A police officer who struck a cyclist while driving at more than twice the speed limit as he responded to an incident, leaving him seriously injured, has been convicted of dangerous driving at Southwark Crown Court.
British Transport Police officer David Lynch was driving the marked police van at 68 miles per hour in a 30 miles per hour zone prior to the collision on 31 March last year in Hackney, East London, reports BBC News.
He had been heading towards an incident in the Old Street area at the time, with the van’s siren on and its lights flashing.
The 31-year-old had admitted careless driving, but pleaded not guilty to the charge of dangerous driving.
Singer-songwriter Joseph Belmonte, known as Pepe, spent two weeks in hospital as a result of the injuries he received.
Witnesses told the court that all four of the vehicle’s wheels left the ground as it travelled over a humpback bridge at speed before hitting the cyclist, who had been travelling in the same direction.
Mr Belmonte, who cannot remember the incident, was struck by the bonnet of the van and thrown against a tree.
In a statement read out to the court, PC Gary Thomas, a passenger in the police van, said: "I believe we were approaching the bridge too quickly as I couldn't see over the bridge and whether there were any hazards on the other side.
"I was about to tell PC Lynch we were going too fast and needed to slow down but we were already going over the bridge.
"It caused me to panic as I thought something could be coming towards us."
"The cyclist had no chance of avoiding impact with us as he was facing in a forward direction," he added.
PC Lynch is due to be sentenced on 8 October.
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.