A thief in Bristol who crashed into a female cyclist while attempting a getaway on a bike has pleaded guilty to the rarely-used charge of dangerous cycling. However, the defendant, who has a drugs problem, received no punishment for the offence, nor was he ordered to pay compensation to the victim despite her injuries.
Instead, Norman Watson, aged 30 and from St Pauls, Bristol, was jailed for four weeks after admitting three charges of theft of washing products worth a total of £145 from a Co-operative supermarket, reports The Bristol Post.
Dangerous cycling is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991, punishable by a fine of up to £2,500.
In a statement read out to Bristol Magistrates’ Court, student Sarah Slater described her recollection of the events hat led to her being knocked out and suffering facial injuries including a swollen cheek, a cut on the bridge of her nose and abrasions to her chin.
Miss Slater was riding along Sevier Street, St Pauls at 3.20pm on 18 March this year when she noticed a cyclist heading towards her, being pursued by a police car with flashing lights, according to her statement which was read out by prosecuting counsel Nick Evans.
"He was cycling towards me on my side of the road,” explained Miss Slater. “By this time I had positioned myself in the centre of the road with the intention to turn right at the mini roundabout.
"To my left there was another cyclist. He [Watson] tried to cycle between that cyclist and me – there was about 2ft between us. He seemed to be cycling in a desperate way – very fast.
"He cycled straight into me at speed. The next thing I know is that I have gone over my handlebars and hit the road surface. After that the next thing I remember is coming round in hospital."
Judy Hampton, speaking in defence of Watson, said that her client had stolen the goods as a result of his long-term drug problem.
"In respect of the dangerous-cycling charge, he very much regrets the incident and feels extremely bad about it,” she added.
“He told police in interview that it was a genuine accident and asked officers to apologise to her on his behalf.
"The matter can only be dealt with by way of a fine and he is not in a position to pay."
Sentencing Watson, the magistrates said: "We are sending you to prison for a period of four weeks for each theft – to run concurrently. There is no separate penalty for the dangerous cycling and we do not order any compensation be paid."
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.