Mother of rider killed by motorist who received one-year ban says penalties should be stiffer

The mother of a cyclist killed when a motorist struck him from behind has said that people convicted of careless driving should be required to retake their driving test before getting their licence back.

Deborah Lumley-Holmes, aged 53, drove into the back of 51-year-old Julian Evans on Newmarket Road, Risby, on October 7, 2012. He suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital the following day at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.

As we reported Lumley-Holmes, who pleaded guilty at her trial to causing Mr Evans’ death through dangerous driving, was handed a six-month suspended sentence and banned from driving for a year.

But the victim’s mother, Janet Evans, insists that motorists convicted in such cases should have to sit their test again and that bans should be longer.

She told ITV Anglia News: “I think it should be mandatory that she should re-take the driving test and I think the ban should be longer than a mere 12 months."

Mrs Evans added that the family was considering launching a campaign to call for longer bans.

When the sentence was handed down, national cyclists’ organisation CTC, which is running a Road Justice campaign calling for stricter penalties for drivers convicted in cases where a cyclist is the victim, said that a longer ban should have been imposed.

The organisation’s Rhia Weston commented: "Again we see far more emphasis in court on the impact of a fatal collision on the perpetrator of the collision than on the victims (i.e. the bereaved’s family).

"It doesn’t matter how charitable a person is, this does not affect their form of driving, therefore, although a suspended sentence is appropriate in this case, it should have been accompanied by a much longer driving ban and possibly a re-test."

Currently, motorists banned from driving for 56 days or more have to reapply for their driving licence once the ban ends. Some may be required to retake their driving test or undergo an extended test, at the discretion of the court at which they were convicted.

In an email sent to road.cc following our report of sentencing in the case, Mr Evans sister-in-law, Lorraine Bird, said: “To me it seems like simple common-sense that if you are involved in a driving accident that involves killing a person, Immediately after you should be assessed as to whether you should be allowed back on to the road and it should be made mandatory that you should have a test to see that you are fit to drive after a ban involving a fatal accident like this.”

Road safety charity Brake advocates lifetime bans from driving for motorists who have killed.

In 2012, a Brake spokesman said: “Driving is a privilege which these people have abused with devastating consequences and the fact that so many continue to drive is a source of emotional turmoil for many bereaved families across the UK.”

“Brake has long campaigned for lifetime bans for drivers whose bad driving has killed, to help bring justice to families and communities who lost loved ones in such sudden and violent circumstances.”

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.