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Cyclist found guilty of riding carelessly in crash which killed motorcyclist

Garry Kopanycia-Reynolds, who also sustained life-changing injuries in the collision, was fined £1,000, the maximum penalty for the offence

A cyclist who failed to check if the road was clear before turning right at a junction, causing the death of a motorcyclist, has been found guilty of careless cycling.

Garry Kopanycia-Reynolds, from Poole, Dorset, was issued with a £1,000 fine*, the maximum penalty possible for the offence of careless and inconsiderate cycling, at Poole Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The 59-year-old cyclist was turning right at a busy traffic light-signalled crossroads towards Fernside Road, at just after 7am on 21 December 2021, when he collided with motorcyclist Callum Clements, who was travelling straight on from the opposite direction at the junction.

23-year-old Clements was killed in the collision, while Kopanycia-Reynolds sustained life-changing injuries, reports the Bournemouth Echo.

Appearing in court yesterday, Kopanycia-Reynolds denied cycling carelessly and without reasonable consideration for other road users (a lesser charge than the more serious cycling-related crime of wanton and furious driving, which can result in a custodial sentence).

> Jail for pavement cyclist who rode off after fatally injuring pensioner 

However, District Judge Michael Snow ruled that the cyclist had failed to properly check if the road was clear before turning right at the junction, into the path of Mr Clements. While both men were travelling through green lights, the motorcyclist had the right of way as he was continuing straight on from Longfleet Road onto Ringwood Road.

“When [the defendant] gets to the junction, what is quite clear having viewed the recordings is he doesn’t stop,” Judge Snow said, referring to footage of the incident captured on a lorry driver’s cameras.

“He doesn’t obviously check. He just cycles straight on and at the point he makes that turn Callum is in the junction itself. He did not check I am afraid. He just continued straight on.”

“An absolute tragedy”

Prosecutor Stuart Ellacott told the court that while Mr Clements was riding at 40mph in a 30mph zone at the time of the crash, the excess speed could not be used as part of the cyclist’s defence as the road the motorcyclist was travelling on was visible for 150 metres from the centre of the crossroads.

“Either the defendant failed to see Mr Clements, who was there to be seen over a distance of some 150 metres for a period of some seven seconds, or he saw him and decided to risk making the turn following the vehicle in front of him and not pausing and misjudging his ability to make that turn,” Ellacott said.

When questioned as to why he made the right-hand turn with the motorcyclist approaching, Mr Kopanycia-Reynolds – a keen cyclist who knew that particular road “pretty much off by heart” – replied: “I made that turn because I obviously felt that I had the space and time to make that safe manoeuvre.”

“I would not have attempted it unless I would have made it safely.”

He also told the court that he was “totally” sure that the manoeuvre was safe and that he had seen the motorcyclist’s lights coming from the opposite direction but believed that they “were in the distance”.

Judge Snow, describing the incident as an “absolute tragedy”, accepted that the defendant was generally a competent and careful cyclist, but concluded that on that particular day his actions fell below these standards.

Kopanycia-Reynolds was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £450 in costs and a victim surcharge of £190.

“It was not Callum who made the wrong decision, but he paid the biggest price”

Reading a victim personal statement in court, Mr Clement’s mother described the 23-year-old as someone who was “so full of life and lived for the moment”, and who would now miss out on watching his six brothers grow up and starting his own family.

Addressing the defendant, she said: “These are moments that you have stolen not only from Callum but from his friends and family.

“On that day my son died and part of me died with him. I will never be the same person I was before.”

She also claimed that Callum had been let down by the law and argued that cyclists should be held more accountable for their actions on the road.

“It was not Callum who made the wrong decision, but he paid the biggest price. He lost his life,” she said.

Police Constable Leanne Howes, of Dorset Police’s Serious Collision Investigation Team (SCIT), said in a statement: “This is a very sad case that has seen Callum’s family lose their loved one and the cyclist involved has also sustained significant life-changing injuries.

“Our investigation was able to prove that the defendant clearly turned in front of the motorcycle, which had right of way, and this resulted in the collision.

“This is a demonstration of the truly awful consequences that can be caused by any road user failing to pay sufficient care and attention.”

Our original version of this story said that the fine issued was £2,500; however according to the Bournemouth Echo, the court later clarified that the maximum fine available was £1,000. 

