Case Study

Driver who hit Mary Bowers charged with dangerous driving - but only fined for 'tachograph offence'

Incident date: 
Fri, 4 Nov 2011

Mary Bowers, a journalist working for The Times, was hit by a lorry near her office in November 2011.

The driver of the lorry, a Romanian national, has been charged with dangerous driving.

Mary Bowers was just yards from her office when she was crushed by the lorry at 9.30 am. In response The Times has been running a campaign for cycle safety that has caused ripples throughout the political world. A three hour debate in Parliament and endorsement from all sides – including from the Prime Minister. The Department for Transport has launched a ‘Cycle Safety Forum’ to bring together partners and the Scottish Government have triggered a similar response.

Over 30,000 people have voiced their support for the campaign and thousands of hazardous junctions have been identified across the country.

  • UPDATE 30/5/12

It appears that the driver of the lorry, originally charged with dangerous driving, has now pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of driving in excess of the permitted hours. He has received a £570 fine.

He remains on bail awaiting trial for dangerous driving.

  • UPDATE 17/12/12

The lorry driver, Petre Beiu, was cleared on Friday December 14th of dangerous driving but was found guilty of the lesser charge of careless driving and received a £2,700 fine.

Jurors concluded that Beiu had been too engrossed in a telephone conversation with a work colleague, on a hands-free mobile kit, when he knocked Ms Bowers off her bike.

He had then initially denied to police that he had been using the device. During the trial the judge said that Beiu, who had been giving directions to another Lynch Haulage driver, had been acting as a “vocal sat-nav”. As well as being fined Beiu has also been banned from driving for eight months.

He was accused of having failed to use his mirrors properly to ensure that he could see Ms Bowers, who was in a cycle safety box in front of his lorry at traffic lights.

Witnesses described how after Ms Bowers had been dragged under the lorry, Beiu had to be alerted to the incident by passers-by.

He had then jumped out of his cab and left the handbrake off, allowing the vehicle to roll forward at least 1.5m.

Babatunde Alabi, prosecuting, had told the court that Beiu had been “too engrossed” in his telephone conversation and been distracted when he pulled away from the red traffic light.

“The defendant did not give her sufficient time to go ahead,” Mr Alabi said. “Instead, he turned into her path. As she had no means of escape she somehow fell under his lorry and under his front two wheels.

“Although she shouted out at the time, it appears that the defendant did not hear her. He did not stop until he was alerted to some trouble by other members of the public,” he said.

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