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HGV driver given community sentence for running over and killing 22-year-old cyclist waiting at red light

Emma Burke Newman was a student in Glasgow, who was dragged for more than 50 metres after the lorry driver crossed a cycle space line and didn’t see her

An HGV driver who admitted to not having seen the young cyclist at a Glasgow traffic junction before he ran her over, dragging her for 53 metres and causing her death, has been sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid community work under police supervision and banned from driving for 12 months.

At the Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday, 69-year-old Paul Mowat admitted to driving an HGV without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road, when he killed Emma Burke Newman, a 22-year-old American-French student studying architecture at Glasgow School of Art, in January last year.

CCTV footage and dashcam clips which were played in court at a previous hearing showed Emma cycling to university at 10am when she approached the traffic lights at the junction of Broomielaw and Oswald Street at King George V Bridge.

The footage showed that both the HGV driver and another bus driver had moved over into the cycle space junction. Emma moved into the first lane, passing Mowat’s lorry on the nearside and waited for the lights to turn green. Mowat began moving the HGV forward, and Emma followed around two seconds later, always looking at the lorry.

However, Mowat turned left and the lorry’s bumper connected with the pannier rack of Emma’s bike, causing her to fall. She was dragged under the lorry for around 53 metres, with Mowat only realising what had happened after a driver began flashing his lights and blaring his horn.

She was rushed to the hospital, however her serious injuries meant that she lost her life there the same morning.

A previous hearing was also told that Mowat’s windscreen and mirrors were dirty and his view was obstructed by a reversing camera.

> "Society has accepted death as a cost of getting from A to B": Parents of young cyclist killed in Glasgow collision call for change

Glasgow Times reports crash investigators found that she had put herself in a vulnerable position due to her proximity to the lorry, but the driver would have been able to see her had he checked the blind spot behind his reversing camera screen.

The court heard that Mowat, whose previous driving record was “exemplary” held Emma’s hand and apologised before the ambulance arrived. Sheriff Matthew Jackson KC cited this, along with his own health issues and that that he’s the carer for his wife as “important information” that he learned later and suspected it was due to Mowat’s reluctance to speak up about the matter.

King George V Bridge, Glasgow (Google Maps)

King George V Bridge, Glasgow (Google Maps)

Gareth Reid, defending, said that Mowat gave up his job following Emma’s death, adding: “He's been a professional driver for nearly 40 years. He’s held a car licence for even longer. This is the first time he’s been involved in any road traffic matter. He’s truly sorry for what occurred. He profusely apologises to Emma’s family.”

It was also heard that the older-style HGVs, which Mowat was driving at the time, are currently being phased out and replaced with modern vehicles where the driver’s seat is positioned lower. “This is not an excuse at all, but it explains the positioning of Mr Mowat,” Reid said.

> Campaign launched for safer junctions in Glasgow after cyclist’s death – and is calling on local road users to share their experiences

After the sentencing, Emma’s parents Rose Marie Burke and John Newman told BBC Scotland’s Drivetime programme that their daughter had been an “exceptional human being”.

“She’s also compassionate - she’s one of these people if you were alone in the lunch room, she’d sit down next to you. She would take a new kid under her arm - she was just a loving person as well,” Ms Burke said.

They said they felt Glasgow was about a decade behind their home city of Paris when it came to safer cycling routes, and they hoped their calls for improvements would be their daughter's legacy.

“Traffic seems to be a little more aggressive here — it seems like you haven’t quite got used to cyclists as part of the general environment yet, but we’re hopeful that things will change,” Mr Newman said.

> Paris cycling numbers double in one year thanks to massive investment... but Telegraph writer claims city now “hell on earth”

Following Emma’s death, her parents had called for all political parties to support the adoption of “best-practice infrastructure” as well as other safety measures to better protect cyclists.

Writing in a blog post published through Pedal on Parliament, Emma’s parents said the symbolism of their daughter's death, a young rider “devoted to making cities safer and more beautiful for all”, is “terribly searing”.

The architectural practice where Emma worked also launched a campaign calling for safer junctions in Glasgow last year, calling on local cyclists, pedestrians and drivers to share their experiences and help it gather data at the locations in question.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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41 comments

Avatar
Bob's Bikes | 4 months ago
0 likes

Am I the only one that read this sentence. Quote Sheriff Matthew Jackson KC cited this, along with his own health issues and that that he’s the carer for his wife as “important information” Unquote and thought how do you care for your wife and dangerously drive at the same time?

