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HGV driver sentenced after killing cyclist on roundabout

Neil Gass had wrongly assumed e-bike rider Mike Seminara would take same exit as him, with fatal consequences

A lorry driver whose trailer struck a cyclist on a roundabout after assuming that the bike rider would take the same exit as him has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Neil Gass, aged 48, had pleaded guilty in May this year at Carlisle Crown Court to causing the death by careless driving of 71 year old Mike Seminara in March 2018, reports the News & Star.

Earlier, a jury had cleared the lorry driver of causing death by dangerous driving in relation to the fatal crash, which happened on the Cargo roundabout on the A689 Carlisle bypass.

The victim, from Wetheral, was on a bike ride with two friends as they approached the roundabout. His friends took to an adjacent cycle path, but Mr Seminara, who was riding an e-bike, decided to remain on the main carriageway.

Gass admitted that he had made a “careless assumption” that Mr Seminara would take the second exit, when in fact the cyclist was planning to take the third, and his trailer struck the rider as he passed him.

Recorder David Temkin told Gass that since he had been riding a bike, Mr Seminara was “by definition vulnerable,” and rejected a claim by defence council in mitigation that it had been a case of “momentary inattention.”

The judge said: “You should have slowed down and you should have stayed behind the cyclist.”

He noted, however, that the driver had shown “genuine and enduring” remorse, adding: “I accept entirely that you are very, very sorry.”

He handed down a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and banned him from driving for 15 months.

While Gass will not have to take an extended driving test to regain his licence once his ban expired, the judge ordered him to undertake a computer based driver awareness course before he can drive again.

Mr Seminaro had been married to his widow Joyce for 56 years, and in a statement read out in court she said: “I miss my husband every single day. It’s been hard during the pandemic. We should have been at home together yet I had to go through this alone.”

Speaking of their children and grandchildren, she said: “Mike has been taken away from them far too soon. All of the family have had a difficult time coming to terms with Mike’s death.

“He was always willing to help anyone.” She added: “Mike lost his life because of a careless driver and I would like that to mean something.”

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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