18th November 2018
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Fine and penalty points for driver who knocked cyclist over

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A man has been spared a driving ban after he admitted knocking over a cyclist in an incident which rendered her momentarily unconscious as she lay in the road.

Paul White was instead handed 10 penalty points when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court today before Sheriff Philip Mann.

The self-employed bricklayer, 33, of Gaet-a-Gott, Tingwall, was also fined a total of £750 after he admitted driving his Transit pick-up truck carelessly on 17th March at Frakkafield.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to report the accident within 24 hours.

Procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said the incident had resulted in the woman lying in the middle of the busy roadway until a passing motorist stopped to help her.

The incident had had a significant emotional effect on the woman, who had been forced to pull out of events at the NatWest Island Games because of the knock to her confidence.

He said the victim was a “keen cyclist” used to competing at “high level” events when the incident happened shortly after 7pm.

The woman was “very safety conscious” and had been wearing a reflective hi-vis yellow vest at the time.

She was cycling uphill on the road between Voe and Lerwick near the junction with Frakkafield when she was hit by White’s pick-up.

The court heard that White had been following another vehicle at the time, which pulled out to overtake the cyclist. He had followed but he did not give enough room after failing to spot the bike.

The two vehicles stopped in a lay-by half a kilometre away. White believed he had hit something although he was not sure what. He walked back to the scene but by the time he got there the woman, who had now regained consciousness, was being taken to hospital.

White later went home and did not come forward until a police press release was issued two days later.

“Only then did he attend at a police station,” Mr MacKenzie said. “It is fortunate the complainer suffered no significant physical injury, but she suffered considerably emotionally.

“Cycling in triathlons is a significant part of her life. Her ability to continue to do that has been significantly impaired because of a lack of confidence.”

Mr MacKenzie said the £1,000 bicycle was damaged beyond repair. Specialist clothing was also damaged, and money spent on travel fares to the island games and other events was lost as well. He estimated the financial cost to the woman was around £5,230.

Defence agent Tommy Allan insisted White was “deeply sorry” for what had happened, adding that his client had co-operated at all times in the aftermath of the incident.

Mr Allan it was dark at the time of the offence. White had not seen the cyclist but there was a sound which made him think he had hit something.

After stopping, White went back to where the incident had taken place “unsure of what he would find”, but “things had happened very quickly”, and the woman had already been taken to hospital.

Mr Allan said White sat in his van for 15 minutes expecting somebody to come and speak to him. When he returned home, Mr Allan said, “it became apparent to his partner that he was still in shock about what had taken place”.

The agent said: “The correct thing to do would have been to contact the police and let them know he was at least suspicious he had been involved in an incident.

“As soon as he heard police were looking for somebody he went to the police station and made a full admission.”

Sheriff Mann told White: “I’m prepared to accept this was a case where you didn’t see the cyclist before you struck her.”

He said the more serious charge was failing to report the accident to the police – something, he said, which would have merited a period of disqualification. But by way of a discount for his early plea, the sheriff instead imposed the maximum number of penalty points available.