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Irish man cops fine for careless driving around off-duty police

Careful who you honk and swear at around Cork

Don’t honk, shout and swear at cyclists, and drive carelessly around them: they might be off-duty policemen. That’s the message an Irish driver will be taking home — along with a €300 fine — after he was found guilty of careless driving by Cork District Court yesterday.

According to  Liam Heylin of the Irish Examiner, the court heard that sergeant Ger O’Callaghan and garda Michael Collins were out for a ride when James O’Shea drove up behind them. Sgt O’Callaghan told the court that O’Shea had sounded his horn at the two cyclists, shouted that "fucking cyclists were taking over the road", threatened to run them over next time and gave them the finger as he drove away.

“I had my right hand extended to turn right,” Sgt O’Callaghan said. “Just before the junction I heard the car. He shouted out the window to us: ‘Ye fucking cyclists all over the road.’ I heard Garda Collins saying: ‘Can you not see we are turning right?’ ”

O’Shea denied Sgt O’Callaghan’s account. He told the court: “I disagree with everything he said. The only thing the guard said that is true is the location.”

The incident happened after 6pm on July 3, 2013 at Doughcloyne Hill, which extends out from Togher Rd in Cork City

The 33-year-old claimed he knew the road well and that he drove behind the two cyclists, who were chattig and riding two abreast, for a while before sounding his horn to let them know her was there. He said one of them leaned aggressively toward his window and he was afraid the rider was going to punch him.

“The last thing I would do is hit anyone with my car, I was driving at five miles per hour. I couldn’t have been any more careful,” he said.

Sgt O’Callaghan said the car touched his leg slightly as it over took them. Garda Collins corroborated his account.

Judge Olann Kelleher found O’Shea guilty of careless driving. He was fined €300.

John 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 founder 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. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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