Cycling UK says that a reduction in the jail term handed down to a hit-and-run driver who ploughed into a group of cyclists last year, paralysing one and seriously injuring two others, highlights the need for the government to follow through on a pledge made in 2014 to review sentencing of cases where a cyclist is the victim.
Michael Bradbury was sentenced in September to 45 months’ imprisonment in respect of the incident which happened at 2am on !0 September 2017 on the A15 south of Lincoln.
The three cyclists involved had been taking part in the Flatlands 600k event. As a result of the collision, in which Bradbury drove into them from behind, one of the riders, Bill Tweddell, was left paralysed from the chest down and is now confined to a wheelchair.
Both the other cyclists, Adrian Boswood and Christopher Pratt, sustained serious injuries.
Bradbury, who had been at a work party, drove home where he was arrested three hours later after police identified his car from ANPR footage. While a breath sample taken from him showed the presence of alcohol, he was at that point below the drink-driving limit.
He also told police that he had been feeling tired on his journey home but after stopping at a fast-food outlet decided to continue his journey. Officers also discovered that his insurance had been cancelled.
He was jailed for 45 months and banned from driving for three years after being convicted of three counts of causing serious injury through dangerous driving.
But Lincoln Crown Court has now reduced the prison term to 36 months because it says that sentencing guidelines were applied incorrectly.
Reacting to the reduced sentence, Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK which lobbied for the offence to be introduced, told road.cc: “So, Bradbury chose to drive home from a party whilst uninsured, after having “one or two drinks”, carrying on driving at 2.00am despite feeling tired and admitting in interview that his eyes felt heavy.
“After failing to see three illuminated cyclists, driving straight into them from behind and leaving one paralysed with the other two seriously injured, he drove on rather than stop.
“When he was arrested three hours later the subsequent breath test showed alcohol in his system but below the legal limit.”
He continued: “This case demonstrates why Cycling UK keep campaigning for a wider review of traffic offences and penalties, with a particular focus on hit and run offences, the inadequate use of disqualification, and the inconsistency in how ‘failure to see’ cases are dealt with.
“Aggravating features abound here, yet Bradbury’s sentence has still been reduced, with a three year driving ban that doesn’t reflect the risks and consequences of the decisions he made that night.”
On Sunday, Cycling UK published research showing that six in seven motorists involved in a road traffic collision that resulted in the death of a cyclist avoided jail.
Its findings came from a Freedom of Information request to police forces across England and Wales covering the period 2007-17.
Ten of the 43 forces approached provided data for the period, with 209 cyclist fatalities recorded. Less than half, 86, resulted in a motorist being charged with causing death by careless or dangerous driving. Of those, 66 were convicted, with just under half – 31 – receiving a custodial sentence.
The results of the research prompted Cycling UK to reiterate its Road Justice campaign, which calls for more thorough investigation, prosecution and sentencing of cases in which a cyclist has been killed or injured.
Dollimore added: “Over 13,600 people have supported our campaign and emailed their MPs calling for a review of our traffic laws, as promised by the Government in 2014, rather than a selective review simply of cycling offences. But anyone who wants their MP to fight for justice on our roads and a better legal framework for dealing with traffic offences can email them via this link and ask them to attend the road justice debate scheduled at Westminster on 20 November.”
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.