Ryan joined 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.

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Awavey replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

well for a pedestrian, so this may not track the same way for a motorcyclist as they have to wear a crash helmet, but its still a useful comparison I think. At 40mph, a pedestrian only has a 1 in 10 chance of surviving, at 30mph they have a 8 in 10 chance.

grOg replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
1 like

It was foolish of the cyclist to assume the motorcyclist was not speeding when judging it was safe to turn; I'm very much 'better safe than sorry' when sharing the road with other users, but I would suggest the onus is on the motorcyclist to not speed, if they wish to avoid culpability for a collision.

HoarseMann replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Agree. This is an example of less than 30% over the limit, with good visibility, where the speeding was deemed a factor.

It was 40mph at the time of the crash, so after any braking the motorcycle might have done. It can be difficult to judge the speed of looming headlight in the dark.

Surely the motorcycle rider would have seen the cyclist looking to turn right at the junction too? Approaching a potential point of conflict at such a high speed is also an error of judgment.

Secret_squirrel replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago

We have to be careful with making assumptions that 40mph not being a contributing factor.

My 3rd/4th reading is thats the prosecutors argument - not necessarily a statement of fact or law. ie its possible the defense solictor could make the opposite statement.

AlsoSomniloquism replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Could but not reported he did. Actually no mention of any defender making a case so I wonder if he even had one. However the Judge did give the maximum sentence he could* so he decided that the speeding motorcyclist was no mitigation. 

*Although weirdly, the term "offence of careless and inconsiderate cycling" seems to come under careless cycling which according to this site (not dated but referring to articles less the 10 years ago), that is a fine of £1000. £2500 is for Dangerous Cycling which is different offence. Of course they might have been changed since but I can't seem to find any official lines for this on the web which keeps on defaulting to driving offences**. 
Surprised neither comes up with a jail term though. Could have been at least suspended, or community service, (although cyclist full injuries are not described so the latter might have been beyond them).

** Which brought up this page from about the driver who killed two cyclists on the A40. This line seemed very pertinent. 


The judge explained that there are reasons in law why the prosecution (the CPS) could not prove manslaughter and why, in the judge’s words, Mr Rennie’s “….lack of attention – over a relatively short period of time, to be counted in seconds, doesn’t meet the legal criteria for dangerous driving…”

If Mark is still around and posting, maybe he can shed more light on this one. 

hawkinspeter replied to AlsoSomniloquism | 1 year ago

That does seem odd. If the careless/dangerous cycling follows a similar logic to the driving offences, then I'd consider a misjudged right turn at a junction to be careless - it's not an otherwise illegal manoeuvre.

Awavey replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

but there are alot of unknowns with this case, the newspaper only picks the choice quotes to make their story, that might be misleading to the full detail of the evidence presented. The point at which the cyclist is in conflict with the motorbike such that they collide is probably the key to it.

jh2727 replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Secret_squirrel wrote:

We have to be careful with making assumptions that 40mph not being a contributing factor.

My 3rd/4th reading is thats the prosecutors argument - not necessarily a statement of fact or law. ie its possible the defense solictor could make the opposite statement.

That is an extremely good point... however it is somewhat worrying that a CPS prosecutor thinks* that an average speed of 47 mph in a 30 mph limit, resulting in a collision at 40 mph is not relevant - when it is blatently obvious that:
a. there would have been no collision had the motorcyclist been riding within the speed limit.

b. if there were still a collision, the impact would have been greatly lessened.

* ofcourse what a prosecutor argues on a given day, to win their case, bears no resemblence to what they might think.

Projectcyclingf... replied to HoarseMann | 1 year ago

Interesting comparison of fairly similar circumstances, where it's been fifty fifty in the speeder dieing or is the killer - but the inconsistency by the courts and judges stinks - speed is relevant when a driver is killed by a speeder but not when a speeder is killed by colliding into a surviving cyclist, who scrutinised to the bone (as cyclists typically are), but no scrutiny on the speeder despite hazardous conditions.

grOg replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago

Correct; this seems a very poor judgement going on available facts; I was a traffic cop and from experience, was able to accurately assess vehicle speed before using my speed check device; this however is not normal for the average driver, who will assume oncoming vehicles are travelling no faster than expected, which is a big part of why speed limits exist.


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