Driver 'dazzled' by sun who killed cyclist handed suspended sentence

Witness driving on same road reduced speed to 5mph due to 'brightest he had ever seen it'...

A motorist who admitted he was blinded by the sun when he struck and killed a cyclist in June last year has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Dr Vincent Cavaliere, aged 58, died in Leeds General Infirmary 11 days after he had been hit by 46-year-old Mike Buck, who had been driving a Land River Sport, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Dr Cavaliere, who was aged 58 and had two children, had been club doctor at Bradford City FC since 1992.

Michael Smith, prosecuting, said that both Buck and the cyclist had been travelling towards Ilkley on Moor Road on the evening of 22 June.

He told the court that despite the road having a 50mph speed limit, Buck had been “dazzled” by the sun, leading to him cleaning his windscreen, lowering his sun visor and reducing his speed to around 30mph.

He said: “At about 30mph up to the point of the collision Dr Cavaliere should have been in his view for about 20 seconds.

“It is clear from all the evidence taken together that the sunlight caused real visibility issues for the drivers.”

Another motorist driving on the same road described the sun as having been “the brightest he had ever seen it” and reduced his speed to 5mph.

Today (Fri) a “guilt-wracked” Buck, of Southfield Road, Burley-in-Wharfedale, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered to do 250 hours unpaid work for the community after he admitted causing the doctor’s death by careless driving.

After the collision, Buck said that he had not seen Dr Cavaliere. When he was interviewed subsequently by police, he told officers he had been reasonably confident of the road being clear until he hit the cyclist, who landed on his bonnet.

Mr Smith added: “We acknowledge that on the evidence the defendant took some steps to deal with the difficult driving conditions but ultimately those steps were inadequate.”

Defending Buck, who had pleaded guilty to causing Mr Cavaliere’s death by careless driving, Paul Greaney QC, for Buck, denied his client had attempted to “wriggle out of his responsibilities.”

He said: “The defendant slowed down to well below the speed limit, but he acknowledges that he could have slowed down even more and that we suggest is the extent of his failing that evening.

“Mr Buck is a thoroughly decent man who regrets extremely deeply what has happened.

“It would not be an exaggeration in this case to say that Mr Buck expresses extreme remorse of an enduring nature.”

Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said that the collision “should never have happened.”

He handed Buck a six-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, and ordered him to do 250 hours unpaid community work as well as banning him from driving for a year.

“The family have been subjected to lifelong damage and their grief, and perhaps anger, will last forever,” the judge said.

He added: “There are some, and it may be in this case, who will never be able to forgive you – although only in that perhaps will healing start – but you recognise also you will never be able to forgive yourself.”

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.

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