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'Careless actions' of driver led to death of cyclist in Sheffield...

A pensioner who killed a cyclist while driving carelessly has been spared jail.

Thomas Boyd, from Sheffield, hit a 38 year old man, who has not been named, who was out cycling on Loxley Road on July 20 last year.

Boyd admitted causing death by careless driving at Sheffield Crown Court.

He was handed a sentence of 240 hours of unpaid work and disqualified from driving for a year.

The judge told Boyd he would have to re-take his test before being allowed to drive again.

PC Paul Lidster of South Yorkshire Police said: “Boyd has accepted responsibility for his careless actions that evening, which sadly led to a man losing his life.

“No sentence can ever bring back a loved one and our thoughts are with the cyclist’s family as they come to terms with the conclusion of the police investigation and court proceedings.

“Cases like this are a stark reminder that motorists must pay attention to their surroundings at all times and drive carefully and respectfully of other road users.

"A split second’s carelessness or error can have fatal consequences.”

Earlier this year we reported how Cycling UK has called upon the Government to review the legislation relating to bad driving offences.

The renewed call came following three recent cases where drivers were sentenced for causing death by careless driving having initially been charged with the more serious offence of causing death by dangerous driving.

Careless driving or dangerous driving?

Careless driving is defined as that which “falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver.”

Dangerous driving is defined as that which “falls far below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver.”

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns officer said that the current distinction was not fit for purpose.

“There has been an ongoing downgrading of the offence of causing death by dangerous driving to careless since it was introduced in 2008. This has meant the number of cyclist fatality cases prosecuted as dangerous are falling, with careless driving prosecutions seemingly preferred as an easier option.

“Cycling UK has repeatedly raised our concerns regarding this downgrading of offences which should be charged as dangerous to merely careless driving, and recently called upon the Ministry of Justice to review the legislation concerning bad driving offences.

“To many people, what is judged to be ‘careless’ and what is thought to be ‘dangerous’ is too arbitrary. If clearer guidelines cannot be applied more consistently by prosecutors and the courts, then the Government needs to ask whether the distinction between careless and dangerous driving offences is fit for purpose.

"Cycling UK doesn’t think it is, and we have put several proposals forward for the Government’s consideration. It’s time they listened and reviewed this area of criminal law.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.