James Lindley, Horfield, Bristol, April 2013

James was hit by a driver who suddenly turned left into a side road as James was cycling straight on. Before the incident James had been positioned in the cycle box at a set of traffic lights. When the lights turned green, James moved off. After a few metres, the driver overtook James and suddenly turned left, whilst shouting at him out of the window. The driver hit James side on as he made the turn.

There was a witness to the incident and there was CCTV footage of the collision. The driver was charged and found guilty of dangerous driving. He was sentenced to a one year driving ban and ordered to use a police tag for three months.

The driver appealed the conviction. At the appeal, the independent witness was called but their evidence was dismissed. The driver claimed he had spoken to James whilst they were both stationary at the traffic lights to inform him that he planned to turn left. He also claimed James undertook him as he made his left turn and argued that the speed at which James was cycling – about 15mph – was excessive. The driver’s barrister used the fact that CCTV only showed the collision and not the time leading up to the collision to disprove James’ claims. The driver won the appeal.

James’s story shows how lack of preparation on behalf of prosecutors can lead to drivers
avoiding penalties.

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