A skip lorry driver has been acquitted at Hull Crown Court of causing the death of a cyclist through careless driving, with a CCTV expert telling the trial that the rider would have been in the vehicle’s blind spot before the fatal crash due to its wing mirrors.
Craig Beharrell, aged 42, was killed when he was hit by a skip lorry driven by Peter Sanderson, 62, on the city’s Hessle Road at 7.35am on 17 July 2017, reports the Hull Daily Mail.
Mr Beharrell had been riding on a cycle lane along Hessle Road when Sanderson turned left onto the road from Wiltshire Road.
The fatal crash was recorded on both the GoPro camera the cyclist was using and on CCTV in the cab of the lorry, with footage from both shown to the jury during the week-long trial.
CCTV analyst Matthew Cass, appearing as an expert witness for the defence, told the court that both the lorry and the cyclist became “synchronised” as they neared the junction.
He added that the cyclist would have been obscured from the lorry driver’s view because of the vehicle’s wing mirrors.
Before the jury retired to consider its verdict, Judge Paul Watson told them: “In difficult cases like these there are no winners and no losers and we in the criminal justice system entrust difficult decisions in cases like this to jurors to do their best to look at evidence on both sides.”
The jury acquitted Sanderson, who insisted he had not seen Mr Beharrell, after deliberating for nearly four and a half hours.
After delivering their not guilty verdict, the judge told the members of the jury that their decision had been informed by their “knowledge and experience of the world and their experience as drivers.”
Besides the fact that only the jury can know what factors went into their decision, it’s worth noting that Hull has the fourth-highest levels of cycle commuting in England and that nationwide, one in four households have no access to a motor vehicle.
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.