A motorist who failed to brake or take evasive action before fatally striking a cyclist with his truck, claiming that he couldn’t see because the sun was in his eyes, has been jailed.
80-year-old Adam Fernie was found guilty of causing death by dangerous driving following a trial at Edinburgh High Court on Thursday.
He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison and has been banned from driving for six years and four months. Fernie will also be required to sit an extended test before he is able to drive again.
In August 2019 66-year-old Iain Anderson, from Glenrothes, was killed in a collision involving a Nissan Cabstar flatbed truck while riding his electric bike on the B937 near Ladybank in Fife.
The force of the collision, which smashed the truck’s windscreen, was enough to push Anderson a further 30 metres along the road. He died at the scene from serious head injuries.
According to an experienced accident investigator, no emergency braking was applied to Fernie’s van before it collided with the cyclist.
As well as causing death by dangerous driving, Fernie was charged with failing to stop after the incident, failing to give his name and address to any person with reasonable grounds for asking, failing to identify the vehicle’s owner, and failing to provide the identification mark of the vehicle.
The 80-year-old was also charged with driving his van in a dangerous condition. According to the prosecution, at the time of the collision, the truck included a seized brake, a loose handbrake cable, a missing wheel nut, a worn track rod ball joint, a noisy wheel bearing, a missing fuel filler cap, and a fractured fuel tank strap.
In February, the court heard that in the aftermath of the collision Fernie drove a further 100 yards up the road before finally turning around to attend the scene.
A bus driver, who captured footage of the incident on his dashcam and rushed to help the stricken cyclist along with another passer-by, claimed that he heard the motorist say that he didn’t see the bike rider “because the sun was in his eyes”.
Sentencing Fernie, judge Lord Weir noted that “the collision occurred on a straight stretch of road, in light traffic, and in fine weather” and “that a vulnerable road user like Mr Anderson ought to have been readily visible to following vehicles such as yours.”
Lord Weir also concluded that Fernie appeared to have difficulty in accepting full responsibility for the collision, with a social worker claiming that the 80-year-old made reference to the cyclist’s lack of helmet or high-visibility clothing as contributory factors to the incident.
However, Weir said that the motorist was “completely and inexcusably unaware of Mr Anderson’s presence on the road”.
David Green, Procurator Fiscal for Homicide and Major Crime, said: “Adam Fernie’s dangerous driving had terrible consequences, taking Iain Anderson’s life and leaving his family without a husband, father and grandfather. Our thoughts are with his family during what must be a very difficult time for them.
“This case highlights the potential repercussions of dangerous driving and the great harm it can cause.”
Ryan joined road.cc as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.