Judge says drivers “have a high responsibility to be aware of cyclists on the road”

Remarks made as judge jails motorist for causing death of North Wales man

by Simon_MacMichael   January 17, 2013  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

A judge in North Wales has said that motorists “have a high responsibility to be aware of cyclists on the road” as he sentenced a driver to 14 months in jail for causing the death of a Flintshire man through dangerous driving.

Sentencing John Evans, aged 45, at Mold Crown Court, Judge Niclas Parry said that the defendant had “caused the wholly unnecessary and avoidable death” of 63-year-old Alan Mort from Kinmel Bay on Sunday 5 February last year, reports the BBC.

Evans claimed that he had not seen retired paramedic Mr Mort, who was returning home on a dual carriageway road between Flint and Bagillt after visiting his son.

However, two motorists travelling behind Evans’ Range Rover described how they had seen the cyclist, who was wearing high visibility clothing and was riding in a straight line.

"He was there to be seen. He was immediately in front of you yet you collided with him," said the judge as he sentenced Evans, who had originally pleaded not guilty to the offence but subsequently changed his plea.

"The use of the public roads by cyclists was probably now more enthusiastic than ever before, the danger to cyclists had never been under greater scrutiny, they were vulnerable road users,” the judge added.

Speaking for the prosecution, Jayne La Grua told the court that although a passing nurse attempted to save Mr Mort’s life, he had died instantly in the incident in which he had been thrown onto the bonnet of Evans vehicle.

The rear light of his bicycle was found embedded in the front headlight of the Range Rover. Despite Evans’ claims he had not seen the cyclist, Ms La Grua said he would have had “"a clear and unobstructed view “ of him for at least 20 seconds before the collision.

"However, for reasons unknown, despite the time and distance available to him, the defendant simply failed to observe him," she added.

John Gibson, defending Evans, said his client was “at a complete loss to understand why he did not see” Mr Mort.

Sentencing Evans as well as banning him for driving for 18 months, the judge noted that he had good character and was a family man whose "remorse was genuine."

12 user comments

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Sentenced to 14 months, according to the BBC (since it seems to be missing from the above story).

Ride your own ride

posted by CanAmSteve [160 posts]
17th January 2013 - 6:27

11 Likes

So he'll be out within a year then. Not sure about that, but he should be banned from driving for more than 18 months.

posted by a.jumper [719 posts]
17th January 2013 - 7:06

10 Likes

I expect his phone would've been checked to make sure he wasn't using it at the time of the crash and that his eyesight would also have been tested. How he failed to see the cyclist is hard to understand. I agree a 14 month sentence does seem short considering that he killed the cyclist and I sympathise with the victim's family. An 18 month driving ban also seems rather short.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2288 posts]
17th January 2013 - 9:10

11 Likes

Killing someone with a vehicle should always carry a lifetime motoring ban, provided the driver's at fault, of course.

Saw my first texter-at-the-wheel this weekend. Going at speed on a straight country road. In fairness, he looked up from the screen now and again.

nowasps's picture

posted by nowasps [262 posts]
17th January 2013 - 10:02

8 Likes

I guess he could have been using his phone e.g. creating a text message but never got round to sending it so records wouldn't reveal?

posted by bike_food [106 posts]
17th January 2013 - 10:35

9 Likes

In some respects I am pleased that the judge appears to be bucking the trend and has listened to the arguements put forward by CTC, BC et al about road use etc, but I am still flabbergasted by what seems a rather lienient sentence considering he killed somebody.

As for his trying to plead not guilty trying to use the SMIDSY excuse only to change it later Makes me wonder when he changed his mind was it after he was told that two drivers behind his chelsea tractor could see the cyclist?

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [603 posts]
17th January 2013 - 11:13

11 Likes

Agree it is lenient, but it feels like a turn in the right direction.

posted by Roastie [25 posts]
17th January 2013 - 12:30

14 Likes

I'm glad the driver got prison here, as a cyclist there's nothing more you can do beyond what this cyclist did in this type of situation, and 20 seconds is an eternity on the road. Nice to see a judge being just, although it seems to be the juries that are the most unjust.

posted by kie7077 [539 posts]
17th January 2013 - 14:06

13 Likes

Just driving a Range Rover should come with a minimum 18 month sentence anyway.

posted by karlowen [65 posts]
17th January 2013 - 16:34

11 Likes

Roastie wrote:
Agree it is lenient, but it feels like a turn in the right direction.

That's my initial reaction especially since the last few court cases have favoured the 'killer'.

Mr. Mort, what an unfortunate name though.

posted by Kebab Meister [12 posts]
17th January 2013 - 17:27

10 Likes

He shouldn't be allowed back on the road. End of.

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [207 posts]
17th January 2013 - 17:49

9 Likes

Always amazes me how drivers think smidsy is a valid excuse. 14 months does seem a but light, he'll be out in 7, but good comments from the judge.

Scott Spark 910 - Boardman Team Carbon - Planet X XLS

posted by colinth [188 posts]
20th January 2013 - 8:38

8 Likes