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Van driver who crushed bike with toddler still in child seat receives community order

Bristol Magistrates' Court told that driver Robin Tippett drove off after hitting cyclist carrying his son in child seat because he feared losing his job if he was late...

A van driver in Bristol who fled the scene of a collision with a cyclist, driving over and crushing the bicycle which still had a toddler strapped into the child seat, has been handed a community order and banned from driving for nine months.

Robin Tippett, aged 22 and from Pucklechurch, pleaded guilty yesterday to failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident and driving without due care and attention in relation to the incident, which happened last September, reports the Bristol Post.

at Bristol Magistrates’ Court heard that Paul Squires had been waiting at a junction on Cossham Street, Mangotsfield with his two-and-a-half-year-old son Daniel when they were pushed forward by Tippett’s flatbed van, knocking them over.

In a statement read out to the court, Mr Squires said: “We fell to the right.

“The white van was alongside and the driver’s window was open. I saw a male and I made eye contact.

“I shouted: ‘What are you doing, what are you doing? I’ve got my son!’”

However, Tippett revved his engine and drove off, turning right and crushing the bicycle.

Fortunately, neither Mr Squires nor his son were hurt in the incident, although both their cycle helmets were damaged.

Police subsequently traced and arrested Tippett, who works for a scaffolding firm.

“The incident left me very angry. Hitting someone off their bike, then driving off,” Mr Squires continued.

“It was only good luck the equipment protected (my son), even though that is what it is designed for.

“I cannot forgive that, it is unacceptable. It is a thought I cannot get out of my head.”

He revealed that the episode had made him think about swapping a bike for a car as his means of getting around, saying: “I’m considering purchasing a second car due to his reckless inattention.”

In mitigation, solicitor advocate Mike Wynter said that Tippett is blind in his left eye but acknowledged that Mr Squires and his child were to his right.

“He knew the cyclist was there and he drove away, knowing he hit the cyclist.”

The court heard that Tippett had told a probation officer that he did not know there was a child on the bike and he had driven off because he was worried about losing his job if he was late.

Sentencing him, District Judge Lynne Matthews imposed a 12-month community order under which he will be required to perfortm 300 hours of unpaid work.

He was also banned him from driving for nine months, fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £85 and an £85 victim surcharge

The judge told him: “You may lose your job. So be it. You are not safe driving.

“There would be a public outcry if your licence was not taken away from you.

“You were inches away from a death by dangerous driving.”

She added: “I sentence you for what happened, but I look at the risk that you pose.”

Mr Squires gave more details of the incident in a comment on the Bristol Post’s report of the case.

He wrote: “I was stationary at a T junction, looking to turn right. 

“I had waited for 10-15 seconds for a vehicle coming from the right to pass, when the van struck me from behind, pushing us forward into the road. 

“I assume he was not looking forward, or was looking left approaching a junction. 

“I was not overtaking anybody. He then turned right at the T junction to escape and his rear right wheel drove over the bike and my son's car seat. 

“There were four independent witnesses, he was stopped two minutes after the incident and told to return to the scene of the crime, and didn't. 

“I also understand he failed to attend his first six requests for interview, and didn't turn up to his original hearing last week, after which a warrant for his immediate arrest was issued.”

Simon joined 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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