A van driver who laughed as he deliberately drove at a group of cyclists has been jailed for six months.
According to a report from the Daily Post, Joel Reece Morris drove his white Transit van on the wrong side of the road at the 20-rider group “for fun”, swerving back to his side of the road moments before a collision.
Many of the riders fell off their bikes as the group stopped, believing they were going to be hit.
Morris, 25, of Connah’s Quay, Flintshire, North Wales was jailed for six months. He was also banned from driving for six months and will have to take an extended driving test before being allowed to drive again.
The incident happened at 10.45am on Sunday November 17, 2013. The cyclists from Ellesmere Port were riding two abreast along the B5125 at Northop Hall, Flintshire.
Witnesses described Morris laughing as he drove at the group.
Afterwards he stopped and as riders approached him to get his registration number he reversed with his tyres screeching as his passenger gave them a V sign.
Morris had previously claimed he had swerved to avoid something in the road, and had not deliberately driven at the riders, but at Mold Crown Court on Wednesday he accepted the prosecution case in full.
David Mainstone, prosecuting, said that a female cyclist at the head of the group swerved to the left and told how she would have been hit if she had fallen to the right.
Morris had two previous convictions for drink driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
Jayne La Grua, mitigating, said Morris appreciated the seriousness of what he had done. He had sought the help of a driving instructor with his impulsive actions behind the wheel.
He was a cockler and the loss of his driving licence meant the loss of his job. “This was a phenomenally stupid and dangerous thing to do,” she said.
Judge Niclas Parry told Morris: “This was an inexplicable piece of dangerous driving. For some reason, known only to you, you decided to goad and, more seriously, intimidate a group of cyclists doing no more than what has become a very common, enjoyable and worthwhile past time of riding in a group on a Sunday morning.
“For fun, you deliberately drove at them to alarm them and to make them lose control. You drove intentionally at that group.”
Only the alertness of the cyclists prevented any major injuries, said the judge. The evasive action riders were forced to take resulted in some of them colliding with each other, with some falling off and sustaining minor injuries and damage to their bikes.
The judge mentioned recent incidents in which cyclists had been seriously injured or killed and said: “There is a duty on every motorist to respect the safety of cyclists.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.