Case Study

Cyclist dies after collision with Saab at crossroads - driver pleads guilty to causing death by careless driving and is given

Incident date: 
Tue, 2 Apr 2013

A cyclist remains critically ill in hospital after being knocked off his bike at a crossroads.

The 55-year-old was injured as he cycled through Castleside, near Consett at lunchtime on Easter Monday.

The injured man, from Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, was cycling down the A68 Rowley Bank through the village, heading towards Allensford, at about 12.30pm.

He reached Castleside crossroads when a blue Saab 93 car pulled out and collided with his cycle.

The cyclist was thrown from his bike and suffered a number of serious injuries to his head and body.

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, where his condition was this morning described as critical but stable.

The driver of the car, a 50-year-old man from Gateshead was unhurt, as were his three passengers.

Any witnesses to the accident are asked to contact the collision investigation unit at Durham Constabulary on 0191-375-2159.

  • UPDATE 08/04/13

The cyclist, 55-year-old Grahame McGregor, has died in hospital.

  • UPDATE (28/08/13)

The driver, Steven James Conlan, admitted causing death by careless driving at Peterlee Magistrates Court and will be sentenced in September.

The incident occurred at a junction on between the A692 and A68. Conlan had been relying on his SatNav to direct him to High Force, in County Durham. The SatNav failed to register or warn Conlan about the crossroads. Conlan then struck McGregor, causing fatal injuries.

Prosecutor Lynne Roberts-Plowman, however, said there were several signs warning vehicles on the A692 to stop at the junction while Judge Elsey said had Conlan paid sufficient attention to the road he would have seen the stop sign.

District Judge Roger Elsey told Conlan he should have paid more attention to the road rather than the in-car guidance system, adding: ‘I don’t believe the accident would have occurred if the satnav had been switched off.’

Judge Elsey accepted Conlan was of good character, had behaved responsibly after the accident and had shown genuine remorse and sentenced him to a 12-month community penalty.

Conlan will have to complete 240 hours of unpaid work, pay a £60 surcharge and £85 court costs and will be banned from driving for two years.

Mr McGregor was a keen cyclist who covered about 9,000 miles a year.

CTC's view: 

Under CPS guidance on charging practices for driving offences ‘driving whilst avoidably and dangerously distracted such as whilst reading a newspaper/map, talking to and looking at a passenger, selecting and lighting a cigarette or by adjusting the controls of electronic equipment’ is considered dangerous driving. The driver in this case should, therefore, have been charged with both causing death by dangerous driving and causing death by careless driving and it should have been left to the prosecution to fight the case on the basis that he was avoidably and dangerously distracted by his satnav. This case demonstrates a clear error on the part of the CPS in not charging for the more serious offence.

The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is 5 years imprisonment, a £5000 fine and an unlimited driving ban. The sentence handed down was, therefore, minimal compared with what could have been imposed.

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