Sergeant should have seen cyclist, says judge

A police sergeant was yesterday found guilty at Fenland Magistrates Court in Wisbech of knocking a cyclist off her bike in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire, with his victim requiring six stitches to a cut above her left eye, leaving her with a scar.

According to a report in The Cambs Times, Sergeant Robert Norman had claimed that he had been unable to see Post Office employee Jane Gill before the collision last December because a pillar in his Ford Connect van had obstructed his view as he executed a right turn.

It was a classic “SMIDSY” (“Sorry mate I didn’t see you”) type excuse, currently the subject of a campaign by the cycling organisation, CTC, as previously reported on road.cc.

Saying “I don't think I could have done any more," Sergeant Norman conceded that “my view was obscured because of the front door pillar and mirror and the strip between the quarter light and the side window. As I moved across I was aware of the collision with Mrs Gill, she appeared on the bonnet in front of me. I had not seen her prior to impact.”

But his excuse didn’t wash with the court, District Judge Ken Sheraton saying "even if that was the case, he should have been aware of any obstruction to his view and should have taken the time to accommodate any obstruction."

Mrs Gill – who had been knocked off her bike in the same place six months previously – told the court that prior to the incident, a black car had pulled out. She said "I was then aware of aware of a white wing in front of me. I let out a rude word and was then picking myself up. I don't remember the collision at all."

The court found Sergeant Norman guilty of driving without due care and attention and endorsed his driving licence with five penalty points and fined him £300 plus £200 costs and a £15 surcharge.

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.