Motorists jailed in separate dangerous driving incidents involving cyclists

11 months for motorist who left rider with "catastrophic" injuries; 19 months for road rage driver

by Simon_MacMichael   February 6, 2013  

Justice (Lonpicman, Wikimedia Commons)

A driver who caused “catastrophic” injuries to a West Midlands cyclist has been jailed for 11 months for dangerous driving. The sentence contrasts with one handed down to a banned driver in Hertfordshire who was involved in a series of road rage incidents has been jailed for 19 months.

Richard Bennett, aged 42, a prison officer at Winson Green Prison in Birmingham, was riding through Smethwick on his way home from work in February last year when he was hit by a car driven by Matthew Hollingshead from Handsworth, reports Dudley News.

The impact left Mr Bennett with a broken back in three places, a dislocated hip, fractured nose, broken teeth and deep tissue damage and also shattered his right shoulder.

Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that Hollingshead, who is unemployed and pleaded guilty to the charge against him, had lost control of his Audi A3 on the damp road. The vehicle hit a kerb and a wall before hitting the victim.

Shortly beforehand, an off-duty police officer believed he had seen the vehicle racing and decided to follow it, but came across the cyclist in the gutter, having been thrown some distance from his bike.

The defendant admitted that he had failed to check his tyres – one was bald with the others having little tread – but he insisted that he was not speeding or racing prior to the collision.

Simon Worlock, defending Hollingsworth, said: “He is very concerned to see the state that Mr Bennett is in and he fully accepts responsibility. No sentence, in fact nothing beyond science and strength of character will help the use of Mr Bennett's limbs."

Sentencing him, recorder Kevin Hegarty QC said: "You drove a car at speed on a damp surface whereby you lost control because of the state of your tyres.

"You struck the kerb, a wall and wrecked Mr Bennett who suffered multiple fractures. The harm you caused was catastrophic for him."

Meanwhile, St Albans Crown Court has heard the case of a 29-year-old motorist involved in a series of road rage incidents in Chorleywood  last July in which he attacked a cyclist then drove into a scooter as well as a car being driven by a pregnant woman with her 12 year old daughter as a passenger.

The chain of events began when he clipped a bike being ridden by cyclist Lawrence Simm, making the rider swerve, reports the Watford Observer.

When Mr Simm put up his hand to show he was okay, Lee got out of his car and asked by the cyclists if he was alright replied, "I will give you 'all right'" before punching him to the ground.

When a member of the public went to help Mr Simm, Lee threatened them and said: "Do you want some as well?"

Vanslow Lee pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified, reports the Watford Observer. As well as being banned from driving for three years, he will have to take an extended retest to get his driving licence back.

Prioritise this! National cyclists’ organisation CTC is currently urging people to in England (outside London) and Wales to write to their Police & Crime Commissioners to ask them to make road safety a priority. You can find more details of the campaign, including a link to an online form to write and send a letter, here.

 

11 user comments

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Quote:
he will have to take an extended retest to get his driving licence back.

Sadly, that driving test will probably check that he has memorised stopping distances, and such like, not gauge whether he has ceased being a despicable, sub-human scumbag.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
6th February 2013 - 12:37

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Quote:
Vanslow Lee pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without insurance and driving while disqualified,

Ah so another driving ban will work fine then...
It really angers me when you see these cases of driving while disqualified and the court decides that they should, oh yes, ban him from driving.

HE WAS ALREADY F***ING BANNED! Didn't work that time, it's unlikely to work again is it?!
Just thankful that the scumbag will at least do a few months in prison.

posted by crazy-legs [473 posts]
6th February 2013 - 12:56

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I wonder what the thug would have got if he'd driven a car deliberately into a police officer? Probably charged with attempted murder.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
6th February 2013 - 13:38

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If you behave like this you should never be able to hold a license again, or make them retake their test annually at an amount that generates revenue for the council or government. In other words punish the scum for life.

posted by Simmo72 [263 posts]
6th February 2013 - 13:42

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Here's my understanding of the law:

Hit someone with a stick and that's attempted GBH/murder and is tried under criminal laws on assault, with serious penalties.

Use a car as a weapon (heavier, with some nasty physics involved) and that's less serious because the weapon has four wheels so it comes under road laws, not assault laws, and the penalties are much lighter because it's a driving offence, not an act of violence.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
6th February 2013 - 13:43

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Just a thought guys but if ever anyone is deliberately targeted by a motorist, your first encounter with the police should begin: 'If I deliberately drove a car into you, what would you charge me with?'

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
6th February 2013 - 13:45

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While sentence A is disproportional to sentence B neither are in anyway near stringent enough. Surprise

bikeandy61's picture

posted by bikeandy61 [383 posts]
6th February 2013 - 14:06

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One with illegal tyres, allegedly driving fast and/or racing, showing lack of care for anyone or the safety of his vehicle, another drives without licence or insurance and seems to have a personality problem. Jail time, yes, but driving bans do not work when the subject of the ban simply ignores it and carries on endangering others anyway. Perhaps some of the many cameras which we see about could be looking for these people, checking number plates and so on, in an effort to keep banned drivers off the road? In the end, if there is no respect for the law, then the problem is what to do about it?

Doc

posted by doc [167 posts]
6th February 2013 - 14:42

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Just a sick joke

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
6th February 2013 - 16:41

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Perhaps if there was a link between the ownerships of cars and the keeper or the keeper's appointed driver having a valid driving licence?

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [468 posts]
6th February 2013 - 22:50

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Lifetime ban. Clearly not a proper person to be given control of a potentially lethal vehicle. Probably needs to be tagged as well to make sure he doesn't drive while disqualified again.

posted by arowland [79 posts]
6th June 2013 - 14:06

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