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Bunny-hop: SMIDSY driver fails to see six-foot rabbit

Pedicab written off as motorist fumbles for phone

We’re all aware of the SMIDSY excuse – “sorry mate, I didn’t see you” – currently the subject of a high profile campaign by UK cyclists’ organisation the CTC, but a court case in the US in which a driver failed to spot a six-foot tall orange rabbit raises it to new levels.

The rabbit in question – well, the person inside the rabbit outfit – was pedicab driver Kate Altermatt, who had donned the costume to celebrate Easter, who was hit by driver Edward Cespedes-Rodriguez last April in Portland, Oregon in an accident that wrote off her vehicle.

The driver’s excuse as to why he didn’t see her? Well, he was fumbling around looking for his mobile phone, so it’s puzzling why the court in Oregon that found him guilty of a hit and run offence for failing to stop at the scene of an accident absolved him from the charge of recklessly endangering another person.

Portland’s road users, rabbits or otherwise, will doubtless be hopping – sorry, hoping – that Cespedes-Rodriguez will be more vigilant in future, and if the 34-year-old has any friends with a sense of humour, they could always get him a Donnie Darko DVD or Bugs Bunny t-shirt for Christmas to remind him.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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