A lorry driver who tailgated a 74-year-old cyclist before getting out of his cab and pushing him off has been jailed for a year. Peterborough Crown Court heard that 66-year-old Richard Payne had accused the cyclist of making an offensive gesture as he overtook, but the judge said there was no suggestion of any improper action by the cyclist.
The Peterborough Telegraph reports that on June 27 at about 5pm, the victim was cycling along Station Road in March when Payne, driving a large HGV with trailer, approached from behind.
Charles Snelling, prosecuting, said: “The victim had mirrors on his bike, and could see how close the lorry was behind him, and that the lorry was trying to get past. The cyclist pulled over at a junction on Elm Road and waved the lorry past.”
At this point Payne pulled in front of the cyclist, causing him to stop. He got out of his cab, walked over to the victim and accused him of making an offensive gesture. He then pushed him over, using both hands, before walking away and driving off.
The incident was witnessed by another motorist, who had also been tailgated by Payne that day.
Snelling said that after being pushed over, the cyclist was still straddling the bike and could not get up because of the pain in his left leg. It was later discovered that he had suffered a broken femur which required surgery to fix. He now has a pin in the leg, which will remain in place permanently.
The victim also had an underlying heart condition and spent time in the critical care unit in hospital due to concerns over his heart rate.
David Corbino, defending, said Payne had no previous convictions recorded against him, and had pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm at an early opportunity.
Judge Sean Enright told Payne: “Every road user is entitled to use the road way – it is not confined to those with an engine. Horse and bike riders have equal entitlement.”
“It can be very intimidating for riders to be tailgated in this way and to be overtaken at speed,” he said. “A cyclist has no way out when a motorist pulls over and starts an altercation.”
In passing the sentence, he said: “This is a course of action I consider to be on the short side.”
As well as the jail term, Payne was also ordered to pay a £900 criminal courts charge and a £100 victim surcharge.