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"Blaring music" meant driver didn't know he'd hit cyclist, court told

William Whincup admits the music in his car was so loud he was oblivious of collision that left Mark Douglas seriously injured

A motorist has told a court that he didn’t see a cyclist he knocked off his bike and injured because he was distracted by playing music too loudly in his car.

William Whincup said he only realised there had been a collision between himself and cyclist Mark Douglas when he got home and spotted the damage on his BMW 530, reports Metro.

He got back in his car and retraced his journey, eventually finding Mr Douglas being care for by a passer-by at the roadside.

He told the cyclist: “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you. I think it was because I had my music blaring.”

The incident happened on 2 October 2016 on the A193 near Blyth. Whincup had been driving home to Cramlington, Northumberland from his work as a service manager at a motor dealership.

Ian Lowther, prosecuting at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court, said that Whincup had “pulled straight out” into the cyclist’s path.

“Mr Douglas was unable to react and he felt himself turn to the right as he struck the vehicle,” he continued.

“He landed on the carriageway, becoming separated from his bike. He suffered a fracture to his hip, which required surgery, and a deep cut to his left elbow.”

“It was about 15 or 20 minutes before the defendant returned to the scene and said to Mr Douglas, ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you, I think it was because I had my music blaring’.”

In mitigation, Mark Harrison said his client drove more than 20,000 miles a year for work and had never been involved in an incident of that nature previously.

“But for this defendant returning to the scene of the accident, I don’t think there’s any question he wouldn’t be appearing before you because nobody noted down the registration number of description of the vehicle when he left the scene,” he said.

“The only reason he mentions the music playing loud is because he didn’t hear the impact of the car and Mr Douglas.”

In a victim impact statement, Mr Douglas said: “I live with my wife and two daughters, aged two and seven months. I had to struggle upstairs using the handrail and crutches as the bathroom and bedroom are on the first floor.

“Fortunately, my wife is on maternity leave at the moment, as I’m unable to look after the children on my own,” he added. “I’m unable to lift or bath them or get up during the night to check on them.”

Whincup, who pleaded guilty to careless driving, was fined £375 and ordered to pay £85 costs plus a £30 victim surcharge. His licence was endorsed with five penalty points.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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