A Bristol motorist has been order to complete 250 hours of unpaid work after being found guilty of causing the death of a cyclist by careless driving. Phillip Bridges said he made all the usual checks when approaching the roundabout on which the collision took place only to hear his wife scream as he was about to hit 74-year-old Peter Brown.
The Bristol Post reports that the incident took place at the M48 Aust junction in October 2016.
Bridges said that at the end of the slip road he slowed for the roundabout and looked both left and right, but failed to see Brown, who was wearing high visibility clothing.
When his wife, who was sitting beside him, screamed, he braked.
He struck Brown’s back wheel and the cyclist fell, suffering a brain injury from which he died two weeks later.
Bridges said when he got out of the car, Brown was not wearing a helmet. “I saw a helmet over on the grass, four to five feet away.”
Bridges denied the charge. Attempting to explain why he had not seen Brown, he said: “I feel that he’s come from off the cycle path. He’s come from the back of my car. He’s pulled onto the roundabout instead of carrying on to the cycle path. I was not able to see him doing the checks I did.”
Patrick Jones-Barbour, who had been driving behind Bridges’ BMW after crossing the Severn Bridge, told the jury he had seen Brown on the roundabout.
“A cyclist appeared on the roundabout from the right hand side. I saw the cyclist contrasted against the dark green foliage on the roundabout.
“I thought to myself ‘we’re going to have to stop’. I started braking, ordinarily. The BMW slowed but it didn’t stop.
“It went onto the roundabout and there was a shout from the cyclist, who tried to swerve out the way of the BMW. The cyclist and the BMW collided.”
A forensic collision examiner who made videos of both the driver’s and cyclist’s views on their respective approaches to the scene of the crash said he could not account for why Bridges had not seen Brown.
James Tucker, defending, conceded that his client had previous convictions for drink driving, but said he had grown into a family man who had started his own window cleaning business.
As well as the year’s community order and a three-month curfew, Bridges was banned from driving for 15 months after which he will be required to pass an extended driving test.
After the guilty verdict, the jury sent a note to the judge suggesting that 'Think Bike' signage be added to the junction.