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18-month ban for dangerous driver who drove into the back of cyclist

Andrew Whittaker sustained head and back injuries and was off work for eight months after crash on A82

A motorist who drove into the back of a cyclist has been banned for driving for just 18 months and has also avoided a jail sentence after pleading guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving.

The Helensburgh Advertiser reports that the injuries sustained by Andrew Whittaker when he was struck from behind by James Campbell in March 2017 resulted in him receiving a six-figure insurance payout.

Campbell, a 28-year-old shepherd from Luss, Argyll & Bute, was driving his Toyota Hilux pickup truck when he hit Mr Whittaker on the A82 between Balloch and Dumbarton.

Last month, he pleaded guilty at Dumbarton Sheriff Court to causing severe injury and returned there last week for sentencing.

Sheriff Maxwell Hendry told him: “You’re 28 years old, no previous convictions, a good member of the community and, in a matter of seconds, everything changes.

“You fell massively below the level of a careful driver. You simply drove into him from the rear. In other situations I would have to be thinking whether custody was appropriate.”

He sentenced Campbell to perform 210 hours of unpaid work and he will also have to take an extended retest when his driving ban ends.

A witness heading in the opposite direction on the A82 told the court at last month’s trial that he had seen Mr Whittaker riding around 300 yards ahead of Campbell’s vehicle at around 6.50pm on 23 March 2017.

The witness said that they slowed down to enable Campbell to move out and safely overtake the cyclist, but instead he drove straight into the back of him.

Mr Whittaker suffered head and back injuries and had to be operated on at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for surgery.

He was forced to take eight months off work as a result of his injuries and once he returned, could only undertake light duties.

Campbell had also been charged with assault to severe Injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life, but that was dropped due to his guilty plea to the less serious charge.

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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