A Cork-based motorist was handed down a careless driving conviction and €1,000 fine after he overtook a cyclist when there was a bus coming in the opposite direction, according to the cyclist involved.
The incident happened on February 19 in 2020 and was dealt with in Court yesterday. Gardai went forward with the case as dangerous driving but it is understood that this was reduced to careless driving.
The video footage of the incident, taken from bicycle cameras, shows how the driver of an on-coming bus flashed his lights and slowing down. The motorist in the car overtaking the cyclist squeezed by, with his car pushing the cyclist the the left, according to the cyclist.
The cyclist — who is based in Co Cork — wished to remain anonymous. He said: “I took a deep breath… I spent about four or five-second — which seems like a short period of time to talk about, but that five seconds seemed to last about 10 minutes — where I was asking myself was I going to come out of this? I was riding on a knife’s edge. Was I going to bounce off the ditch or bounce of the car? It was quite a hairy situation.”
According to the cyclist involved, who goes by the name righttobikeit on Twitter, the motorist’s car rubbed into this arm and thigh as the motorist scraped by him as the on-coming bus passed by the other side of the road.
“I’m so desensitised from it all, I’m so used to it, I take it in my stride to a certain extent. But a few seconds later while I realised how close I had come to sustaining a serious injury. I was just trying to stay upright at the time,” he said.
He said that he was happy with the result in court, that it was unlikely that the motorist was going to do it again.
An online portal for submitting video evidence was needed he said, and he said that it was good yesterday to see the judge viewing footage and seeing the seriousness of the incident.
He said that he recently visited Normandy in France and cycled around 300km there without incident. But that there’s a difference in attitude on urban and rural roads around Cork City where he was close passed soon after returning from holiday.
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On Twitter, he said: “The defence put up was that he was a working 42-year-old married father of one with no previous convictions, and that he needed his car for work. His brief said [his client] admitted he was totally in the wrong and was very sorry.”
He explained: “He then went on to say something in the order of ‘we all make these mistakes every day when interacting with cyclists’ and continued to struggle hopelessly to make it sound like a ‘these things happen’ defence. The judge seemed aghast at what she had seen and made mention of the full white line and the oncoming bus.”
He added: “Along with the Careless driving conviction she handed a €1,000 fine I’m happy with the outcome but would like to have had my opportunity to speak [in court].”
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1/Just out of court after long wait for dangerous driving (section 53) prosecution of this driver. Was informed that DPP were considering plea of guilty to lesser charge of careless driving (section52).I expressed my desire that if they accept (which was beyond my control) pic.twitter.com/YqAu2LfAdt— Righttobikeit (@righttobikeit) September 7, 2021