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89 year old driver receives community sentence for his part in death of cycling father

Poor judgement by older driver causes another 'speeding' car to plough into cyclist...

An 89 year old driver has been sentenced for his mistakes that led to the death of a young father on his bike.

Second World War veteran Richard Lyon received a community order and curfew for killing Frodsham cyclist Michael Davies on Friday, June 12, last year.

Mr Davies, 33, was cycling home at 4.10pm when Mr Lyon pulled out in front of him. He admitted that he looked left and right and saw the bicycle, but told the court that he misjudged the manoeuvre - and in particular the speed at which another car heading the other way was travelling.

As a result it swerved into the path of Mr Davies.

The other vehicle – a Ford Mondeo driven by motorist Teresa Nickson – was said to be travelling at an estimated 41-44mph, on a 30 mph road.

However, Rob Jones, prosecuting, said: “It doesn’t matter because the fault lies with Mr Lyon emerging from the junction.”

Lyon pleaded guilty to causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, and his lawyer suggested mitigating factors such as the speed of the Mondeo and his own remorse, lack of intent to cause harm and previously clean record.

Prosecutor Mr Jones and defence counsel Andrew Nuttall agreed the offence was in the lowest classification of culpability, Category 3, for which the potential sentencing range allowed for a community order or less.

Mr Nuttall added that Lyon had handed in his licence at the first opportunity after the collision and said he would never drive again, according to the Chester Chronicle.

Judge Nicholas Woodward imposed a community order and 8pm-8am curfew on Lyon and disqualified him from driving for 18 months.

Mr Woodward said: “Richard Lyon, on the afternoon of June 12 you stopped at Balmoral Road and according to your basis of plea, which has been accepted by the crown, you look to your left and to your right, you intended to turn right.

“You did see Mr Davies, who was to your left, and you saw the car driven by Mrs Nickson to your right but you took the view that you had sufficient time to pull out to make your right turn.

“You misjudged the speed of Mrs Nickson’s motor car and the collision occurred and that led to the awful death of Mr Davies.”

Earlier this year we reported how a sheriff ruled that stricter checks on elderly motorists would not have prevented the death of a cyclist knocked down by a 93-year-old woman.

Alice Ross suffered a suspected blackout while at the wheel in 2011, killing 30-year-old Elaine Dunne. Following a fatal accident inquiry (FAI), Sheriff Andrew Berry said a stricter licensing regime would not have prevented Dunne’s death.

Elaine and Christopher Dunne were standing with their bikes while on a cycling holiday in Scotland, celebrating their wedding anniversary, when they were hit by Ross’s car. While Christopher was injured, Elaine was killed. Charges of causing death by dangerous driving were dropped after prosecutors accepted Ross’s defence that her blackouts were due to an underlying medical condition.

Last year, in submitting evidence to the FAI at Wick Sheriff Court, procurator-fiscal Alasdair MacDonald said that people in their 80s and beyond should have to undergo regular check-ups on their health.

MacDonald believes that older drivers should be required to renew their driving licence every two years and produce a statement corroborated by a suitably responsible person certifying the person’s fitness to drive.

However, Sheriff Berry concluded that there was nothing to indicate Ross should not have been driving at the time. Her medical notes had reported "dizziness" and "consciousness disturbance" in 1955 and 1981, but nothing from then up to the time of the crash in September 2011.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

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