A Newcastle motorist who left a cyclist with a fractured knee after veering into him as she tried to hurl abuse has been spared a jail sentence. Aimee Baty was convicted of careless driving and pleaded guilty to failing to report an accident after fleeing the scene and was handed a community order and had 10 points added to her licence, triggering a ban.
Chronicle Live reports that on December 21 2017, Baty cut up cyclist Matthew Smith when changing lanes on City Road, forcing him towards the kerb.
Smith put his hand on Baty's VW Polo and asked what she thought she was doing.
"That made you cross,” said Judge Penny Moreland, “and you pulled your car across his lane in the junction just past the traffic lights and braked sharply, causing him to stop. You drove off and were still cross. You came alongside him and decided to shout abuse at him.”
At this point, Baty opened her window and leant across, intending to shout at Smith, and her car "inadvertently" hit him.
"The jury's verdict means they couldn't be sure you deliberately drove into him,” said the judge. “But you did drive too close to him as a consequence of opening the window and leaning across, intending to hurl abuse at him as you were still annoyed at what you believed was his bad behaviour.
"There was evidence he continued in a straight line and your car diverted into his lane. You saw him fall from the bike and move from the middle of the road to the side and I'm satisfied you suspected he had been injured when you knew he had come off his bike."
During the trial, Baty argued that Smith had been deliberately trying to cause an accident.
She alleged that Smith came in front of her car, forcing her to do an emergency stop. "I thought he was trying to cause an accident, just based on him coming out in front of my car and stopping for no reason."
The judge said: "In my view, having heard the evidence, the reason for the defendant's car leaving its straight line and turning into the path of the bike was she was preparing to shout abuse at him through the window and in the course of that she inadvertently allowed her car to move into the path of the bike, thereby causing the accident. That, I regard as a form of aggressive driving."
Baty already had three points on her licence, so the 10 imposed triggered a ban.
The judge rejected her argument that a ban would cause her multiple sclerosis-suffering friend exceptional hardship as she relied on Baty for lifts to the hospital and care in emergencies.