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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Fatal Cumbria crash driver spared a jail term

A CAR driver who killed a man by knocking him off his bike in the dark has been spared a prison sentence.

Keen cyclist Geoffrey Bruce Davis, 52, of Windermere Road, Kendal, was riding to work at about 7am on November 29 last year when he was hit from behind by a car on the sliproad of the A590 at Levens.

He was thrown from his bike and hit by another car as he lay in the road.

He died from multiple injuries to his head and body.

At Carlisle Crown Court yesterday the driver of the first car, 56-year-old David Anthony Dixon, who was driving to Barrow where he is project manager of an engineering company, pleaded guilty to causing his death by careless driving.

There was no suggestion that Dixon, of Longlands Lane, Heysham, had been driving too fast or undertaking any dangerous manoeuvre.

He had simply failed to see the bike ahead of him, even though it was well lit and Mr Davis was wearing reflective clothing, prosecutor Arthur Gibson said.

“He took his personal safety very seriously and was clearly visible,” he said.

Mr Gibson told the court that eyewitness Giles Brown was driving to Barrow on the A590 when he saw Dixon’s car approaching on the sliproad, with Mr Davis’s bike about 400 metres ahead of it.

“He expected the car simply to overtake the bike – but it didn’t,” he said. “He saw all the lights come together.

“The cyclist went into the car and disappeared.”

Mr Gibson said Mr Davis was thrown into the outside lane, where he was hit by another car which had pulled out to avoid the traffic slowing down because of the accident.

A police officer and a doctor who happened to be passing both stopped to help Mr Davis, but he was severely injured and died without regaining consciousness, he said.

The court heard that Dixon told another driver who stopped at the scene: “I never saw him until he was on my bonnet.”

In mitigation defence barrister Gary Woodhall said the junction was “notoriously difficult”.

He said Dixon, emerging on the sliproad, had focused all his attention on the traffic coming on the main road from his right “to the detriment of his keeping a proper look-out in front of him”.

He said Dixon had been driving since he was 17 and, though he sometimes covered as much as 50,000 miles a year, had never had any other accident.

Because of what happened he had now given up driving, he said.

Dixon was ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid community work and banned from driving for a year.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Hughes QC called on the highways authority and the police to work together to make the “notoriously difficult junction” safer, by installing new warning signs, improving visibility or setting a lower speed limit.

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