Case Study

Van driver pleads guilty to causing cyclist's death by careless driving

Incident date: 
Fri, 2 Nov 2012

Van driver, James Armstrong, pleaded guilty at Leicester Crown Court to causing Adam Bennett’s death by careless driving.

Prosecuting, Neil Bannister said people driving behind Armstrong’s car had seen the cyclist clearly and that the offence did not fall far short of dangerous driving.

The collision happened in Bruntingthorpe Road, near Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire.

Bennett, a 41-year-old businessman and father of two young children, was wearing a bright red jacket and a cycling helmet on the day of the incident.

Bennett was thrown into a telegraph pole after being hit by Armstrong’s transit van. While Armstrong, unaware that he’d hit Bennett, drove on, other motorists stopped and gave CPR to Bennett. He died four days later in Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Police arrested Armstrong several days after the crash, with the help of a man who had noticed his damaged van.

Paul Trotter, mitigating, said the sun was low in the sky at the time of the crash and suggested that was the reason for the crash.

Armstrong was sentenced to 8 months in custody, suspended for 2 years, and ordered to do 280 hours of unpaid work.

CTC's view: 

Blaming low sun for collisions is very common, but should not be accepted as reason for a collision as drivers are advised to adjust their driving if their vision is affected by low sun.

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