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Uninsured lorry driver pleads guilty to causing death of cyclist Alan Neve

Barry Meyer ran red light at Holborn, dragged rider along road

The lorry driver who killed cyclist Alan Neve in July 2013 has admitted causing death by careless driving and driving while uninsured and unlicensed.

Barry Meyer was driving a tipper truck through the complex junction at High Holborn, London on July 15 when he hit Alan Neve, dragging him along the road. Meyer admitted jumping a red light before hitting Mr Neve.

Alan Neve sustained "massive head injuries" and died instantly at the scene on 15 July 2013, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

Meyer was charged with “causing death by driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence,” meaning that he did not have a valid licence for the class of lorry he was driving at the time, and with causing death while driving with no insurance.

The court heard that Meyer was trying to keep up with a colleague in another truck when he hit Alan Neve. 

The Evening Standard reports that prosecutor Allison Hunter said: “Had Meyer reacted as a dynamic driver would have been expected to do, he could not fail to have seen Mr Neve.

“It appears clear from what Meyer said in an interview that his focus was upon keeping up with his partner in the vehicle in front.

“Not only had Meyer not turned his head or used his mirrors but he then failed to stop, as his front and rear wheels crushed Mr Neve beneath and dragged him along the road, to shrieks of pedestrians and other road users.”

She said his previous convictions, included two bans for drink-driving, showed a “cavalier lack of respect for driving law and regulations”.

Judge Worsley said Meyer had a “shocking driving history” and would inevitably be jailed on return to court on May 14.

Alan Neve worked for PRS for Music, the organisation that protects musician’s copyrights and collects performance fees, and was on his way the organisation’s office in Berners Street, near Goodge Street when he was killed.

In the weeks before Alan Neve's death, police were enforcing a ban on cyclists using the bus lane on nearby Theobalds Road. As a result cyclists had to use the Holborn junction, described by cycling journalist Andy Waterman as "hellish".

"Motorbikes buzz you, taxis rush red lights to get through and huge trucks obliterate the view," Waterman said.

Meyer's guilty plea came after his crminal history was allowed to be revealed to the court. That record includes:

December 1997: Convicted of drink-driving and disqualified for 18 months.
July 1998: Convicted of driving while disqualified.
December 2004: Convicted of driving a lorry with a dangerous load, and other charges.
May 2007: Convicted of drink-driving and disqualified for 36 months.
July 2007: Convicted of driving a van while disqualified. Given a further 12-month disqualification.
September 2008: Stopped driving a 7.5 tonne lorry while disqualified. Gave a false name. Banned for further 14 months.
Meyer also has previous convictions for assault, criminal damage and drug possession.

Cycling advocates expressed amazement that Meyer was charged with causing death by careless driving rather than the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

Causing death by dangerous driving carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment; the maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is five years.

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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