A motorist who pulled in front of a cyclist before deliberately slamming on his brakes, causing the rider to slam head-first into the car’s rear windscreen, has been jailed for 14 months and banned from driving for four years.
Mark Stewart was cycling on a country road near the village of Drem, East Lothian, on 23 July 2020, when he was overtaken on a blind bend by 55-year-old driver William Bowman, who was seen “racing up alongside” the cyclist while blaring his car horn, Edinburgh Live reports.
After sharply pulling in front of the rider, Bowman – who had close passed two female cyclists on a similar corner moments before encountering Mr Stewart – abruptly stopped his car, causing the cyclist to smash into the back of the vehicle.
As Mr Stewart, who initially lost consciousness in the collision and feared that he would be left paralysed by the incident, lay bloodied and injured on the road, Bowman was overheard by witnesses blaming the cyclist for the crash.
However, earlier this year, the motorist pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by driving dangerously, and was sentenced to 14 months in prison at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last week.
Bowman also admitted to a separate drink driving charge, after being caught with 35mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath in April this year, and was handed another four-month sentence, which will run concurrently alongside the longer term.
“I was worried I was paralysed”
Speaking previously at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, fiscal depute Ross Price said that witnesses had spotted Bowman close passing two female cyclists on a bend shortly before the collision, a manoeuvre described as “extremely dangerous”.
Price told the court that the motorist then “raced up alongside [Mr Stewart] with the horn blaring” as they both entered Drem.
The fiscal continued: “Mr Stewart then recalls the vehicle pulling in front of him and slamming on the brakes causing him to hit the back of the vehicle and lose consciousness.”
One of the two cyclists who witnessed the crash later stated: “The vehicle had overtaken all of us – I saw the driver of the car do an emergency stop. He came to a complete stop on the left side of the road.
“The cyclist went right into the back of the left-hand side of his car, tilted forwards and his head and face went through the rear window of the car breaking the glass.
“The cyclist fell to the ground to left of the car shouting ‘my neck, my neck’ and there was blood all over his face.”
The fiscal told the court that Mr Stewart said that he was “worried that I was paralysed because the pain in my neck was excruciating, and I couldn’t move my legs and I had pins and needles in my arms.
“I asked one of the people helping me to get some photos because I could hear the driver saying it was my fault.”
The court also heard that, after exiting his vehicle, Bowman “kept asking witnesses for a lighter” and “did not once ask how the complainer was and seemed unphased he was seriously injured”.
Alongside his 14-month jail term, Bowman, from Dirleton, East Lothian, has been banned from driving for four years and told by Sheriff Donald Corke that he must pass an extended test before he is allowed back on the road.
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.