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Police urge motorists to drive according to the conditions as two convicted of causing cyclist’s death

Drivers said they were blinded by the sun before crash that claimed Bob Llewellyn’s life on Anglesey

Police in North Wales have urged motorists to drive their vehicles according to the prevailing conditions and to take extra care around cyclists after two drivers were sentenced in connection with the death of a bike rider on Anglesey.

Robert Idris Llewellyn, known as Bob, lost his life following a collision involving two vehicles on the B5109 in Trefor near Bodedern on the morning of 5 April this year.

A keen cyclist, he had celebrated his 70th birthday – the last before his death – by riding up the Sa Calobra climb on Mallorca with his son, Owain.

The two drivers who pleaded guilty to causing his death through careless driving both claimed to have been temporarily blinded by the sun at the time of the fatal crash.

Both motorists, Tomos Rhys Wheldon Williams, aged 33 and from Holyhead and 63-year-old Kevin Graham Woods of Amlwch, were handed 12-month prison sentences, suspended for one year, 250 hours of community service and 16-month driving bans.

Each had previously pleaded not guilty to the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

Investigating officer, PC Arwyn Phillips of the North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit said: “The manner of driving of Williams and Woods has left a family without a beloved husband, father, grandfather and a friend to many, and our thoughts and sympathies very much remain with Mr Llewellyn’s family at this time.

“In this case both motorists were blinded by the sun for a significant amount of time so we would also like to emphasise that the sun can impact on visibility and motorists need to take appropriate action in either slowing down or if necessary, be able to stop within the distance that they can see to be clear.

“As cyclists become more prevalent on our roads, drivers need to be more aware of their responsibilities and take extra care,” he continued.

“Drivers need to look out for cyclists and ensure they give plenty of space when overtaking them, leaving as much room as you would give a car.

“If there isn’t sufficient space to pass drivers need to hold back until it is safe to move,” he added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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47 comments

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stevemaiden | 6 years ago
0 likes

So PC Arywn from the NW Roads Unit says 'drivers need to be more aware of their responsibilities and take extra care' - YES as vulnerable road users we are well aware of that but why would they?? When they are running late and come across a blind bend or sun shining in their eyes why would they bother to take more care?? If they kill a cyclists it's no big deal, a few months without a licence is hardly a deterrent so they will keep their foot on the accelerator and press on knowing all they need to say is 'it was an accident/didn't see them'. A lot of these most dangerous drivers hate cyclists as they get in their way so their conscience won't make them drive safer. So until the courts start seriously punishing these killers the deaths will continue. I now realise that if I'm killed by a driver who comes across a low sun (happens twice a day) I'll be dead, my families lives will be ruined and he/she be inconvienienced by having to get the train for a few months. But that needen't be the case because a serious deterent changes behaviour - that is proven. A low sun will always be an issue, but driver behaviour can be changed. 

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CGT | 6 years ago
5 likes

I had to pull over and stop driving the other day because of the sun. Had left my sunglasses at home. Waited for a cloud to cover the sun before I drove on.

Spent the time cleaning my windscreen.

Now have spare sunglasses stashed in the car.

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BehindTheBikesheds replied to CGT | 6 years ago
0 likes
CGT wrote:

I had to pull over and stop driving the other day because of the sun. Had left my sunglasses at home. Waited for a cloud to cover the sun before I drove on.

Spent the time cleaning my windscreen.

Now have spare sunglasses stashed in the car.

pah, you and your simplistic solution, it'll never catch on!

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cyclisto | 6 years ago
1 like

Automobile industry has made wonders in technology, but it is a huge shame that all the technology related to visibility (window defogging, wipers, sun blocking) must has stopped somewhere before WW2

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Peowpeowpeowlasers replied to cyclisto | 6 years ago
1 like
cyclisto wrote:

Automobile industry has made wonders in technology, but it is a huge shame that all the technology related to visibility (window defogging, wipers, sun blocking) must has stopped somewhere before WW2

Some situations are difficult to avoid.  Low sun and damp roads can be terrible to drive in.  You turn the sun visor down but that doesn't block the reflected light off the road.  You then have the sunlight illuminating the dashboard, which bounces off the inside of the windscreen and reduces contrast even further.  Then you have bushes and hedges to the side of the road creating a shaded area that's impossible to see into (which is why cyclists should always ride where the sun hits them).  The only solution to that is to drive extremely slowly, but as we've seen, people won't do it.

Self-driving cars won't suffer these problems anywhere near as badly.

