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Driver involved in incident in York pleaded guilty to dangerous driving

A motorist who used his car “as a weapon” as he aimed it at a cyclist then drove off after knocking the rider off his bike has received a 12-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to dangerous driving.

The case, heard at York Crown Court, is one of a number in recent years in which motorists have been accused of using their vehicle as a weapon against more vulnerable road users.

Many cyclists will feel that the potential harm to the victim is not reflected in the charges brought by prosecutors, or the sentence imposed where the driver is found guilty.

The investigation, prosecution and review of cases where the victim is a vulnerable road user will be subject to a review in the new year, confirmed by the government last month in its response to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group’s Get Britain Cycling report.

In the latest incident, prior to cyclist William Mak being struck by David Glen Atkin’s Nissan Micra, the motorist had undertaken a group of riders on the city’s Micklegate and cut across them, meaning they needed to brake sharply to avoid hitting his vehicle and crashing into each other, reports York Press.

Prosecuting counsel Helen Wheatley told the court that Atkin, aged 29, who had a previous conviction for careless driving and failure to stop after an accident, then stopped his vehicle inside an Advanced Stop Line at the junction of Micklegate and Rougier Street.

Mr Mak subsequently had a "heated argument" with Atkin when they halted at a red light at the junction of Micklegate and North Street.

The court heard that Mr Mak placed his arm inside Atkin’s car and, as he took it out, unintentionally made contact with a ten-year-old girl occupying the front passenger seat.

As the cyclist began riding off when the lights changed to green, Atkin moved left, knocking him off his bike, which was written off, and leaving him without full use of his hands for a number of days. Atkin then drove away.

Jeremy Durston, acting for Atkin, told the court: “He quite candidly accepts he lost his temper and in that momentary flash of temper he drove in the way he did. He is remorseful for what he has done.”

However, Recorder Tahir Khan QC told the accused: “If you commit offences such as this using your vehicle effectively as a weapon and cause someone to be knocked off their bicycle, it has got to be prison.”

Sentencing Atkin, the judge told him that he had suspended the 12-month prison sentence due to the defendant’s guilty plea, also imposing the condition that he be subject to supervision for 12 months, undertake 200 hours of unpaid work, and participate in a ten-session course designed to prevent repeat offending.

Atkin also received a one-year ban from driving and has been told to retake his driving test, and was ordered to pay the cyclist £300 in compensation.

In June this year, Alistair Burnell was given a three-month suspended sentence by Hull Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to attempted grevious bodily injury following a road rage incident in which he deliberately aimed his camper van at cyclist Alan Smith.

The judge in that case, Michael Mettyear, told the motorist: "You could have killed him and you would have been be going to prison for a some time.

"It was more through luck than judgment that he was not injured more seriously.”

In 2010, a Coventry motorist was convicted of murder at Warwick Crown Court after killing a cyclist he deliberately rammed with his vehicle. He had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The driver, Sean Fitzgerald, who was aged 36 at the time, chased after 42-year-old cyclist Paul Webb who had clipped his vehicle’s wing mirror.

Following sentencing, Detective Inspector Wendy Bailey, of West Midlands Police, commented: “Sean Fitzgerald was an arrogant man who persisted in trying to make it look like this was an accident.

“At no time during the proceedings did he show the slightest remorse for Mr Webb. He is now in his rightful place which in prison.”

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.

24 comments

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sue perb [2 posts] 2 years ago
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 22 A very sad day

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stefv [211 posts] 2 years ago
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Ugh. Just read this story (http://www.roadjustice.org.uk/case-study/dr-helen-measures-cleared-killi...) before seeing this one.
 2

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qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Compare this to the two stories I know of where the victims were police officers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-22845062
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/28/riots-second-man-attempted-mur...

..both times treated as attempted murder.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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There was a recent case in Manchester where someone drove a car at a group lads walking across the road after an "altercation".

Driver found guilty of 4 counts of attempted murder.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/vide...

It really does seem that once someone throws a leg over a bike, you can do whatever the fuck you want to them without fear of the law.

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badkneestom [135 posts] 2 years ago
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10 year old girl. This changes EVERYTHING about how the case was handled, and therefore shouldn't be seen as a standard.
I guarantee that it was a major part of the decision.

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Chuck [550 posts] 2 years ago
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The fact that he will be allowed to drive again is astonishing. Just reinforces the idea that it's a right rather than a privilege.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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What is a Nissan Micra????

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joebee9870 [73 posts] 2 years ago
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Ive heard that the government are going to have a special "kill a cyclist" day when motorist can simply run over a cyclist and drive off freely.  39

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Carl [137 posts] 2 years ago
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"Recorder Tahir Khan QC told the accused: “If you commit offences such as this using your vehicle effectively as a weapon and cause someone to be knocked off their bicycle, it has got to be prison.”"

Totally agree. And cyclists should get the same protection as police officers when some psycho tries to injure them with a 1-tonne vehicle.

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Carl [137 posts] 2 years ago
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Happens most weeks in the UK.

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ascotrider [2 posts] 2 years ago
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Clearly if you want to murder someone, get them on a bike and run them over. Job done, although maybe a few points on your licence if the judge is really hard on you.

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ascotrider [2 posts] 2 years ago
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Kill a cyclist day? Isn't that every day?

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eurotrash [88 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah got to say I think the fact that he cyclist reached into the car (no doubt to either hit the guy or something similar) does sort of suggest the driver was very much aggravated (even if he started it by being a cunt). And that he managed to somehow touch the guy's daughter, you can understand he might be fuming at the cyclist.

Still should have got jail for what he did though. If he'd picked up a gun and shot the guy, he may have been aggravated but he still chose to use a weapon to injure. Same with the car. Sentencing review can't come soon enough. Except nothing will likely change.

