A motorist who hit a cyclist who had ridden through a red traffic light, with the rider later falsely claiming it had been green, has pleaded guilty in court for failing to report the collision to police – although he said he had stopped to check on the rider’s condition and was assured he was fine.
Troy West, aged 52 and unemployed, appeared in Burnley Magistrates’ Court last week in connection with the incident on North Valley Road in Colne between 10.00pm and 10.30pm on 11 August this year, reports Pendle Today.
Representing himself, he said that he saw someone on a bike and with no lights “flying down” the road and through a red light, while he passed through the junction on green in his Citroen Berlingo van.
West, who admitted the offence, told the court: “I got out and asked him if he was alright. He said ‘Yes. Very sorry, it was my fault’.
“I said ‘I think you need to go to hospital’. He said ‘I don’t want an ambulance. I don’t want the police. It’s all my fault’. I just got in my van and drove off. He assured me he was fine.”
It later transpired that the cyclist had sustained a broken collarbone in the crash, and he gave a statement to police in which he said the light had been green when he rode through it.
However, CCTV footage and evidence from a witness to the collision showed that the cyclist’s version of events was untrue.
Prosecutor Alex Mann expressed sympathy for West, saying it was “a bit of a shame” that he was in court.
She said: “He says ‘I cycled through a green light and the van hit me’. That wasn’t what happened. He cycled through a red light and was hit.”
Mrs Mann suggested that the rider reported the incident to police after discovering he had broken his collarbone because he was looking to be compensated for his injury.
The defendant, from Nelson, was given a six-month conditional discharge by Deputy District Judge Joanne Hurst and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge. He also received five penalty points.
The judge told West, who last month was banned for driving for a year for totting up of points, “You did almost everything that was required of you. You just didn’t report it to the police.”
West told her: “I’m sorry, but I did try my best. I was concerned about his wellbeing.”
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, road traffic incidents involving damage or injury to a vehicle, other property, person or animal need to be reported to the police within 24 hours if details have not been exchanged at the scene with “anyone with reasonable grounds to be asking for those details,” such as another party involved.
Conviction carries a mandatory minimum five penalty points and a fine of up to £5,000 or even a jail term.
The fact the judge did not impose a fine in this case suggests she was sympathetic to the circumstances, but while the driver said the cyclist had told him he was okay, he still had a duty to report it to the police.
It was not reported whether any action will be taken against the cyclist due to falsely claiming in his police statement that the traffic light had been green when he rode through it.
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.