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Court hears how cyclist killed as driver searched for sat-nav

Motorist admits he was careless, but prosecution pushing for dangerous driving conviction

A court has been told how a cyclist riding from John O’Groats to Land’s End was killed when a driver bent down to pick up a satellite navigation device that had fallen from his car’s windscreen.

The cyclist, 37-year-old Arthur Platt from Lyndhurst, Hampshire, a shift manager at Totton Health and Leisure Centre, died from the injuries he received in the incident in Telford, Shropshire last July despite being taken to hospital by air ambulance.

The driver of the car, Stuart Cook, aged 47 and from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, denises causing Mr Platt’s death by dangerous driving, reports the Shropshire Star.

However, Samantha Crabbe, speaking for the prosecution, told Shrewsbury Crown Court that the accident had been caused by the defendant being distracted as he looked for his sat-nav device.

Ms Crabbe explained that the fatal accident had taken place at around 1pm on 6 July 2010 as Mr Platt, who was raising money for the charity Help For Herores, rode his bike on the A442 Queensway.

“At the same time Cook was driving a BMW southbound on the road,” she continued, saying that the motorist was on his way home from a meeting.

“Cook became distracted by his ‘sat nav’ which had fallen from his windscreen into the passenger side foot well,” she claimed.

“He bent down, taking his left hand off the steering wheel to retrieve it, the car veered to the left and collided straight into the back of Mr Platt’s bicycle.”

She added that the prosecution would seek to show that the driver not only leant down to pick up the sat-nav device, but went on to check that the screen was lit up.

She added that although Cook had pleaded guilty to driving carelessly, “The prosecution maintain his actions were not just careless but dangerous.

“It was only at the point of impact that Cook looked up. That level of inattention and loss of control of his vehicle makes him, we say, guilty of causing death by dangerous driving.”

The Shropshire Star reported that Cook had informed police that he had removed his eyes from the road for just two or three seconds, although he said to another driver at the accident scene that he had lowered his eyes only for one second.

The case continues.
 

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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