Jersey cyclists have complained that close passes are ‘frequent’ on the island after a bus driver was handed a six-month ban for driving without due care and attention. Gilberto Freitas Gouveia, who already had a previous conviction for a similar offence, almost crushed a cyclist against a concrete wall while attempting to overtake.
The Jersey Evening Post reports that the cyclist was riding from St Ouen to St Helier when he noticed Gouveia’s bus approaching from behind.
The court heard that the driver went to overtake, but left so little room that the rider resorted to banging on the side of the bus in an attempt to make his presence known.
As the bus was passing, the cyclist pulled into a gap in the wall, suffering scrapes, grazes and whiplash.
One witness said she feared the cyclist was going to be killed.
Gouveia believed he had left enough room. When he checked his mirror and couldn’t see the cyclist, he presumed he had passed him.
Estelle Burns, defending, said that if he had heard the banging on the side of the bus he would have stopped.
She described the incident as ‘a matter of gross error and misjudgement’ and said that a driving ban would most likely mean Gouveia losing his job.
He was fined £2,000 and banned from driving for six months as it was his second offence.
A spokesperson for Liberty Bus said: “There was no damage to our bus and there was no CCTV available for this incident. The driver has been employed by LibertyBus since April 2019 and has had no previous accident history with us. Following the conviction we will now undertake a disciplinary hearing with the driver.”
Ian Williams, president of Jersey Rouleurs, said that dangerous close passes were common on the island.
“We have this all the time. Jersey Rouleurs reports show that, as a group, or riding individually, close passes are not uncommon; they are frequent. We have footage of them and we have passed them on to the police in the past. It has been buses, lorries, tractors and cars.
“We appreciate we are not the fastest thing on road, but the speed limits are 20, 30 or 40mph, and we are going at about 25mph so we are not far off. What is a couple of seconds compared to crushing and injuring a cyclist?”