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oldstrath replied to Peowpeowpeowlasers | 6 years ago
0 likes
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:
cyclisto wrote:

Automobile industry has made wonders in technology, but it is a huge shame that all the technology related to visibility (window defogging, wipers, sun blocking) must has stopped somewhere before WW2

Some situations are difficult to avoid.  Low sun and damp roads can be terrible to drive in.  You turn the sun visor down but that doesn't block the reflected light off the road.  You then have the sunlight illuminating the dashboard, which bounces off the inside of the windscreen and reduces contrast even further.  Then you have bushes and hedges to the side of the road creating a shaded area that's impossible to see into (which is why cyclists should always ride where the sun hits them).  The only solution to that is to drive extremely slowly, but as we've seen, people won't do it.

Self-driving cars won't suffer these problems anywhere near as badly.

Actually it's terribly easy to avoid any of these problems. The method is simply to stop and wait.  But of course this delays the vital journey, and so won't be done.

Whether autonomous cars avoid these issues depends, I suppose, on the technology used. But whatever it us, they surely won't try too hard to avoid problems unless strong regulation requires it of them. So that's us fucked.

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Natrix replied to Peowpeowpeowlasers | 6 years ago
1 like
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

Some situations are difficult to avoid.  Low sun and damp roads can be terrible to drive in.  You turn the sun visor down but that doesn't block the reflected light off the road.  You then have the sunlight illuminating the dashboard, which bounces off the inside of the windscreen and reduces contrast even further.  Then you have bushes and hedges to the side of the road creating a shaded area that's impossible to see into (which is why cyclists should always ride where the sun hits them).  The only solution to that is to drive extremely slowly, but as we've seen, people won't do it.

I find that putting on a pair of sunglasses helps a lot. I've driven low slung sports cars, motorbikes, cars, vans, etc all over the UK and Europe and I've never been 'blinded' by the sun. 

If these people can't drive safely then they should not be allowed back on the roads..............

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kil0ran replied to Natrix | 6 years ago
2 likes
Natrix wrote:
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

Some situations are difficult to avoid.  Low sun and damp roads can be terrible to drive in.  You turn the sun visor down but that doesn't block the reflected light off the road.  You then have the sunlight illuminating the dashboard, which bounces off the inside of the windscreen and reduces contrast even further.  Then you have bushes and hedges to the side of the road creating a shaded area that's impossible to see into (which is why cyclists should always ride where the sun hits them).  The only solution to that is to drive extremely slowly, but as we've seen, people won't do it.

I find that putting on a pair of sunglasses helps a lot. I've driven low slung sports cars, motorbikes, cars, vans, etc all over the UK and Europe and I've never been 'blinded' by the sun. 

If these people can't drive safely then they should not be allowed back on the roads..............

But then you have the issue of driving in conditions with rapidly changing contrast - e.g. going from light to dark under trees where you get a strobing effect. Suddenly you're in deep shade with sunglasses on and you can see half of bugger all. Made worse by the huge dashes and shallow sloping windscreens in modern cars (and climate control which tends to dump all sorts of crap on the inside of the windscreen - much more so than when you had to sponge the screen every morning in better ventilated cars).

All this contributes to the issue, and the solution is for drivers to slow down

Killer of a colleague of mine was acquitted using the low winter sun defence (6 years ago this coming week if memory serves) so seeing it actually failing for once is progress. Driving bans should be 5 years minimum with a long custodial if they're caught driving whilst banned.

 

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jaysa replied to Peowpeowpeowlasers | 6 years ago
0 likes
Peowpeowpeowlasers wrote:

... You then have the sunlight illuminating the dashboard, which bounces off the inside of the windscreen and reduces contrast even further.  Then you have bushes and hedges to the side of the road creating a shaded area that's impossible to see into (which is why cyclists should always ride where the sun hits them) ...

So true ... was driving up a steep twisty hill with patches of tree cover and was shaken to see at the last minute a cyclist riding slowly on a black bike wearing black clothes and no lights.

Any or all of hi-viz, fluo and flashy rear lights would have really helped. Fortunately the road was steep, so I was going slowly. My screen was proper clean inside and out too.

I always ride with a bright top and helmet and use front and rear lights for this reason.

(He was also black, so even his arms and legs weren't visible in the deep shade.)

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JonD | 6 years ago
1 like

yhere's a massive difference between low sun through a clean windscreen, and a dirty one.

And I don't mean the front - its the back/interior side which many drivers ignore, which is the problem. Do the police ever check this ? - anyone know ?