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Bungle_52 replied to Bob's Bikes | 4 months ago
2 likes

Important for sentencing I assume. The driver stopped at the scene, rendered assistance, pled guilty, seemed to have shown genuine remorse and quit his job. I'd like to have seen a longer ban but drivers have done much worse and got off scott free in the past, so I have some sympathy for a non custodial sentence. There was also the crash investigators comment (erroneous in my view but I suppose the Sheriff was obliged to take it into account.) that the cyclist had put herself in danger.

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dubwise | 4 months ago
3 likes

As usual the comments in the Evening Times are the k**bhead's guide to sh*tery

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Rome73 | 4 months ago
7 likes

'They said they felt Glasgow was about a decade behind their home city of Paris when it came to safer cycling routes . . . . . '
and there you have it. So much is down to infrastructure. 

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eburtthebike replied to Rome73 | 4 months ago
11 likes

And we're falling farther behind all the time because the party of the driver keeps announcing massive spending on cycling, then cutting it by 75%.

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Fatbagman | 4 months ago
9 likes

Still the best way to get away with murder in this country. What will it take for one of these people to get any sentence even approaching appropriate? 

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john_smith replied to Fatbagman | 4 months ago
0 likes

One of "these people"?

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FrankH replied to john_smith | 4 months ago
12 likes

One of these...

dangerous drivers?

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cmedred | 4 months ago
7 likes

Sadly, it is this sort of behavior on the part of the legal system that makes cycling so dangerous. If there are no serious consequences for driving badly - and killing someone with your vehicle is the ultimate in bad driving - there is no real reason to pay serious attention to your driving. Obviously there need to be stiff mandatory sentences established for driving without due care because judges don't seem to understand the impact of pissant sentences. 

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eburtthebike | 4 months ago
11 likes

Following Emma’s death, her parents had called for all political parties to support the adoption of “best-practice infrastructure” as well as other safety measures to better protect cyclists.

Great idea, but sadly we have the party of the driver in power, and the party of we aren't going to change anything radically about to take power.

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DoomeFrog | 4 months ago
2 likes

Yet you do this Motorcyclist falls from Milton Keynes bridge after collision - BBC News and this is worthy of Jail, extended retest plus being tried for not just Dangerous Driving but also GBH.

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Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
13 likes

Quote:

Glasgow Times reports crash investigators found that she had put herself in a vulnerable position due to her proximity to the lorry, but the driver would have been able to see her had he checked the blind spot behind his reversing camera screen.

She had put herself in a vulnerable position. What you mean by having the audacity to cycle on the road.

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HoarseMann replied to Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
17 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

She had put herself in a vulnerable position. What you mean by having the audacity to cycle on the road.

The audacity to use the cycling infrastructure as designed?

It's awful that the crash investigator would say she put herself in a vulnerable position. How are you to know in advance that the lorry had a dirty windscreen and part of it was blocked by the screen of a reversing camera? Or that the drivers had encroached into the cycle area?

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john_smith replied to HoarseMann | 4 months ago
0 likes

It doesn't take a lot of experience to know that being close to a lorry when you're on a bike can be dangerous.

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jamesha100 replied to john_smith | 4 months ago
16 likes

My understanding is that she was in a dedicated cycle lane and that the lorry had encroached into it. I can picture myself making the same choices as Emma and I would consider myself an experienced and cautious cyclist.

The driver seems to have shown genuine remorse so I am not going to discuss the (in my view) inadequate sentence but feel more should be done to force motorists to respect cycle lanes, advance stop lines etc. 

 

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Daclu Trelub replied to Bungle_52 | 4 months ago
0 likes

Bungle_52 wrote:

Quote:

Glasgow Times reports crash investigators found that she had put herself in a vulnerable position due to her proximity to the lorry, but the driver would have been able to see her had he checked the blind spot behind his reversing camera screen.

She had put herself in a vulnerable position. What you mean by having the audacity to cycle on the road.

Up the inside of a lorry? I've been leary of those bastards for years.

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Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
13 likes

I think there is a regional thing here too.

ScotRozzer's cant be arse to enforce road laws for cyclists.

ScotBeaks dont give a f**k if cyclists die.  The killer *ALWAYS* gets a break.

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FionaJJ replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
10 likes

I'm not saying I'm for hate speech, but I'm beyond angry at the impending bin-fire and waste of police resources it's going to consume when it comes into force next month. Meanwhile, Police Scotland refuses to give us a portal for submitting dash-cam and other footage of actual dangerous driving.

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bikes replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
3 likes

How many fines have been issued for driving into ASLs? How many fines for dirty mirrors? Zero? The first one isn't enforced at all as far as I can tell.

