van driven by Leslie Pitblado, 50.

The court was told by witnesses that Balyckyi was wearing dark clothing and had no lights on his bike before the incident on January 18 last year, despite it being dark at the time.

Other motorists had told a trial into the accident at Preston Crown Court that the teenager did not have any lights on his bike and was wearing dark clothing, despite it being dark at the time.

Mr Pitblado, of St Annes Road, Leyland, showed no emotion as a unanimous not guilty verdict was delivered by a jury yesterday.

Judge Michael Byrne said he could not let the case pass without offering “the sympathies and condolences of the court” to Lewis’s family, who cried in court, the Lancashire Evening Post reported

He said: “Lewis Balyckyi had every expectation of achieving glittering international prizes in his chosen sport of racing cycling and the memory and example of this happy young man will remain forever with his parents and his sister.

“I would not wish Lewis’ family to leave this court without realising that the memory and example of this man will live on forever.”

Mr Pitblado had been driving with some work colleagues, including his son, who spotted Balyckyi just before the crash. Mr Pitblado sad he had been completely unaware of the cyclist, and Reverend Nicholas Davis, of All Saints Church, Becconsall, told the court how he nearly hit Lewis just minutes earlier.

The court also heard how Balyckyi, who was described as having his ‘head down’ had told his mother that evening that he needed new lights for his bike.

Lewis Balyckyi’s friends have set up a trust in his name, from which a grant will be given in association with British Cycling to a deserving junior rider to help them with their costs in aiming to fulfill their dream. More details can be found at LBTF.

 

6 user comments

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If this story is not missing something out, and who knows what else might be involved here, one has to wonder at the prosecution decisions of the CPS.

In one case, they appear to attempt a prosecution in a case which at first sight looks unwinnable, On many many others, such as those recently reported by the "Cycling Silk", Martin Porter QC, the evidence of someone who must surely be one of the most believeable witnesses (seen from the Beak's perspectiove) backed up by motion picture evidence is rejected as insufficient to be sure of securing a prosecution!

Honestly, you couldn't make it up.

posted by Paul M [305 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 18:24

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What I would like to know is how fast the van was going. I mean it was on the wrong side of the road overtaking a car. How fast was the car going? What was the speed limit on the road? It amazes me that you cab drive on the wrong side of the road, kill someone and still get away with it.

Very sad case, PS I will be at the memorial ride in September

posted by millskid [34 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 20:24

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millskid wrote:
What I would like to know is how fast the van was going. I mean it was on the wrong side of the road overtaking a car. How fast was the car going? What was the speed limit on the road? It amazes me that you cab drive on the wrong side of the road, kill someone and still get away with it.

Very sad case, PS I will be at the memorial ride in September

Perhaps you will be able to get answers to your questions before you accuse someone else of "killing and getting away with it" looks like you have made your mind up who was responsible despite the evidence.

posted by alun [44 posts]
23rd June 2012 - 23:13

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I've talked about cycling with no lights on a previous thread, and I've been much criticised, but I'll take the risk of doing it again here.

I do feel some sympathy for the motorist. Us cyclists should always use lights when possible. However, I also drive. It's actually surprisingly easy to see cyclists even when it's dark. Cars, as we know, have big powerful headlights. The whole road lights up.

I bet you this driver was driving too fast. That's what really caused this accident. Not the fact that Balyckyi didn't have any lights on his bike.

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
24th June 2012 - 12:43

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This is not about right and wrong this is about the law. The law in this case will have come down on the fact of no lights and dark clothes. Watch SILKS this gives you the inside track on our legal system. The best Barrister can twist anything to win using points of law!

posted by Parrotti [1 posts]
24th June 2012 - 14:54

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If he didn't see him, he shouldn't be driving, simple as. lights are a red herring at dusk.

posted by northstar [1083 posts]
25th June 2012 - 14:53

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