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BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago
6 likes

Until we have incidents like this taken as dangerous driving at the very least (again Charlie Alliston manslaughter charge!) and the decisions taken out of the hands of motorbias jurists we will never see justice nor indeed will the 'justice system offer any protection to the vulnerable.

If an act which kills or maims is not deemed to be criminally dangerous then if I 'accidentally' smash your skull in with a sledgehammer I happen to be waving about whilst walking on the pavement or in a shopping centre then it cannot by definition be deemed anything but 'careless' at the very most and a slap on the wrist fitting as a sentence.

Yet more proof that the system is broken, the CPS are a load of bottleless cretins and those high up simply don't give a fuck and continue to ignore the problem!

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
0 likes

I've not seen details of this story, were they both carelessly driving in the same direction?

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Critchio | 6 years ago
3 likes

Sun can be a problem for any driver but there is no excuse for hitting anyone because the sun is in your eyes. I keep a a cheap pair of really dark sunglasses in my car that I can grab and put on in an instant when the sun is trying to burn my retinas out. With them I can look into the sun and see the road ahead clearly without issue. It's a shame a lot of drivers don't take such precautions, especially in winter sun

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Natrix replied to Critchio | 6 years ago
3 likes
Critchio wrote:

I keep a a cheap pair of really dark sunglasses in my car

 

So do I, that and using the sun visor mean that I've never been 'blinded by the sun' in over 30 years of driving.  Frankly I think it is a pathetic excuse and both drivers should be banned for life surprise

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LastBoyScout replied to Critchio | 6 years ago
0 likes
Critchio wrote:

I keep a a cheap pair of really dark sunglasses in my car that I can grab and put on in an instant when the sun is trying to burn my retinas out.

I don't.

I keep quite an expensive pair of polarized Oakleys in each of our cars. Far superior optics to any cheap pair and the polarizing reduces much of the glare. I didn't buy them specifically to keep in the car, but then I've always got them rather than wishing I hadn't left them in a drawer at home.

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pablo | 6 years ago
8 likes

not sure the sentance is appropriate for the crime.  One of the key points when taking lessons is to drive to the conditions of the road. If you need a police officer to tell you maybe you should stop driving.  

 

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john1967 | 6 years ago
0 likes

FUCK,FUCK,FUCK  i am fucking speechless.

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Russell Orgazoid | 6 years ago
5 likes

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

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Simon E replied to Russell Orgazoid | 6 years ago
2 likes
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Avatar
Krd51 replied to Simon E | 6 years ago
8 likes
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Are you serious? what about a deterant to other selfish careless drivers all this sentance says it's ok to kill and get a slap on the wrist.

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kraut replied to Krd51 | 6 years ago
6 likes
Krd51 wrote:
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Are you serious? what about a deterant to other selfish careless drivers all this sentance says it's ok to kill and get a slap on the wrist.

A proper driving ban - 5 years, 10 years, life - would equally act as a deterrant.

There should, IMHO, be a mandatory prison sentence for driving while disqualified though.

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Bluebug replied to Krd51 | 6 years ago
2 likes
Krd51 wrote:
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Are you serious? what about a deterant to other selfish careless drivers all this sentance says it's ok to kill and get a slap on the wrist.

Thing is it is no deterrent as people think it won't happen to them.

A longer driving ban would actually hurt them more due to their location.

If you gave them both 7 years I suspect the older driver would never drive again as retaking your driving rest at 70 wouldn't be easy to pass.

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oldstrath replied to Bluebug | 6 years ago
2 likes
Bluebug wrote:
Krd51 wrote:
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Are you serious? what about a deterant to other selfish careless drivers all this sentance says it's ok to kill and get a slap on the wrist.

Thing is it is no deterrent as people think it won't happen to them. A longer driving ban would actually hurt them more due to their location. If you gave them both 7 years I suspect the older driver would never drive again as retaking your driving rest at 70 wouldn't be easy to pass.

Neither of them should ever want to drive again. It ought to be an obvious given that neither would ever be allowed the privilege of doing so again.  

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oldstrath replied to Simon E | 6 years ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

No less helpful than putting Alliston in prison. Maybe, just maybe, it might persuade one or two others to slow down or stop when they can't see. It would also say that we take seriously the fact that driving a car is inherently dangerous, and the privilege of doing so comes with heavy responsibility.

Avatar
Bluebug replied to oldstrath | 6 years ago
1 like
oldstrath wrote:
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

No less helpful than putting Alliston in prison. Maybe, just maybe, it might persuade one or two others to slow down or stop when they can't see. It would also say that we take seriously the fact that driving a car is inherently dangerous, and the privilege of doing so comes with heavy responsibility.

