A lorry driver who failed to indicate or look in his mirrors while turning left has been found guilty of causing the death by careless driving of a cyclist in Nottingham.
The jury returned its verdict on the same day the Department for Transport launched a road safety campaign telling cyclists to “Hang Back” from lorries, leading to accusations of “victim blaming.”
Louise Wright, aged 29, was killed when she was dragged under the wheels of a Greene King delivery lorry driven by Adam Haywood, aged 31, on Lower Parliament Street on 3 July 2014, reports the Derby Telegraph.
Haywood, who pleaded not guilty, insisted he had checked his mirrors but could not recall having seen the cyclist nor whether he had indicated as he waited for the traffic lights to change, although he told the trial at Derby Crown Court that “there is no reason” he would not have done so.
Speaking about the collision, he said: "When I first turned it didn't feel right and I thought it might have fallen out of gear – I felt a bit of a shunt.
“I checked my gearbox and realised it wasn't that, so I thought I could have clipped the traffic light or the kerb or another car from the back end if it had kicked out.
"I heard some car horns and some shouting so I was looking around in my mirrors and saw her under the back wheels.
“I jumped out of the cab and ran around to the back. I saw her and ran to get the phone and called an ambulance. I didn't know what else to do."
After Haywood was convicted by a majority verdict, Judge Jonathan Bennett handed him an eight-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and banned him from driving for two years.
He also ordered Haywood to pay £1,500 costs and to perform 150 hours of unpaid work.
The judge said: “You are going to live with this for years to come and others will live with it for even longer than that.
"You did not, that day, I accept, expect this to happen, you set off to do a day's work, you were doing what you enjoyed doing, but you were careless that day."
Following the trial, Miss Wright’s mother, Sharon Brown, said: "I feel that the right verdict has been made, we did not want to see the driver sent to prison. When something as tragic as this happens, there are no winners."
Earlier, in a victim impact statement read out to the court, she described how her daughter had told her she was planning a family, and told the court she is “heartbroken” that will never happen.
Miss Wright’s partner James Faulkner told the court that the couple had been together since they were both aged 14.
"I have lost everything, my life has been completely reset and I have no idea how to start again without Louise,” he said.
"She was unique, she was so very special. She was always there to support me physically and emotionally and now I go home to an empty house every night.
"Most days it is a challenge just to get out of bed," he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.