Drivers - The Leamington Observer
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17th Aug, 2022

Drivers

Editorial Correspondent 2nd Aug, 2022 Updated: 10th Aug, 2022

DRIVERS are being warned to give cyclists space on Warwickshire’s roads or face possible prosecution.

It follows the sentencing of a 59-year-old charged with careless driving as he passed a cyclist on Oakley Wood Road in Bishops Tachbrook.

The incident in March 2021 was captured on the headcam of the cyclist who submitted the footage to Operation Snap.

Warwickshire Police reviewed the footage and determined there was evidence of an offence of driving without due care and attention.

A notice of prosecution was served, with options including an offer to attend a retraining course, a fixed penalty fine and points, or electing to have the matter heard at court.

The man chose to attend court pleading not guilty, but he was found guilty and given a £500 fine and three points on his licence, and was also ordered to pay £620 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

PC Ken Bratley, Operation Snap coordinator said: “Fortunately the cyclist was not injured and on reviewing the footage there is no doubt that this was an extremely careless pass.

“Cyclists are much more vulnerable than drivers in cars and that’s why the Highway Code has been updated asking drivers to give cyclists more care and attention. This includes waiting behind a cyclist until it is safe to pass them and leaving at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph and give them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

“Whilst we will continue to use Operation Snap and work with Warwickshire Road Safety Partnership to deliver road safety education, operations and initiatives, it’s really important that drivers understand their responsibility to look after more vulnerable road users such as cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians by slowing down and giving them extra space.

“If someone is found to have committed such an offence, where appropriate we have the discretion to offer one of the National Driver Offender Retraining Courses as an alternative to prosecution. Through this theory only course, drivers will learn how to reduce risks, recognise things that influence how they drive, and see how they can be safer on the road.”

The cyclist said “I know there are bad drivers and bad cyclists out there but all I want to be able to do is go for a ride and come back home safely to my family. His impatience could have killed me. Bad cycling mainly causes annoyance to people but bad driving results in five road user deaths a day.”

The cyclist involved welcomed the extra protection in law for cyclists.

They said “I know there are bad drivers and bad cyclists out there but all I want to be able to do is go for a ride and come back home safely to my family.

“His impatience (the prosecuted driver) could have killed me. Bad cycling mainly causes annoyance to people but bad driving results in five road user deaths a day.”

In 2021, two cyclists were killed and 28 seriously injured on Warwickshire’s roads.

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