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.

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.