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Driving instructor who forced cyclist off the road, causing him to break his arm, loses job

Stephen Holden told rider to use cycle path, not road, and became angry when cyclist replied "Highway Code"...

A Portsmouth driving instructor who forced a cyclist off the road, causing him to break his arm, will lose his job due to the points added to his driving licence.

Stephen Holden, aged 54 and who previously served in the Royal Navy, was said to have gone into a ‘blind rage’ during the incident in May this year, reports Portsmouth News.

He was driving along Eastney Esplanade when he reportedly became angry with a cyclist riding on the road rather than a cycle lane.

Adrian Fleming, prosecuting, told Portsmouth Crown Court that Holden, who had passengers in his car, slowed down and shouted, “Use the cycle lane.”

The cyclist replied, “Highway Code,” whereupon holding slowed down and drew level with him, said Mr Fleming.

“He felt the vehicle swerve in his direction at 23mph causing him to fall off onto the road while the vehicle drove off.”

According to a pedestrian who witnessed the incident, “The driver moved closer and closer to the kerb giving the cyclist less room. The accident was entirely due to the driver.”

Mr Fleming added: “Someone in his profession would have special training which makes it even more worrying he behaved like this. He also had a number of young people in the car at the time.”

Recorder Jane Rowley said that she intended to give the driver nine penalty points but Rob Harding, defending, requested that be reduced to six points, saying, “Anything above this amount will mean he won’t be able to carry on with his job of 11 years.”

The recorder disagreed, replying, “For the life of me I don’t see how he will lose his job with nine points.”

The Probation Service confirmed that under Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) rules, nine points would indeed see Holden ineligible to be an approved driving instructor, but Ms Rowley decided to impose the penalty anyway.

She told him: “What you did that day brought shame on you and your family. You are a man who has served for Her Majesty’s services for many years.

“You made off knowing you had had an accident with the cyclist as you tried to escape in a knee-jerk flight reaction knowing the consequences. I have to impose a fair and just sentence.”

Holden, who admitted careless driving and failure to stop, was ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and pay £800 in compensation as well as a £85 victim surcharge.

The nine points will remain on his driving licence for three years.

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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