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Driver "blinded by sun" found not guilty in cyclist death

73-year-old died after being hit in January 2014

A driver who hit and killed a 73-year-old cyclist has walked free from Ipswich Crown Court after being found not guilty of causing death by careless driving.

Retired planning officer Colin Crowther was hit by the car being driven by 29-year-old Sam Burrows on January 16, 2014. Mr Crowther hit the car's kerbside windscreen, rolled over the car and landed on the ground.

Mr Burrows said he had been blinded by the sun "without warning" and then heard a bang as his car hit Mr Crowther.

He denied causing death by careless driving and was unanimously found not guilty by a jury after a three-day trial.

The Ipswich Star's Jane Hunt reports that Burrows said he had been on his way to work at around 2.30pm. As he turned on to the Old London Road he lowered his sun visor as a precaution because he could see the sun ahead of him.

He had slowed down by taking his foot of the accelerator and put it over the brake pedal as a precaution in case he needed to brake.

“All of a sudden without warning I was blinded by the sun. It was a mixture of glare coming off the road and my bonnet,” said Burrows.

He said he had squinted and within one or two seconds he heard a bang.

Asked by his barrister Stephen Rose if there was anything he could have done to have avoided the collision Burrows said: “I’m really sorry about the outcome, but I 
honestly don’t think there was anything I could have done to avoid it.”

Colin Crowther, described as a keen cyclist, was riding a lightweight road bike and wearing a fluorescent yellow gilet and a helmet.

After being hit, he was taken to hospital but died later that night.

Paying tribute to Mr Crowther, his family said: “Colin was a quiet private man, however his kind, thoughtful and considerate presence was welcomed by neighbours, former work colleagues together with his family and friends.

“His sudden absence from the community will be sorely felt, particularly by his two granddaughters who idolised their ‘Grandpop’.”

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.

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