The father of the cyclist killed by teenager driver Katie Hart – convicted this week – has called for better awareness of riders on the road.
Major Gareth Rhys-Evans, 37, was killed near Eaton Ford, Cambridgeshire, as he took part in a 25-mile time trial. Hart, 19, claimed not to have seen her victim but was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.
Major Rhys-Evans's father, Glyn Rhys-Evans, wrote to the Cambridge News after the verdict to welcome the verdict and thank local police for their efforts.
He said it is “a matter of considerable importance” that the climate of cycling should be positive and supportive. There is still “a huge amount of opposition” towards cyclists in the UK, he said, adding that their presence on the roads is frequently seen as an obstacle and a nuisance to other road users.
Mr Rhys-Evans wrote: “This is a situation which is rapidly becoming intolerable, and a change in this prevailing climate of antipathy must be made, by encouragement where possible but punishment when necessary.
“It may well be that my son’s case becomes a landmark along the path towards greater recognition being given towards cyclists in this country, and that the procedures followed by the Cambridgeshire police and the CPS in successfully bringing his case to court be held up as an example of good practice for other police forces to follow. If so, then Gareth’s death may prove not to have been in vain.”
Sally Guyer, press and publicity officer at Cambridge Cycling Campaign, said the campaign endorsed Mr Rhys-Evans’ comments.
She said: “We would like to see all roads users being trained and being made aware of and more considerate to other road users, for example, driving tests could require drivers to spend a day cycling in traffic as part of the test process. Many people on bikes are motorists who choose to cycle both as a sport and as their preferred method of transport.
“Personally, I know that I am a better motorist because I cycle and a better cyclist because I drive. In Holland and Denmark many people are motorists who cycle and we need to go down that route in the UK, both for sports cyclists and commuter cyclists, in order to make our roads safer for all.”
Judge Nicholas Coleman banned Hart from driving and granted her bail on condition she lives at her home until she is sentenced at Huntingdon Crown Court during the week beginning February 15.