A minibus driver who hit and killed a cyclist has been found not guilty of causing death by driving without due care and attention after saying sun glare had reduced his visibility.
A Southampton Crown Court jury cleared Steve Petterson, 38, of causing David Irving’s death after the incident on 17 December 2012, in which he hit him with his wing mirror on busy three-lane road Mountbatten Way. Petterson said he thought he had hit a bus stop sign and that, despite the fact that he was wearing sunglasses and had lowered the van’s sun visor, winter sun glare had reduced visibility.
During the trial, which concluded yesterday, the jury heard how Irving, 48, had been wearing a high-vis jacket and a flashing LED cycling clip when he was struck on the helmet by the minibus’ wing mirror. His helmet was “smashed to bits” said the prosecuting solicitor.
Though Petterson of Waterhouse Lane, Southampton, initially stopped after the incident, it was only later, after he learned emergency services had been called to the scene, that he phoned the police to tell them he thought he may have been involved, reported the BBC.
Rhia Weston of the cycling Charity CTC’s Road Justice campaign lamented the jury’s findings.
She said: “It is deeply disappointing that the jury didn’t convict in this case. The excuse of glare should not be an excuse – a careful and competent driver should drive to the conditions, slowing down and taking extra care if conditions are sunny.”