If you show remorse you get a lighter sentence.

Alliston refused to show remorse so the book was thrown at him.

Avatar
oldstrath replied to Bluebug | 6 years ago
1 like
Bluebug wrote:
oldstrath wrote:
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

No less helpful than putting Alliston in prison. Maybe, just maybe, it might persuade one or two others to slow down or stop when they can't see. It would also say that we take seriously the fact that driving a car is inherently dangerous, and the privilege of doing so comes with heavy responsibility.

If you show remorse you get a lighter sentence. Alliston refused to show remorse so the book was thrown at him.

So killing someone is fine, provided you mouth the right clichés and turn on the waterworks to order? And Alliston was too honest, so gets punished for it. 

Avatar
Russell Orgazoid replied to Simon E | 6 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:

No custodial; just suspended.

Cunts.

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Because if your actions cost someone's life, you deserve it.
The reason they did not go down is because prisons are overcrowded and they cost a lot of money.

If someone you love is killed in this fashion, I am quite sure you will understand if they do not go to prison. I'm sure you will agree with that decision.

Avatar
Simon E replied to Russell Orgazoid | 6 years ago
3 likes
Plasterer's Radio wrote:
Simon E wrote:

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Because if your actions cost someone's life, you deserve it.

Let's bring back hanging while we're at it, that'll stop 'em.

Oh wait, it doesn't.

Never mind, let's hang the bastards anyway.

The increase in penalties for mobile phone use while driving were widely publicised yet 9 million drivers still ignore the rules. Also, the latest DfT stats shows that many drivers habitually break the speed limit, even though it may result in points on their driving licence and higher insurance premiums: https://twitter.com/carltonreid/status/933636636717584384

I'd start with automatic (and longer) bans for the 10,000 drivers who have racked up 12 points or more, and heavier fines for speeding, mobile phones etc. The revenue can help pay for more detection vans to catch more of the speeders and the 3/4 million VED tax evaders. I'd also provide resources for every police force in the country to emulate West Midlands' brilliant Traffic team.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds replied to Simon E | 6 years ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:
Simon E wrote:

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Because if your actions cost someone's life, you deserve it.

Let's bring back hanging while we're at it, that'll stop 'em.

Oh wait, it doesn't.

Never mind, let's hang the bastards anyway.

The increase in penalties for mobile phone use while driving were widely publicised yet 9 million drivers still ignore the rules. Also, the latest DfT stats shows that many drivers habitually break the speed limit, even though it may result in points on their driving licence and higher insurance premiums: https://twitter.com/carltonreid/status/933636636717584384

I'd start with automatic (and longer) bans for the 10,000 drivers who have racked up 12 points or more, and heavier fines for speeding, mobile phones etc. The revenue can help pay for more detection vans to catch more of the speeders and the 3/4 million VED tax evaders. I'd also provide resources for every police force in the country to emulate West Midlands' brilliant Traffic team.

you dont think it might deter a few? it'd certainly prevent re-offending, ever and cost society less in the long run.

 deduct fines via PAYE/benefits, none of this avoiding paying £1/week bs, £500 for speeding/distracted and then rising based on income.

confiscating/immobilising vehicles would be an idea 

Avatar
Russell Orgazoid replied to Simon E | 6 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
Plasterer's Radio wrote:
Simon E wrote:

How would putting them in prison help anyone?

Because if your actions cost someone's life, you deserve it.

Let's bring back hanging while we're at it, that'll stop 'em.

Oh wait, it doesn't.

Never mind, let's hang the bastards anyway.

The increase in penalties for mobile phone use while driving were widely publicised yet 9 million drivers still ignore the rules. Also, the latest DfT stats shows that many drivers habitually break the speed limit, even though it may result in points on their driving licence and higher insurance premiums: https://twitter.com/carltonreid/status/933636636717584384

I'd start with automatic (and longer) bans for the 10,000 drivers who have racked up 12 points or more, and heavier fines for speeding, mobile phones etc. The revenue can help pay for more detection vans to catch more of the speeders and the 3/4 million VED tax evaders. I'd also provide resources for every police force in the country to emulate West Midlands' brilliant Traffic team.

I agree with your most recent opinion.
It's a pity these punishments are mostly real already but are either not enforced or are easily avoided (12 points plus but they keep their licence etc).
Ergo, drivers are willing to risk it.
Thus, the next driver in winter sun will take the risk with a rider's life.

A deterrent does have value IMO. Else I would murder certain drivers and workmates!

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