A truck driver charged with causing death by dangerous driving for running over cyclist Stewart Gandy on November 12, 2013 has been found not guilty.
Paul Byrne had already entered a guilty plea on the lesser charge of causing death by careless driving after he hit Mr Gandy on the A530 near Nantwich, reports the Crewe Chronicle's Leanne Palin.
He told the court he had not realised he had hit Mr Gandy. He said he had stopped "by coincidence" just after the bridge where Mr Gandy's body was found to check a rattling noise he thought was a faulty headlight.
When initially questioned by police, Byrne resused to believe he had hit Mr Gandy, and only accepted what had happened when faced with DNA evidence from the front of his truck.
In a statement read to the court earlier in the two-week trial, Mr Gandy's family said he was a well respected member of the cycling community and was not "a risk taker on the roads".
Byrne was adamant he had not seen Mr Gandy as his truck crossed Baddington Lane bridge.
Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, said in his closing statement that Mr Byrne "should have had a clear view of up to 200 metres".
Williams said: “He should have seen him in plenty of time to stop. Instead he ploughed straight into him and killed him. Is this careless or just plain dangerous?”
Nicola Esterian Gatto, defending, told the court that environmental issues such as a low winter sun and hedgerow shadows "could have hindered [Byrne's] view" as he came round the bend.
In his summing up Judge Roger Dutton told the jury it was important to take time in considering all the facts in deciding whether or not Mr Byrne’s driving "fell far below the standard required of a competent driver" — the definition of dangerous driving.
The distinction between careless and dangerous driving is one of the targets of the CTC's Road Justice campaign. In its overview of traffic law and enforcement, the CTC says "reform is needed so that the legal system effectively prevents bad driving, stops dismissing ‘dangerous’ driving as merely ‘careless’".
Careless driving is defined as driving that "falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver".
The CTC adds: "Bad driving that causes obviously foreseeable danger should be classed as a ‘dangerous’ driving offence. It should not, as often happens, be dismissed merely as ‘careless’ driving.
"Prosecution guidelines need to reflect this in the first instance, but changes to the law itself may also be needed."
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.