“Drivers have a high responsibility to be aware of cyclists on the road”, according to a judge who found a driver guilty of causing death to a cyclist by dangerous driving.
John Evans was sentenced to 14 months in jail, banned from driving for 18 months and ordered to take an extended driving test after causing the death of Alan Mort on the dual carriageway between Flint and Bagillt, North Wales on Sunday 5 February 2012.
Judge Niclas Parry added that it was “inexplicable” that Evans didn’t see the retired paramedic, who was observed to be cycling safely in a straight line and wearing high visibility clothing.
Evans did not brake or swerve to avoid Mr Mort, who would have been visible to Evans for at least 20 seconds, the court heard.
“The use of the public roads by cyclists was probably now more enthusiastic than ever before, the danger to cyclists had never been under greater scrutiny, they were vulnerable road users,” the judge commented. “Drivers have a high responsibility to be aware of cyclists on the road,” he added.
The verdict will no doubt be seen as a sign of progress for the Cyclists’ Touring Club’s SMIDSY campaign, which highlights what they see as an inherent bias in the legal system against cyclist safety.
The ruling may also mark the start of a reversal of the relatively recent trend of a move away from more severe sentences in cases of serious injury and death to cyclists.