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Muddy Ford | 4 months ago
20 likes

Sunak and Harper 'on the side of drivers'.
Cyclist Charlie Alliston had a defective bike, gets 18mths in prison for pedestrian death. This driver had a defective vehicle, gets 100hrs of community service. Can we get this election sooner, so these useless bastards are booted out...

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chrisonabike replied to Muddy Ford | 4 months ago
4 likes

If they're on the side of drivers are they on the side of more driving and thus more traffic (bearing in mind induced demand if the carrot is "we'll put in new road / widen existing")?  And if they're for making it cheaper / easier to drive are they on the side of more careless, distracted or even unlicenced drivers?

They're gone next election - I believe and hope.  But Labour give me no confidence that they have this on their priority list.  Outside of continuing to guide things in the direction they're already going e.g. "Cars 2.0 - now (some of) the emissions are elsewhere!"

That's every governing party of course* - barring the current "abberation" in Wales where they tweaked some of the speed limits.   And in Scotland I'm far from confident the SNP would have done much different without the stipulations of the Greens they went into coalition with.

Is it just us?  Road safety, nicer places and more active travel just don't hold our attention?  We like these things if they're already here but they normally aren't priorities compared to money / immediate convenince to get us through the day?

* Apologies to NI - I don't know the situation there at all - but then there hasn't been much governing happening there...

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Miller replied to Muddy Ford | 4 months ago
15 likes

Muddy Ford wrote:

Sunak and Harper 'on the side of drivers'. Cyclist Charlie Alliston had a defective bike, gets 18mths in prison for pedestrian death.

I was thinking of him the other day as I was on my little commute in W London, taking care not to hit yet another pedestrian wandering randomly across the busy road. Alliston got absolutely shafted by a populist court system.

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a1white replied to Muddy Ford | 4 months ago
10 likes

And Charlie Allistons case was all over the national press and TV for weeks This gets minor coverage in a local publication.

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fwhite181 | 4 months ago
22 likes

I hate that 'it's the first time this happened' is a valid excuse to not punish dangerous driving. It's pure dumb luck he didn't kill somebody sooner, not good driving or good judgement. Prior driving record should not be a consideration in sentencing of driving. "I didn't murder anyone for 40 years before now" isn't an excuse! 

Utterly pathetic sentencing. 

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Surreyrider replied to fwhite181 | 4 months ago
7 likes

Exactly. Nobody would say "well he's 45 now m'lud and he's never killed anyone in cold blood before".

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john_smith replied to fwhite181 | 4 months ago
0 likes

It's pure dumb luck that we don't all kill people much sooner. I doubt there's a driver on the road who hasn't taken a risk or made a mistake at some time or other.

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fwhite181 replied to john_smith | 4 months ago
12 likes

That's rather a good argument for banning cars in proximity to any vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians, horses, take your pick). If driving is inherently dangerous because drivers (all of us) are sometimes a bit stupid/careless/inattentive, then driving really is the problem. 

Motorways for Motors, all the other roads for the rest of us?

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wtjs replied to fwhite181 | 4 months ago
7 likes

Motorways for Motors, all the other roads for the rest of us?

Well, that's not the way that Blackpool Police saw it when they tweeted (longstanding denizens of the site will recall) 'if cyclists don't like the conditions on the road, they should seek another mode of transport'. These are the b******s we have to suffer around here- the ones who just ignored this

https://upride.cc/incident/yn67mvj_sainsburys44tonner_closepass/

and claimed to be taking action over this, but in the end did nothing at all, except possibly the worthless 'words of advice'

https://upride.cc/incident/4148vz_travellerschoicecoach_closepass/

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hawkinspeter replied to fwhite181 | 4 months ago
9 likes

fwhite181 wrote:

That's rather a good argument for banning cars in proximity to any vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians, horses, take your pick). If driving is inherently dangerous because drivers (all of us) are sometimes a bit stupid/careless/inattentive, then driving really is the problem. 

Motorways for Motors, all the other roads for the rest of us?

I think there's a good argument that big lorries are particularly dangerous because they have "blind spots" that I would think should make them unsuitable for use on shared public roads. Maybe they should be banned during certain times such as between 8am and 7pm if the vehicles can't be made to be operated safely.

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wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 4 months ago
7 likes

I think there's a good argument that big lorries are particularly dangerous because they have "blind spots" that I would think should make them unsuitable for use on shared public roads

Apologies for the rapid repetition of the Sainsbury's lorry assault below, but we can be sure that Lancs-and ScotFilth don't agree with your argument and have decided that cyclists deserve all they get for obstructing otherwise law-abiding drivers just trying to make a living

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