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zeb [49 posts] 2 years ago
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Atkin, aged 29, who had a previous conviction for careless driving and failure to stop after an accident

Everything is fine then.

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teaboy [311 posts] 2 years ago
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It genuinely feels like the only thing that might bring any change is for a politician's child to be killed when riding. As and when this happens I'll be writing to them to ensure the driver receives 3 points and 120 hour's community service...

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P3t3 [270 posts] 2 years ago
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I really really hope that the "course" this guy will be attending will help him learn to control his temper, 29 is old enough to have a hold of yourself to avoid this kind of thing. This guy deserves the threat of prison, but butter still he should be taught to behave and control his temper.

I'm not saying that its right to run cyclists off the road but I do think there is an element of aggravation in a lot of these cases. If I have a driver make a thoughtless or stupid manoeuvre near me on the bike then I've learnt to ignore it and keep pedalling. There is no positive outcome from engaging in arguments with motorists and as I've got older I have begun to fear escalation of this kind. I behave as I would in the car - and I don't chase down stupid drivers and shout at them when I'm in my car. You just don't know who you are dealing with. And yes - I do understand the distinction in consequences between when you are on a bike and in a car.

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P3t3 [270 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

"It genuinely feels like the only thing that might bring any change is for a politician's child to be killed when riding."

You have hit the nail on the head here - we should be campaigning along the lines of "stop the murder". The "Stop the Child Murder" campaign in the Netherlands made people realise what the roads were doing to their children. We have the same problem here but nobody campaigns on that point at the moment.

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AndrewRH [56 posts] 2 years ago
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Get rid of the conflict in the first place: Governments must create 'space for cycling'.

We all need to write to our MPs and local highway authorities to ask when they will act on the recommendations in the 'Get Britain Cycling' inquiry report.

Great to see Wales taking the lead on it with their new Active Travel Act (2013).

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Sedgepeat [93 posts] 2 years ago
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I do keep advising cyclists not to accost or confront drivers and especially 'enter' their car. They usually believe they've done nothing wrong and their car is sacrosanct.

You are only skin and bone and St Peter will welcome you through his pearly gates cos right was on your side all the time. Think about it.  17

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hairyairey [300 posts] 2 years ago
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Unfortunately our prisons are pretty much full - in my view too many people are in prison for civil debt or TV license evasion (I'm not saying you shouldn't buy a license - prison seems to me to be over the top for not having one).

This case http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1269563/Road-rage-motorist-kille... still disgusts me, not just because I cycle the streets of Coventry from time to time. I have to say though that I find the drivers in Coventry and Warwickshire usually very considerate to cyclists.

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hairyairey [300 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry used wrong link there - the link from this site is much better http://road.cc/content/news/17331-road-rage-driver-gets-life-murdering-c...

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comm88 [76 posts] 2 years ago
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As a rider, I have no wish to be provocative, but what - seriously - can we, as cyclists do????

The geezer who recently rammed the guys crossing the road in Madchester is a persistent offender - never taken a test, never had a licence, has no insurance and has already been banned from driving ... but still he continues to drive and threaten lives. And no law or punishment will ever stop him. He's a complete twat, pure and simple.

Dya think any of these matey boys will give a tuppenny toss what the law does to them or how it punishes them? They'll still drive like the b'stards they are and they will still look to hurt and harm anyone and everyone who gets in their way - they know the law is a fkn pussy when it comes to cyclists!!!

We cannot ever win - and they don't care. You can't talk sense to someone who doesn't understand what sense is. They don't and won't ever buy into your belief system.

The best you can do is avoid unnecessary confrontation - always. It's not cowardice - it's sound sense! Get number plates and witnesses in the event of an incident and pray like fk that you're not killed!!!!

To change, these loonies have got to want to change and see the need to change. As the law stands - they don't and therefore have no need to. Nor will they. Ever. The roads ain't safe because the law ain't looking after us. It never has...

Ride hard. Ride safe. But ride sensible.  3 After all, it's your life they're after ...

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skippy [409 posts] 2 years ago
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Bunch of Links here , that show how bad , riding a bike can be in the UK !

My latest in skippi-cyclist.blogspot.com shows that it doesn't relate to just the UK !

Still waiting to talk to the prat's employer , but then nobody buys from him anyway !

Regardind Amy D. , a profi , killed this week whilst training , there is a link :

https://www.facebook.com/amydmemorial?ref=notif&notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite

With @Gaudryt , CEO of the Amy Gillett Foundation , now VP_Cycling at UCI , i feel sure that UCI could coordinate a WORLDWIDE Code of Conduct for RACERS as well as Cyclists , where they " salute " drivers giving 1 !/2M sfe passing using indicator signals !

by UCI asking ALL Nat. Feds. to write to Bus & Transport Cos and demanding ALL Tour Organisation Accredited Vehicles wear a Decal " 1 1/2M safe passing " , drivers would quickly become aware ?

Tried to attach a photo of the 1 1/2m sign , someone advise SVP 1

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K Stand Ken [59 posts] 2 years ago
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joebee9870 wrote:

Ive heard that the government are going to have a special "kill a cyclist" day when motorist can simply run over a cyclist and drive off freely.  39

You forgot to mention they can then collect "points" for every KSI. When they get to 12 points they win an award - I suggest it be called a Clarkson.
I've said it before and I'll continue to say it: There should be a cyclists militia who will wreak vengeance on those who hold the lives and limbs of cyclists in such low regard.
My cycling club was formed over 130 years ago; YEARS before any cars were on the road. We are ENTITLED as citizens to the full protection of the law.